by Joe Kelly, Eileen McDermott and Rebecca Ford

On foot of the school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the JCSP Librarian team initiated a range of challenges, competitions, and engagement activities to share amongst their project and school communities. Earlier in the year, the team, thanks to the work of Ciaran O’Doherty of New Cross College in Finglas, held a major exhibition of drawings inspired by Inktober, the annual international drawing challenge created by Jake Parker. SprINK20, an idea sparked by Rebecca Ford, Librarian in Collinstown Park Community College in Clondalkin, drew upon the success of Inktober during the difficult days of student isolation.

We asked our students to create a drawing everyday based on a prompt related in this instance, to Spring. Students were invited to take part throughout April. The standard of responses from across the country was wonderful, even garnering some coverage in one regional newspaper. Some of the participants were so engaged by this initiative they made it a daily practice, including participation over weekends and the Easter holiday period, thus having an opportunity to support their own wellbeing during the stay-at-home period. As well as extending the learning beyond school and into the home, the initiative also supported the literacy development of our participants. Many of the pieces demonstrate students’ ability for reflection, lateral thinking, and deeper visual literacy with their subtle use of vocabulary and interpretation of concepts. Librarians linked with students offering feedback and encouragement wherever possible and displayed the pieces of work on social media.

At the end of the month all the drawings will be collated for an online exhibition and students will be acknowledged for their efforts. We were grateful to have attracted the support on social media of several Irish artists and illustrators who joined our challenge. This SprINK incarnation of the Inktober drawing challenge, allowed the students to have another opportunity to experience a sense of continuity, creativity, and connectedness during the school closures. The results speak for themselves.

For more school closure initiatives by JCSP Librarians take a look here


National Drop Everything and Read Challenge 2020

by Kathleen Moran

Register your support for DEAR here

Total Registrations = 342,712

Given that so many of us are now spending so much more time in our homes, now is an excellent time to to take some time to enjoy reading for pleasure. We are therefore inviting the entire nation to take time out and to ‘Drop Everything and Read’ for 20 minutes at 12 noon on Friday April 24th 2020.

The simple idea is to promote the importance of literacy and to spread the joy of reading for pleasure by having as many people as possible read at the same time on the same day. Over 200,000 registered to participate last year and our aim is to have an even higher participation figure this year. So show your support and register here.

Work will be put down, computer screens will be turned off, and everyone will be encouraged to pick up a book, magazine, newspaper, e-book, audio book, etc. and to read quietly, or indeed be read to, for 20 minutes (or more!).

DEAR 2020 Ambassador Sarah Crossan

We are delighted to welcome poet, author and Laureate na nÓg Sarah Crossan as our DEAR Ambassador this year. In her promotional video for the DEAR Challenge, Sarah stresses the importance of reading for enjoyment. You can view Sarah’s video here

Reading is one of the only things that allows me to forget about all the things that are going on in the world

DEAR Ambassador Sarah Crossan

The main focus of this national DEAR challenge is to draw attention to the importance of reading for pleasure. If reading is to become a lifelong habit then young people must see themselves as participants in a community that views reading as a significant and enjoyable activity.

When is DEAR celebrated?

The official time and date for DEAR Ireland 2020 is 12 noon on Friday April 24th.

Can DEAR be celebrated at a different time/date?

Of course.  If you cannot participate in DEAR at the official date and time, then please show your support by registering and taking time to read on a date and time to suit you.  DEAR can be celebrated at any time on any day, or better still, every day!

What do I need to do to participate in DEAR?

All those planning to participate in the 2020 National Drop Everything and Read Challenge (individuals, families, schools, organisations, companies, etc.) are asked to register here

Then all you have to do is read!

Rosie – DEAR Challenge Mascot


Registration Form – click here to register for DEAR 2020

DEAR Ambassador Sarah Crossan – click here to see short video from DEAR 2020 Ambassador Sarah Crossan

Follow the campaign on Twitter @dear_ireland and share your comments, photos and video clips on Twitter, Instagram, etc. using the hashtags #DEARIrl and #LetsGetIrelandReading or email to dear@jcsplibraries.ie

Our Favourite DEAR 2019 Photo (by Sadhbh Devlin)

Kathleen Moran – Senior Librarian JCSP Demonstration Library Project