Clonmel's Marie Boland being presented with a hamper by her book club friends
A native of Ennis, Marie was handed a copy of a local newspaper that included a job advert for a librarian with Clare County Council 42 years ago. “From week one I knew it was for me. There was so much more to it than just books and reading, even back in the 1970s. I just loved it,” Marie tells Tipperary Live.
“There were activities such as story time and school riddles, along with local, national and international exhibitions in the library. There were no computers back then and it was just so enjoyable reading all sorts of books, encouraging kids to get into the habit of reading for 10 minutes a day. That was my mantra - 10 minutes a day and it becomes a habit that you will have for your whole life. I loved seeing children learn from books, and took great pleasure out of reading myself or listening to someone read in the library,” Marie smiles.
Marie applied for a higher grade role at Thurles Library, where she spent six months before moving to a new library in Roscrea. She was then presented with “the chance of a lifetime”, with the next chapter of her story pointing towards Clonmel.
“I enjoyed a very happy few years with warm people and had a great social life in Roscrea.
“We had a very progressive librarian, Martin Maher, who had big plans for a state-of-the-art library in Clonmel and he asked me to open it in 1987. I spent a day crying because I loved Roscrea and was very happy there, but this was too big an opportunity to turn down.
“I arrived in Clonmel with just my bags, but from day one I felt at home because the group of us working in the library really gelled together. We were public servants and devoted to giving the people the best service. I grew to love Clonmel and it’s my home now, except when it comes to GAA my heart will always be Clare,” she laughs.
Married to Michael with two adult children, Marie has seen many changes in Tipperary County Council's Library Service over the years, pinpointing the emergence of technology as “mind-boggling”. She says: “Computers opened us up to a whole new world and a new way of working. In the last few years, one of the greatest things with computers is that every public library in Ireland is linked. You can have a book from Donegal or West Cork sent to the library in Clonmel within days. Ebooks are also fantastic and they are all free.”
Marie is enjoying her retirement and plans to go to history lectures, arts and crafts classes, and travel to see the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park. “It will be the most exciting experience," she adds.