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Mairead Duggan

Honour List Profile

School Librarian of the Year Award 2017: Honour List Profile

Mairead Duggan
Mount Carmel Secondary School, Dublin


Mount Carmel is a historic school in the very heart of Dublin city centre, it celebrated its bicentenary in 2017. There are currently 363 girls in the school with half of its entrants coming from outside Ireland.
The school participates in the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) and Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) programmes which are aimed at closing the attainment gap in disadvantaged areas. Mairead is employed by the JCSP programme but is fully integrated into the work of the school.

The library is a double length classroom with several distinct zones. There is the read and relax area with colourful and effective displays such as the giant Wonka bar and soft seating including the largest bean bag I have ever seen. The far end is arranged for use as a classroom and study space with tables and chairs and an interactive whiteboard. The desk sits in between these two zones.

Mairead is a perpetual learner; as well as her MLIS she has a degree in English and Irish Literature, and a diploma in journalism. She is currently in the process of a PhD in Children’s Literature, a subject in which she already holds an MA.

Her love of learning shines through in the activities she provides, not just for her students but also for their parents and fellow staff members. She has coordinated pupil-led creative projects such as the 1916 commemorative book, written and recorded raps and fiction and documentary films. She also brings in expertise from outside the school, and we observed an animation lesson using the school iPads for instance.
The JSCP has a curriculum to follow which includes use of the Accelerated Learner programme, Mairead also adds plenty of value including working across the curriculum with peer reading and maths for fun sessions.
She also leads sessions on mindfulness, relaxation and yoga to help her students gain the resilience and self-esteem they need to fulfil their potential.

The Global Developments Impact project is her new brainchild with the ambitious aim of forging long lasting and meaningful links with schools in less developed countries.

Mairead has had a real positive impact on her students with one commenting that “reading was deadly” and that she “wished all lessons were like this.”