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Bringing it all Back Home

Clare Champion, 21st April 2006

One of the United States' busiest library systems could soon be learning a lesson from our very own Clare County Library. Librarian Colleen Brazil who works at the King County Library System, Washington State, has just returned to her home after spending some sabbatical time working in Clare.

Speaking to The Clare Champion during her stay, she told how she was so impressed at what she saw here that some of the initiatives carried out by the Clare County Library could soon be seen across the Atlantic. Colleen explained that she was first drawn to working in Clare after seeing some of the local history projects carried out by Clare County Library on their website.

"I wanted to take some sabbatical time and I was looking at some places where I might be able to do that. I first found the library on the Internet and I was so impressed with what they have done here with some of their local history projects and the resources they offered on the webpage, I thought that this is the kind of thing I want to learn about" she said. "During my time here, I was impressed with what they have done, it definitely lived up to my expectations. The work they do every day with local resources and local history is amazing. The library system where I work is a very large system, the second busiest in the United States. It is a large public library system and we have historical books but we don't have local content that we have created like this library system has or the local history on the Internet. When I go back, I hope to be able to use some of what I have learned during my time here. I will have to talk to the administrator to see what we can apply, but most definitely the local studies and local history is very much something I am interested in and would like to expand in my library".

This was not Colleen's first visit to Ireland, and with a name like hers, she is bound to have some Irish roots. However, she did not delve into her family tree during her stay. "I know I have an Irish background, and while I have had some guesses and done a bit of research, there is a point where the line just stops so I haven't pursued it", she explained.

Although she hasn't investigated her past, Colleen certainly made the most of her time in Clare. "I've been getting out every weekend and really getting to see the area. The Burren especially is one of my favourite places on earth. I spent quite a bit of time there in 1982 and I always wanted to get back here. The combination of working here in this great library system as well as being here in Clare is great", she said.

In particular, Colleen who plays the fiddle enjoyed getting out and enjoying a session of trad music saying, "I love the music, and always have, and of course, Clare is the best place for it. I wasn't tempted to take part in the music though, I just love to listen. I had to decide on whether to bring my computer or my fiddle and because I am focusing on my computer work I had to leave the fiddle behind. There always needs to be music appreciators in the audience", she laughed.

Colleen thanked all at the Clare County Library including County Librarian, Noel Crowley, for their welcome saying, "they have been so generous and kind, telling me so much about the library and about Clare. I feel so fortunate to be here".

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