Trinity College’s Library Inspires a Collection of Handmade Books by Dublin School Children

Posted on: 24 March 2011

An exhibition of books illustrated and written by children from three Dublin primary schools was opened in the Long Room of Trinity College’s Old Library by Trinity College Librarian, Robin Adams (March 23).  The schools included Scoil Eoin, Kilbarrack, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Senior Boys National School, Drimnagh, and St Brigids Senior National School, Haddington Road.  The exhibition marks the completion of a three month project called Bookmarks which is organised by the Trinity Access Programmes (TAP).  Bookmarks is a story writing, illustration and bookbinding programme involving TAP-linked schools.  The programme features workshops with renowned authors, artists and academics and aims to inspire children to become the next generation of authors, illustrators and publishers.

Over the course of the Bookmarks programme the children attended a series of workshops on story writing and illustration delivered by local artist, Hannah Maguire and author, Emer Martin.  Author and TCD lecturer Conor Kostick visited each of the participating schools to speak about his books and life as an author of children’s literature.   Amanda Piesse, TCD Senior Lecturer in the School of English, delivered another workshop which introduced the children to the Pollard Collection, a collection of over 10,000 historic children’s books spanning the 17th – 20th Centuries.  The Pollard Collection is an imaginative resource for today’s children, helping them develop their storylines whilst also learning about their own literary and cultural heritage. 

Pictured at Trinity College with their books were Susan Iwanowicz (10) from St Brigids Senior National School on Haddington Road, and Emmanuel Delmonte (12) from Our Lady of Good Counsel, Senior Boys National School in Drimnagh. 

This year the Bookmarks programme involved 70, 5th and 6th class students from schools affiliated with Trinity Access Programmes which offers support to students from under represented backgrounds to progress to higher education.   During the programme the children were also given the opportunity to explore the Trinity campus, visit the Old Library and view the Book of Kells exhibition. 

Commenting on the success of the Bookmarks programme, Kathleen O’Toole-Brennan of Trinity Access Programmes said: “TAP is very proud of the Bookmarks programme and the unique opportunity which it provides for children to acquire new skills and to be exposed to the world of children’s literature in a very hands-on manner.  The quality of the children’s books are excellent, and with continued involvement in TAP’s outreach programmes, which attract over 4,000 students annually, these same students and their peers will successfully make the transition to both second and third level.”  

The Bookmarks programme is just one of a number of TCD outreach activities for primary schools which aim to build a positive relationship between Trinity College Dublin and primary school students and their families with the hope of raising their aspirations regarding third-level study. 

The children were each presented with a certificate of achievement by Conor Kostick at an awards ceremony during the launch of the exhibition.  Their books will be displayed in the Long Room of Trinity College as recognition of their achievement and can be viewed by the public. 

The Bookmarks exhibition will run until 5th April in the Long Room, Old Library, Trinity College Dublin.