Opening the Woodlands Library – working together to learn together!

Aoife Winston, principal of Claregalway ETNS

It is with immense joy and pride that we unveiled a chapter of our school’s story that has been in the making for months—the grand opening of “The Woodlands,” our brand-new school library. This project has been a testament to the collaborative spirit and shared vision of our dedicated staff, enthusiastic pupils, and supportive parents.

The library project was a top priority for all involved, and we were fortunate to have a fantastic blank canvas—a large, light-filled room with a vaulted ceiling that seemed to echo the call for books and imagination. Our vision was clear: to create a space that not only housed books but also inspired a love for reading and learning.

Early in 2023, the Library Committee was born, comprised of passionate parents, Board of Management members, and staff. With a shared commitment, this dynamic team set about developing a timeline for the project. Each committee member took on specific responsibilities, from compiling lists of books to sourcing suitable furniture and liaising with the talented artist and the children to solicit their views, to bring our vision to life.

The committee’s dedication and hard work turned this project into a labor of love, with several months of planning resulting in a library that reflects the heart and soul of Claregalway Educate Together NS.

Our parents played a crucial role in this endeavor by generously donating books, contributing to the rich and diverse collection that now grace the shelves of “The Woodlands.” To further stock our new library and foster a love for reading, we organised a very successful book fair that brought the community together and generated funds for this literary haven.

“The Woodlands” is not just a library; it is an immersive experience. The beautiful woodland-themed murals and woodland animal beanbags transport our students to a world of imagination and exploration. Children eagerly anticipate their weekly visits to the library, where they can choose a new book, revel in storytime in the specially designed area, and unleash their creativity in the charming writing space.

We were honored to have Patricia Forde, Laureate na nÓg, and our esteemed outgoing Chairperson of the Board of Management, Frank Clancy, officially open “The Woodlands” on September 22nd. Their presence added a touch of magic to an already enchanting space. The opening was also featured on the Nuacht in TG4 that evening!

As we open the doors to “The Woodlands,” we celebrate the power of collaboration, the joy of literature, and the endless possibilities that this haven of knowledge brings to Claregalway Educate Together NS.