Western and Munster Regional Sections Seminar

The Western and Munster Regional Sections of the Library Association of Ireland held a joint annual seminar at the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) Moylish Campus in Limerick on Thursday, 16 May 2024. The seminar, themed EDI in the Library, featured speakers from TUS, the Dyslexia Association of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland, and AHEAD Ireland. This was the Western Regional Section’s first in-person event since 2019, and it marked a significant milestone for the Munster Regional Section as their inaugural event since reforming in 2023.

Celine Peignen, Deputy Librarian at TUS Midlands and Chair of the Western Regional Section, and Elaine Harrington, Special Collections Librarian at University College Cork and Chair of the Munster Regional Section, delivered the welcome address. Both Celine and Elaine expressed their delight in co-hosting the seminar and emphasised the importance of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in the library. Niamh O’Brien, Secretary of the Western Regional Section, introduced each speaker, providing an overview of their respective roles and contributions in the context of EDI.

The first speaker, Marian Duggan, VP for People, Culture, and EDI at TUS, outlined the TUS Gender Equality Action Plan which is built upon six strategic pillars:

  1. To enhance institutional leadership in EDI through accreditation and recognition.
  2. To integrate TUS’ EDI vision statement into organisational policies and procedures, ensuring they are consistently monitored and reviewed.
  3. To ensure that decision-making processes regarding EDI issues are guided by real-time data.
  4. To provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for students and staff.
  5. To educate and inform the TUS community about EDI, and ensure that staff receive appropriate training to support diversity and inclusion.
  6. To promote innovative EDI practices through research and partnerships with external organisations.

Marian received a warm applause from the 46 delegates in attendance on the news that TUS had received the EU Newcomer Gender Equality Champion Award for 2024 in Brussels on the day prior to the seminar.

Nicola Beagan, Adult Dyslexia Coordinator at the Dyslexia Association of Ireland, delivered a session on dyslexia awareness and, more specifically, how we can support library users with dyslexia. Nicola highlighted the importance of our language when discussing dyslexia which is a learning difference, a different way of thinking and processing information. In fact, the first step towards creating a dyslexia-friendly library is developing an awareness and understanding of dyslexia. In view of this, Nicola outlined several practical measures for library and information professionals to implement in their daily work to better support people with dyslexia. These include:

  • Use clear and concise language in our communications and signage that incorporate maps, videos and symbols to provide visual cues.
  • Using an off-white background for text helps to create a more accessible reading experience for people with dyslexia.
  • Avoid excessive capitalisation as dyslexic readers may find it difficult to recognise words in all capitals.
  • Do not justify text as this can disrupt the natural flow of reading due to irregular spacing between words.
  • Become familiar with assistive technologies that we might already have access to. For example, recent versions of Microsoft Word include ‘Dictate’ which allows users to have their spoken words converted into text while ‘Read Aloud’ reads the text of a document out loud. ‘Immersive Reader’ is a feature in Microsoft Outlook that provides a distraction-free reading experience.

In addition to the above-mentioned measures to create a dyslexic-friendly library, Nicola emphasised that “the best gift you can give a dyslexic person is time.”

The first speaker in the afternoon session was Elizabeth Kirwan, Assistant Keeper in the Department of Special Collections at the National Library of Ireland (NLI), who presented about Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EEDI) at the NLI. Elizabeth spoke about the NLI’s revised collection development policy which seeks to “create a more diverse and inclusive story of Ireland, so that new voices are collected and shared with the world, and so that everyone will feel welcome in the National Library of Ireland.” While discussing the Irish Queer Archive which was presented to the NLI in 2008 by the National LGBT Federation, Elizabeth highlighted the vital role of archives and special collections for under-represented groups, poignantly remarking that without a documented record of your existence, you cannot prove you existed.

Erica Meslin, Education Manager at AHEAD Ireland, was the final speaker of the day and presented on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). In its broadest sense, “Universal Design (UD) is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.” An environment should therefore be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. In this context, Erica spoke about ALTITUDE, the National Charter for Universal Design in Tertiary Education, which aims to embed a Universal Design approach across the Higher Education (HE) sector.  The charter is built upon four pillars:

  1. Learning, teaching & assessment
  2. Supports, services & social engagement
  3. Physical environment
  4. Digital environment

In subsequent breakout discussion groups, delegates from various library sectors agreed that their daily activities often span all four pillars. Erica then presented some interesting statistics around changing student demographics in Ireland, namely:

  • 1/3 of HE students are 24 years of age or older.
  • 11% of HE students have children.
  • 12% are international students.
  • 23% are not from a “white Irish” ethnic background.
  • 18% of HE Equal Access Survey Respondents self-declare a disability.
  • Number of students in disability services has risen by 270% in the last 12 years.

Finally, delegates considered how we might adopt the “Plus One Approach” in our respective libraries.  The “Plus One Approach” encourages us to make small, incremental changes by adding one additional option or method to better accommodate a diverse range of library users. An example here might be introducing digital signage that provides the same information as physical signage in a more accessible format.

Elaine Harrington and Celine Peignen, Chairs of the Munster and Western Regional Sections, delivered the closing address and encouraged those in attendance to join either the Western or Munster Regional Sections of the Library Association of Ireland. Delegates were delighted to conclude the day with a tour of the wonderful TUS Moylish Campus Library which was revamped in 2023.

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  • Library Association Of Ireland: Privacy Statement
  • Collection of your personal information
  • How we use your Personal Information
  • Security of your personal information
  • Third party services
  • Updating your personal information
  • Website visitors
  • Use of Cookies
  • Changes to this statement
  • Contact Information

Library Association Of Ireland: Privacy Statement

The Library Association of Ireland (LAI) is committed to protecting your privacy. The information you share with us means you will be able to use the services we offer. We only collect the information that is necessary to carry out our business, provide the particular service you have requested and to keep you informed. Our privacy policy gives you details on when and why we collect your personal data and how we use it.

Collection of your personal information

The amount and type of information we collect from you depends on the nature of the interaction you have with us. For example, we ask members who wish to join to complete an application form. In each case, we only gather as much information as is necessary to fulfil the service request. But in general we collect the following personal information:

  • contact information including: home or work address, telephone number, qualifications and email address
  • affiliation and role
  • bank details if appropriate.

Information about your computer hardware and software is automatically collected by the LAI. This information can include your: IP address; browser type; domain name; access times; and referring website addresses.


How we use your Personal Information

The information we collect and hold on you will be used in a number of ways, including:

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  • process payments, e.g. fees for attendance at events, payment of invoices, etc.
  • to facilitate discussion and sharing of knowledge through discussion lists and events
  • to contact you to conduct research about your opinion of current services or of potential new services that may be offered
  • when you use the LAI website.

The LAI will keep your information only for as long as is necessary for the purposes set out in this privacy notice and to fulfil our legal obligations. We will not keep more information than we need. The retention period will vary according to the purpose the data is collated.

The LAI does not sell, rent or lease its customer lists to third parties. The LAI may, from time to time, contact you on behalf of external business partners about a particular offering that may be of interest to you. In those cases, your unique personally identifiable information (e-mail, name, address, telephone number) is not transferred to the third party.  In addition, the LAI may share data with trusted partners to help us process payments, perform statistical analysis, send you email or postal mail, provide customer support, member services or arrange for deliveries. All such third parties are prohibited from using your personal information except to provide these services to the LAI, and they are required to maintain the confidentiality of your information.

The LAI will disclose your personal information, without notice, only if required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to: (a) conform to the edicts of the law or comply with legal process served on the LAI or the site; (b) protect and defend the rights or property of the LAI; and, (c) act under exigent circumstances to protect the personal safety of members of the LAI, or the public.

Security of your personal information

The LAI discloses personally-identifying information to its management committee, contractors and affiliates in order to provide services available from the LAI. Payment processing is an example of this. They will not use your data for anything other than the clearly defined purpose relating to the service that they are providing.

Please keep in mind that if you directly disclose personally identifiable information or personally sensitive data through LAI public message boards, this information may be collected and used by others. Note: the LAI does not read any of your private online communications.

The LAI secures your personal information from unauthorised access, use or disclosure. The LAI secures the personally identifiable information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorised access, use or disclosure. When personal information (such as a credit card number) is transmitted to other websites, it is protected through the use of encryption, and security protocols.

Third party services

The LAI utilises third party services to assist in the delivery of some of our services, e.g. Eventbrite. When you interact with these sites you may provide information about yourself to those third parties. The LAI is not responsible for how they collect, use and share your information. We encourage you to review the privacy statements of the websites you choose to link to from the LAI, so that you can understand how these websites collect, use and share your information.

Updating your personal information

The LAI will endeavour to ensure the data we hold on you is correct and up-to-date. If you wish us to amend or remove the personal information we hold on you, please contact us by email honsec@libraryassociation.ie or write to Library Association of Ireland, c/o 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.We will correct any inaccuracies or remove you from our databases as soon as practicable.

Website visitors

Like most websites, the LAI collects non-personally-identifying information of the sort that web browsers and servers make available, such as the browser type, language preference, referring site, and the date and time of each visitor request. We do this to maintain the quality of the service, to determine what LAI services are the most popular and to provide general statistics regarding use of the LAI website. The data may be gathered from our website hosts and Google Analytics.


Use of Cookies

The LAI website uses ‘cookies’ to help you personalise your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web page server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you.

One of the primary purposes of cookies is to provide a convenience feature to save you time. The purpose of a cookie is to tell the web server that you have returned to a specific page. For example, if you personalise LAI pages, or register with the LAI site or services, a cookie helps the LAI to recall your specific information on subsequent visits. This simplifies the process of recording your personal information, such as billing addresses, shipping addresses, and so on. When you return to the same LAI website, the information you previously provided can be retrieved, so you can easily use the LAI features that you customised.

You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. If you choose to decline cookies, you may not be able to fully experience the interactive features of the LAI services or websites you visit.

Changes to this statement

The LAI will occasionally update this Statement of Privacy to reflect user feedback. The LAI encourages you to periodically review this statement to be informed of how the LAI is protecting your information.

This statement was last updated on 20th June 2018.

Contact Information

The LAI with review and update this Statement of Privacy. If you believe that the LAI has not adhered to this statement, please write the President, Library Association of Ireland, c/o 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. We will use commercially reasonable efforts to promptly determine and remedy the problem.