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Celebrating March Irish History in the Library
March has the the distinguished honor of being the month containing Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. For many, this means the end of cold weather and the start of the growing season. There are many things to celebrate in March, but a popular one is the celebration of St. Patrick's Day - broadened to include Irish history and the entire month of March. This subject is broad and deep, lending itself well to integrated displays of library materials.
Library displays do not have to be limited to books. Oftentimes, when a theme is broad enough and deep enough, many items in a library's collection will be suitable for both display for subject matter as well as highlighting the different types of materials that the library has to offer on a topic.
For example, a display of Irish history can include feature films such as "The Quiet Man" along with those of the 1922 uprising. Documentaries on aspects of Irish history such as the IRA, British/Irish relations, the Famine, and the history of St. Patrick's Day are but a few topics that can be showcased.
Fictional stories that have their settings in Ireland by authors such as Maeve Binchy and Andrew Greeley can be displayed by biographies of famous Irish Americans such as John F. Kennedy and even Barack Obama who has Irish ancestry as well. This type of integrated display across genres and types of literature do what the library does best, make people think.
For those who want a little literary taste of Ireland, books of Irish Poetry, Irish Short Stories, or autobiographies of authors like James Joyce are wonderful additions to a display. Do not limit the display to stories, Irish cookbooks, music CDs and even language materials make great additions to show just how much the library has to offer. Include Children's books such as who was St. Patrick and why we celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and Irish arts and crafts.
Oversized coffee table books on Dublin, Ireland, and the houses of Ireland are popular browsing materials. Books on Irish pubs, travel books and dvds are also popular options. Check out subject headings in the library's catalog to find more less well-known authors and books that could be set in Ireland, about Ireland, or feature novelized or non-fiction Irish historical events.
On a basic level, classrooms can look at atlases to find where Ireland is geographically and then learn about the children in that country utilizing library databases, encyclopedias and other web and print resources.
There is no end to what a display can encompass. Take a walk around the library and see all it has to offer on a variety of facets of your topic. I think you might be pleasantly surprised!
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