independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Library setback for toddler group

Popular facility the victim of cutbacks

The parent and toddler group with local supporters at the library in Ballymote; inset below: Michael Ryan and Eabha Cryan keeping their house in order at the Ballymote Resource Centre.

Ballymote library was the venue for a weekly get together for parents and toddlers.

Now due to staff cutbacks the group has been told they can no longer meet at this location.

Mum Julie Golden and her 13-month-old daughter, Lauren used the service.

Julie said: "It's really a loss. We miss it. It was a great opportunity to introduce the children to books and also to meet other mothers.

"The children were learning to like the library environment. Even new-borns were coming in.

"The children were being introduced to words and sounds."

Ten years ago, Mandy Ryan arrived in Ireland from South Africa.

When she had her children, she found the parent and toddler group particularly helpful.

She attended with her toddler sons Michael and Nichola.

She said: "All my family are very far away.

"It got you out of the house and meeting other mothers.

"It was therapeutic for the moms as well.

"It was such a lovely environment. It was also very good for the children.

"It helped them with socialisation, with keeping quiet and how to behave.

"All the children were doing the same thing and they learned from each other.

"Literacy is so important.

"Coming from South Africa where it is not always available, you know how important it is."

She also paid tribute to the library staff.

She added: "I found the librarians brilliant.

"They engaged the children so well.

"And they also made the mothers feel at ease."

There have also been other cutbacks at the library.

It had been open from noon to 7pm on Thursdays but now closes at 5pm.

It is also closed on Saturdays and Mondays.

But County Librarian Donal Tinney said: "We are trying our best to restore the hours that were there.

"That means we would be able to put on the facilities that were there for family groups.

"We hope to re-establish the previous opening hours in the coming weeks."

Mr Tinney said Ballymote library was very successful, getting about 30,000 visits a year.

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