LAI AGM 2018 and event |

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LAI AGM 2018 and event

LAI AGM 2018 and event:  

Designing Libraries: a job for Architects and Librarians

Date: Thursday, 22nd March 2018 - 11:00am


The Annual General Meeting of the Library Association of Ireland took place at 11am on Thursday 22nd March 2018 in Cork City Library, Grand Parade, Cork City, T12 NT99. The AGM of the Library Association of Ireland was held in Cork City this year to mark 125 years since the establishment of the public library service in the city. 


Immediately following the formal business of the AGM, a moderated discussion on library buildings, both academic and public entitled ' Designing Libraries: a job for Architects and Librarians'  was convened.


Incoming LAI President, Dr. Philip Cohen welcomed Mairead Owens, County Librarian for Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, having recently gone through the process of taking the LexIcon in Dún Laoghaire from a concept to a functioning library, as the ideal moderator for a discussion focusing on the two areas of:

  • what librarians want from new buildings, and how what they get compares with what they wanted
  • what architects expect from librarians in designing library buildings, and how they approach a building such as a Library


Guest speaker Louise Cotter, of the Cork studio Carr Cotter Naessens has been in practice for over 30 years. Appointed to design the dlrLexicon in Dun Laoghaire following an international competition in 2007, Louise Cotter managed the design and construction stages of this flagship library to completion.

Guest speaker John Fitzgerald, University Librarian and Head of Information Services in UCC, had in recent years planned, fund-raised, and managed a €25 million extension to the Boole Library on the main university campus and also spoke on some international design projects in the academic libraries. The event was very well-received and was followed by a stimulating Q&A session.

John Fitzgerald, Mairead Owens, Dr. Philip Cohen, Louise Cotter

John Fitzgerald, Mairead Owens, Dr. Philip Cohen, Louise Cotter


Officers and Council elected at the AGM


The following members were elected as officers at the AGM: 




President:          Dr. Philip Cohen, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland

Vice-president: Marian Higgins, Kildare Library and Arts Service

Vice-president: Cathal McCauley, Maynooth University Library


Hon. Treasurer: Lorna Dodd, Maynooth University Library

Hon. Secretary: Eimear McGinn, Kildare Library and Arts Service



Fintan Bracken, IT Carlow

Jane Burns, Irish Hospice Foundation

Dr. Philip Cohen, Dublin Institute of Technology

Melanie Cunningham, Waterford City and County Libraries

Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Libraries

Marian Higgins, Kildare Library and Arts Service

Eoin McCarney, National Library of Ireland

Cathal McCauley, Maynooth University Library

Lai Ma, University College Dublin

Lorraine Marrey, Blackrock College

Mary Murphy, Meath County Libraries

Emer O’Brien, Tipperary Library Service

Yvonne O’Brien, Louth County Library Service

Marie O’Neill, Dublin Business School

Hazel Percival, Wexford Public Library Services

Christoph Schmidt-Supprian, Trinity College Dublin

John Shorthall, Carlow County Library Service

Kathryn Smyth, Royal College of Surgeons

Sandra Turner, Kildare Library and Arts Service

Joan Ward, Libraries Development Unit, Local Government Management Agency


Vice Presidents Cathal McCauley and Marian Higgins, President Dr. Philip Cohen, Honorary Secretary Eimear McGinn, Honorary Treasurer Lorna Dodd

Vice-Presidents Cathal McCauley and Marian Higgins, President Dr. Philip Cohen, Honorary Secretary Eimear McGinn and Honorary Treasurer Lorna Dodd.


Vice-President Marian Higgins Congratulating newly elected President Dr. Philip Cohen

Vice-President Marian Higgins congratulating newly-elected President Dr. Philip Cohen

Motions as carried at the AGM:


Motion 1

The Government's new Public Library Strategy 2018-2022 will underpin the continued development of the public library system over the next five years and will affirm the public library as a critical service at the centre of the community, meeting the information, learning and cultural needs of individuals and communities. The new Strategy was developed by the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Local Government Management Agency and Local Authorities.

In keeping with the objectives of the LAI to promote the career development of persons engaged in library services and information provision, this association calls on the Department of Rural and Community Development and Local Authorities to ensure that library teams are led locally by suitably qualified County and City Librarians appointed to long standing vacancies at 9 local authorities representing more than 30% of posts at this grade.

Proposed by the County and City Librarians' Section: carried by meeting


Associateships awarded at the AGM


Associateship of the Library Association of Ireland (ALAI) was awarded to:

Michelle Breen, BA, DLIS, ALAI

Celine Campbell, BA, MLIS, ALAI

Yvette Campbell, BA, MLIS, ALAI 

Helen McGonagle, MA, MSc, ALAI

Noreen McHugh,BA, HDipED, MLIS, ALAI

Ciaran Quinn, MA, MLIS, ALAI

Shona Thoma, BA, MLIS, ALAI


 Michelle Breen, Helen McGonagle, Dr. Philip Cohen President of the LAI, Shona Thoma, Yvette Campbell.

Michelle Breen, Helen McGonagle, Dr. Philip Cohen President of the LAI, Shona Thoma, Yvette Campbell.

Details on how to apply for Library Association awards are available at


Citations for ALAI

Michelle Breen, BA, DLIS, ALAI

The candidate demonstrates a strong career focus since 2000 as a practising information professional in the private sector and in the Glucksman Library, University of Limerick. In addition to pursuing CPD courses, she has written and contributed to the profession through articles and conference presentations. Michelle serves on the CONUL Communication and Outreach subcommittee and was the recipient of CONUL/ANTLC 2016 Research award with colleague Johanna Archbold (RCSI). This research is the subject of a forthcoming presentation at CONUL 2018.

Her commitment to the profession is further exemplified through her role as Treasurer, LAI Western Branch and her membership of the CONUL sub-committee on Communication & Outreach. Michelle is also Moderator and Facilitator of Rudai 23. In addition to representing  parents at a local nursery school, Michelle served for two years as a member of the Governing Authority of UL.


Celine Campbell, BA, MLIS, ALAI

Celine has worked in Schools Libraries and more extensively in Academic Libraries.  She has been an active practitioner since qualification. Celine maintains a reflective diary – as a sign of her commitment to and means of continuous professional development.  This is supported by her perceptive self-awareness and understanding of the key competencies she has gained since achieving her MLIS qualification in 2012. Her practical work experience has led her to acquire the following professional skills: collection development; cataloguing; budgetary and event management; delivery of training sessions to students and fellow library staff; communication through individual consultation, public speaking, publications and social media.

In addition, Celine records an impressive list of formal CPD activities: attendance at 9 conferences, seminars or workshops, on a wide variety of topics; delivered a presentation and a poster at an ANLTC seminar; published a conference report in An Leabharlann and book reviews for The School Librarian.


Yvette Campbell, BA, MLIS, ALAI

Having assessed the application of Ms. Yvette Campbell, in the light of the Regulations governing Associateship, it is recommended that the candidate be elected to the Register of Associate of the LAI. Ms. Campbell holds an approved qualification, i.e. Master of Library & Information Studies [MLIS], awarded by the NUI in 2010, and is a member of the LAI in good standing. 

She has 24 months appropriate post-qualification experience in a university library, plus some 26 months previous experience in a range of professional posts as Assistant Librarian and cataloguer, a total of 50 months in professional posts. She is currently an Assistant Librarian in Maynooth University.  Her record of involvement with professional activities is satisfactory, and she has an impressive list of publications to date, over the last three years.   


Helen McGonagle, MA, MSc, ALAI

With an academic background in European Studies and Women’s Studies,

Helen’s application has demonstrated a highly commendable sense of personal, professional motivation and initiative. She read for a distance-learning MSc in Library and Information Studies in Aberystwyth and has used her LIS skills to write A Room of their Own: Cork Carnegie Free Library & its Ladies reading Room, 1905-1915. This title was published by Cork City Council.

In addition to her work with Cork City Libraries, Helen had more than eight years’ experience with Gramophone Publications(UK) as Circulations Manager. The candidate’s contribution to the profession is evidenced in the revival of the LAI Munster Section of which she is currently Secretary. Helen has also served as a member of the Board of Management of a local primary school.



Noreen McHugh,BA, HDipED, MLIS, ALAI

With a background in education Noreen already brings valuable skills to the library world.  Since qualification as a librarian, she has gained valuable experience mainly through working at Library Assistant level in a range of libraries including DBS, RCSI and Rotunda. This has given her exposure to, and practice in, various library management systems and other e-research resources.  The candidate has a keen interest in e-resource discovery, Open Access and social media and works in the RCSI Library in that area. Research support and customer care has been a consistent element of her career to date.


Noreen’s CPD statement indicates a focus on customer services employing her interpersonal skills. She has demonstrated her interest in developing her professional skills by attending a number of workshops and seminars in recent years, networking and reporting back to colleagues.  While in DBS, she helped to organise two of the DBS annual seminars thereby gaining experience in event management.


Ciaran Quinn, MA, MLIS, ALAI

Since his first professional appointment in 2001 Ciaran has developed his career in a number of posts contributing to the objectives of each. His ALAI application clearly shows a commitment to CPD through conference attendance, publication in journals, membership of working groups and committees and completion of a wide range of relevant and topical training. Through his work experience and CPD , Ciarán is a Librarian who demonstrates that he is concerned with staying on top of new trends and changing environments to make the most of his knowledge and skills for his work and his is students. In his current post at Maynooth University, he is an active participant in the teams delivering services and preparing future plans.

Shona Thoma, BA, MLIS, ALAI

Shona’s career path is impressive and varied with a central theme of teacher/trainer. She has worked as IRel Officer with the Irish Research eLibrary and prior to this in Maynooth University and Trocaire. Shona has provided evidence of much CPD, continued engagement with and contribution to the profession.  The assessors were taken with the applicant’s social conscience through her involvement with the New Professionals Group, and the practical ways she uses her skill-set to help others achieve their goal. She has been active in promoting LAI through social media.

In addition to availing of traditional CPD or training sessions, she has also explored online training via webinars.  She mentions on-the-job training and she has correctly viewed practical experience as a core part of the learning process.   She has presented at Conferences, blogs and writes for publication.  In 2016, Shona was the recipient of the John Merriman Joint UKSG/NASIG award. She currently works with Kildare Library and Arts Service.