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New campaign to get Ireland reading during Covid

Ireland Reads is a new campaign to get the whole country reading this month in the lead up to a national day of reading on Thursday, February 25th.


Irish libraries have teamed up with publishers, booksellers, authors and others for the campaign, which is part of the government’s Keep Well initiative and aims to celebrate reading and all the benefits it can have for wellbeing and enjoyment.


The campaign is asking everyone to ‘squeeze in a read’ on Ireland Reads Day, Thursday, February 25th. A new website www.irelandreads.ie has been set up where people can pledge to read on the day and see how much time has been pledged by the Irish public so far.


The website also offers book recommendations suited to a person’s interests and the time they have available. There are more than 800 recommendations from librarians all around the country. A website user can simply enter their favourite type of book and how long they would like to read each day and the website will offer the perfect book suggestion and work out how long it will take to complete – a couch to 5k for books!


Campaign partners and libraries all over the country will be running ‘Ireland Reads’ initiatives and events throughout February in the build up to Thursday, February 25th.

A number of well-known campaign ambassadors from the worlds of writing, science, sport, health and broadcasting are on board to help promote the campaign, and you can find out what reading means to them and why they support the campaign at www.irelandreads.ie.

While libraries are not currently open for browsing or borrowing due to Covid restrictions, library members can use the library Borrowbox service online and choose from more than 44,000 eBooks and 33,000 eAudiobooks.

Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development said:

“Keeping well and looking after our mental health is vital during these challenging times. That’s why I am delighted to support this campaign to celebrate and encourage reading, which is part of the Government’s ‘Keep Well’ initiative.

“My Department of Rural and Community Development has invested heavily in our library service in recent years.

“And, despite the Level 5 restrictions, thousands of people have continued to avail of our library services online. 

“In addition, many library authorities are currently delivering library stock to the housebound and vulnerable.

“So I would encourage everybody to join me in pledging to set aside some time during this month to relax with a good book and discover the joy of reading.”

Frank Feighan, TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health and Well Being said:

“As part of the Healthy Ireland ‘Keep Well’ campaign, ‘Ireland Reads’ is about promoting the power of reading for enjoyment and wellbeing. It’s about encouraging everyone to regularly take some time to sit and read a book, a poem, a comic, a newspaper or to ‘start a new story’- whatever works for them. In a year when we have all been searching for new ways to keep active and creative, and to step away our daily routines and connect with others, reading offers a way to escape. There is growing evidence that reading can lift our mood, reduce the symptoms of depression and improve wellbeing throughout life.”  

It doesn’t matter how long you read for or what you read, it doesn’t matter whether you’re an avid reader, a reluctant reader, a lapsed reader or a new reader, this campaign is for you, says Colette Byrne, Kilkenny County Council Chief Executive on behalf of the public library sector:

“Right now, many of the activities we used to take for granted are not available to us, but you can always enjoy a good book, newspaper or magazine. These are all available free online and any time to library members. Libraries and library staff are waiting to welcome people back whenever that is possible, but until then we always have books to remind us of other people, other places, and better days. So, this month please pledge to take some reading time for yourself or to share with family.”

Find out about all that’s happening for Ireland Reads, get book recommendations and take the pledge to read on Thursday, February 25th at www.irelandreads.ie

See some of the Ireland Reads ambassadors below:

Patricia Scanlon
Rick O’Shea
Jenny Egan
Áine Ní Ghlinn
Melanie Murphy
Luke O’Neill

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