READ DL 2017 got off to a great start last night when it was launched in the Central Library in Letterkenny by local Volunteer, Aidan O’Doherty.

The book chosen this year is ‘The Breadwinner’ by Canadian author and activist Deborah Ellis and tells the story of one family’s survival under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. It is told by the daughter, Parvana.

The launch was attended by a number of well known local personalities including Highland Radio’s John Breslin who was the MC for the night. 

Other special guests included children from Letterkenny’s Educate Together National School who enthralled the audience with their contribution on why they loved this year’s book so much and why they love to read.

READ DL has grown in strength from it’s humble beginnings a number of years ago and is now part of the global One Book One Community initiative and has become an integral part of community life in Donegal.  This initiative runs from until March 2.

It is a reading movement that aims to bring Donegal communities together by giving them a shared experience of reading the one book for a period of time in the year. 

Children and their families in Donegal are encouraged to read and discuss the chosen book, along with taking part in various activities held in schools, libraries and in the community.

Karen Sheehy from the Donegal County Library Service spoke at the launch and Karen believes that READ DL is all about coming together.  Communities, families and students are coming together to read a book, to reflect on the story, explore it’s impact at an individual as well as at a community level and this sense of ‘coming together’ is also reflected in the make-up of the READ DL committee.

She added: “Read DL is a great example of interagency working and we in the Library Service are delighted to be working with our partners on this initiative and I think it is the very nature of this collaborative working that has been critical to the success of READ DL.

“The objective of this project is to get as many people reading a book from a particular author at the same time, building not only a sense of community but also promoting and valuing the importance of literacy within our communities. 

"I would encourage those who don’t read as often as they would like to or have in the past to begin again and what better way than to participate in this year’s READ DL challenge.”

Brid McIntyre, Co-chair of the READ DL Committee, Anne Mc Hugh, Chief Executive of Donegal ETB, Paddy Hannigan, READ DL Committee and Paul Hannigan, President of Letterkenny Institute of Technology also spoke at the launch and those gathered were also wished well by the author of the Breadwinner, Deborah Ellis via a personal pre-recorded video message.

Special guest Aidan O’Doherty launched the initiative and spoke of his work on the Greek Islands assisting fleeing refugees from war torn countries. He spoke of the effects of leaving their own countries and communities and how important it was to help them all gain self-respect and confidence once again.

Copies of ‘The Breadwinner’ are available in all local libraries around the county andLetterkenny Institute of Technology is also making books available to all their students involved in READ DL.

In primary schools, senior classes are taking part in the project; while in post-primary schools first year students will be taking part.  Participating groups and schools are encouraged to undertake activities such as reading the book in school and at home, having mystery guest readers in school classes, writing competitions based on the book, posting their activities on the READ DL face book page and having guest speakers to discuss the topic from the book.

The organising committee of READ DL is a multiagency one. It is made up of Co-ordinators from the School Completion Programme and the Home school Community Liasion Schemes in Errigal College and Educate Together.

They are joined by staff from the Donegal County Council Library Service, Health Promotion HSE, LYIT, Parent Stop, Donegal ETB, Waves of Change, Dunfanaghy as well as teachers from the schools involved along with individuals from the Arts in Donegal.

Participating members are being encouraged to post comments on the READ DL Face book page where there will be more information on the project as well as details about events and competitions.

For more information on READ DL 17 contact Paddy Hannigan on 086 8103973.

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