Laois Library lifeline to community in lockdown

Laois County Library services have been a social frontline response for many people in Laois through the Covid-19 pandemic

Leinster Express Reporter


Leinster Express Reporter


laois coronavirus covid-19

aois County Library Service staff members, Margaret Carroll and Liam Timmons in Portlaoise Library

For many particularly over the last year, Laois County Library Service has continued to be a lifeline for a diverse range of people and communities within the county including, the young, students, parents, retired, elderly, and so many more.

Since th start of the pandemic, local libraries in Laois have continued to adapt the way they deliver services within their communities.

Bernie Foran is the County Librarian for Laois.

“The protracted nature of the restrictions is having an impact on our daily lives. We’re all adapting to new ways of living and there are times we have to figure out new ways to live, work and play in this new ‘normal’.

“Our challenge during this time is to equip ourselves with a better understanding of how we can be resilient by caring for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. This resilience will help strengthen our communities and individuals and restore hope for our future. The County Library Service is responding to the needs of our communities with targeted supports and initiatives, she said.

As part of the Laois “Keep Well’’ Campaign programme is the Laois County Library Delivery Service which continues to be an essential service to the elderly or medically vulnerable and cocooning at home. It is proving a resounding success and all you need to do is contact the library to request books, audiobooks, magazines or DVDs.

Library staff will select items according to your preference and members of Volunteer Laois will then make arrangements to deliver these items to your doorstep. All items are on long loan, there are no overdue fines or fees and access to this service is FREE. This service also includes care packages and the Library Activity Booklet. Contact or phone 057 8622333 / 057 8664000 for more details or to order your books.

“Ireland Reads” on Thursday, February 25 is a national initiative inviting people of all ages to make a pledge to read. The value of reading has become even more important to us over the last 12 months and offers a counterbalance to the amount of time we spend on our Screens. For many of us, we are connected to our Screens for work and study as we comply with government guidelines to work, study and cocoon at home.

Reading requires only a comfortable corner and a book and provides immediate access to places we can’t go to right now, lost in our imagination, and a well-deserved distraction from current restrictions.

To participate in “Ireland Reads” and this reading pledge initiative with people all over Ireland on Thursday, February 25, go to This nationwide Public Libraries initiative is in partnership with publishers, booksellers, authors and others under the Government’s “Keep Well” Campaign. MORE BELOW PICTURE

The County Library Service as part of Laois’s “Keep Well” Community Resilience Campaign is hosting FREE virtual / online talks and sessions to support communities to look after their mental health and general wellbeing with the following upcoming events:”

Empowering and Protecting Children Online (Tuesday, February 16, 7pm) is a webinar aimed at parents of children from 8-13 years old and offers a general overview of the main factors to consider around social media, gaming and the online world. The aim is to raise awareness of what children are doing online and offer practical advice and resources to help participants deepen their knowledge. Areas of focus are popular apps & protecting privacy, areas of risk, digital wellbeing & critical thinking, and useful resources. To register, email or phone 057 8644572.

Physiotherapist Tips on Working from Home (Wednesday February 24, 6.30pm) with chartered physiotherapist Colette O’Flynn, as seen on RTE’s Afternoon Show and YouTube, ColetteOFlynn advises on workplace setup, good posture, and home working essentials. To register, email or phone 057 8644572.

A series of online Mindfulness sessions for adults and young people with Patricia Kavanagh will take place throughout March. Patricia is a strong advocate of the benefits of mindfulness in everyday life, emphasising the evidence and scientific basis for its practice. She is a MBSR Teacher (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and qualified as a Teacher of Paws.b (Childrens Mindfulness) in Bangor University, Wales. More below picture.


Pictured Laughter Yoga (Hasyayoga) with Mary Ananda Shakti is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter and finding that happy place inside

Transforming your relationship with Anxiety through Mindfulness (Thursday, February 25, 7pm – 8.30pm). Emotions are intelligent and on a physical level keep us safe. When we feel anxiety and live in uncertain times it is helpful if we reconnect to ourselves. We allow the opportunity to be present with what’s truly happening and bring true loving kindness for support. We can examine this through Mindfulness. To register, email or phone 057 8644572.

Hope and Compassion in Challenging times through Mindfulness (Friday, March 5, 7pm – 8.30pm) is about the path of Compassion for ourselves and others, looking at our vulnerability when life is uncertain, and how we can do this with courage and tenderness through Mindfulness. Hope is present to us all when we stay present rather than living in the future and past. Mindfulness can open us this gift of hope. To register, email or phone 057 8644572.

Mindfulness for Teenagers (Saturday, March 6, 11am to 12noon for 12-14 year olds) is an introductory session into mindfulness to help our attention to be more aware of what is actually happening rather than worry about what has happened or what might happen. It will bringing curiosity to our experience and respond more skilfully to our challenges. To register, email or phone 057 8644572.

Mindfulness for Teenagers (Saturday, 20 March, 11am to 12.30pm for 15-17 year olds) is an

introductory session focusing on our inner world to open possibilities to cope with emotions skilfully and make choices to take care of ourselves in times of stress. To register, email or phone 057 8644572.

Eat Well from Scratch – online cooking classes is brought to you by Yvonne Carty from Hey Pesto, a Home Economist with BSH with a mission ‘to get everyone cooking’. With everybody spending so much more time at home this is a great opportunity to get into the kitchen and start cooking. Over 4 weeks Yvonne will share a selection of tried and trusted recipes that will enable online attendees to cook with confidence and most importantly, without stress.

Budgeting and menu planning will also be covered as well as ideas for using up leftovers. Eat well from scratch - Soups and Breads (Thursday, March 4, 6.30pm); Eat Well from Scratch - One Pot Wonders (Thursday, March 11, 6.30pm); Eat Well from Scratch – Fakeaways (Thursday, March 18, 6.30pm); and Eat Well from Scratch – Cooking for Summer (Thursday, March 25, 6.30pm). To register, email or phone 057 8644572 for any or all of the classes. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

Eat Well from Scratch – online cooking classes brought to you by Yvonne Carty from Hey Pesto

Laughter yoga (Thursday March 11, 11.30am) with Mary Ananda Shakti from is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter and finding that happy place inside. Laughter Yoga (Hasyayoga) is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. To register email or phone 057 8644572. Mary Ananda Shakti is a Life and Laughter coach.

Having trained with the Master of Laughter Cardiologist Dr Madan Kataria in 2002 she has shared laughter yoga with many individuals and groups since. She also trains Laughter Yoga Leaders which is facilitated online during current restrictions, and is a Hypnotherapist/Psychotherapist, Energy Psychologist as well as an Engaging Dementia Licenced Practitioner.

This KEEP WELL Campaign is brought to you with thanks to Healthy Ireland, an initiative of the Government of Ireland with funding from the Healthy Ireland Fund and the Sláintecare Fund delivered by Pobal, administered by Laois County Council.

Laois County Library Service is a network of 10 branches, 4 full-time (opening hours) and 6 part-time (opening hours), serving the library needs of the county and surrounding areas. In accordance with Level 5 Government Restrictions the Service currently offers book delivery and online services only.

All library buildings remain closed until further notice.