Monday, December 5, 2011

Take one; leave one!

- Republic’s biggest book exchange is in Ballymun, probably!
Ballymun Whitehall book exchange

On the first Thursday of every month, over 250 people file through the Ballymun Civic Centre as the monthly Book Exchange takes place, organised by Ballymun Whitehall Area Partnership (BWAP).

It might even be the biggest book exchange in the country – Rosemary Kinehan of BWAP can’t say for sure.

It may be - there’s no central record of this,” said Ms Kinehan.

Yet it cost nothing to set up. Soon after it started, schoolteachers noticed an improvement in pupils’ reading ability, said Ms Kinehan.

The Book Exchange began life as one of the Partnership’s activities for AONTAS Adult Learners Festival in February 2009 and grew from there. 

The community was very supportive – none of the books were bought; all were donated, including plenty for teenagers and children.

On exchange days, hundreds of books weigh down the tables in the atrium of the Civic Centre.  Local resident Bernie Gallagher said, “I love the idea that the books are free because they’ve become so expensive”.

There’s a regular extra dimension to Book Exchange when young children (0-4years) and their childminders can sit down for a story-reading session.

It works simply. People who are confident reading stories show the others how best to read to children and the childminders then take turns reading stories to their children, or take a book home to do so. This is organised by the Partnership in conjunction with the Dublin North Central Childminding Advisory Service.

For avid readers, there is a mini daily book exchange in the Ballymun Shopping Centre outside the doors of the BWAP office.

Careen Doyle, a local resident said, “I’m delighted because I read so many books and this way I’ve a choice of books all the time.”

The idea might seem obvious - bring a book and exchange it for free, but education worker, Colma Nic Lughadha, explained the wider vision: “The main aim is to get Ballymun reading, to help and encourage more people to read.”

For more information, phone BWAP’S Education Section on 01-8423612. W: ballymun.org
BWAP receives funding through the Local and Community Development Programme.

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