In the final engagement of the day HRH The Princess Royal attended the “Project 500: Public Libraries as Science Learning Environments at Holywood Library, Co Down. Upon arrival HRH was greeted by the Vice-Lord Lieutenant of County Down, Mrs Fionnuala Cook OBE DL.
Project 500 is a collaborate venture between lecturers from the school of Education at Queen’s University Belfast and staff from Libraries NI. It aims to get children and young people excited about science and enthusiastic about reading. Through the project students are encouraged to visit their local library to access its range of science resources, particularly those relating to astronomy and particle physics. The programme has three elements, including an event, science show, a book based or ICT-facilitated activity and a reading challenge.
Moving inside and accompanied by Ms Irene Knox, Chief Executive Libraries NI, HRH met invited guests representing Queen’s University Belfast, Sullivan Upper School and Priory Integrated College, Libraries NI Board members and Libraries NI staff.
In the main Library HRH met Ms Valerie Christie, Children’s Services Manager, Libraries NI, Dr Ruth Jarman, Co-Director Project 500, Dr Joy Alexander, Co-Director, Project 500 and Ms Sue McGrath, Director, Science2Life.
HRH went on to meet the pupils and teachers of Sullivan Upper School and Priory Integrated College engaged in a number of book-related activities and science experiments relating to Project 500. HRH also viewed the finale of the Science Show. The finale focused on demonstrating air pressure and concluded with a small explosion in a bell jar.
Ms Knox thanked HRH for visiting Holywood Library, before inviting pupils Natasha Smith, Priory Integrated College, and Peter Adams, Sullivan Upper School, to present HRH with gifts of two books entitled “Dark Matter: Poems of Space” by Maurice Riordan and Jocelyn Bell Burnell and a “Portrait of County Down” by Simon Brown.
HRH was invited to sign the visitors’ book, bringing the one day of engagements in Northern Ireland to a close.