The week of April 13 – April 19, 2014 is National Library Week!
One week each year, usually in April, since 1958, libraries throughout the nation have held celebrations ranging from simple posters to all out parties to celebrate all that they have to offer (staff, materials, “spaces”, etc.) as well as supporters and patrons. The celebration was developed by the National Book Committee, which was made up by members of the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Book Publishers. In 1974 the National Book Committee was disbanded and ALA took over full sponsorship. The original committee created the celebration with the goals of: “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time”, “improving incomes and health”, and “developing a strong and happy family life”. The goals set forth by the ALA may have changed a bit in the ensuing decades since National Library Weeks’ birth, but the original goals still hold true.
As a part of the annual celebration the ALA assigns a different theme to each year. Typically these themes deal with trends (library, community, global, political, etc.), promoting library services, reading, or literacy. The very first library week was themed “Wake Up and Read!”. This year the theme is “Lives change @ your library ®.”
Each library celebrates differently, of course. I’ve seen as little as a small poster on the circulation desk and as much as a week long, fun filled schedule of events all culminating with a party on Saturday (the last day) providing free food and drinks as well as games and prizes to any and all who wish to attend. Many libraries change their events to match the annual theme and frequently will gear their parties, games, etc. to children. In the last few years there has been a trend of promotions for teens and young adults, so I would expect to see more programs…particularly “maker” or “tinker” programs…aimed at that age group. On that note, the rise in popularity of the “maker” movement has prompted libraries, mostly public, to create “makerspaces” where patrons can basically work to create new things either from new bits & pieces (like a 3D printer) or by breaking apart old items (like toys, computers, fans, etc.) and using the salvageable bits. With these new spaces, there could be a variety of programs aimed to promote those spaces. This year, I expect to see a lot of programs asking patrons to share their life changing library stories or promoting using the library to help change lives (like creating an artificial hand with a 3D printer).
To promote this year’s theme, @YourLibrary (a library and literacy support community), has started a drawing for a Kindle Fire. Want to enter? Just take a selfie and share it with a story of how libraries have changed your life, or what libraries mean to you. Share your photo and story on Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr using the hasgtags “#LivesChange” and “#NLW14” before noon on Friday, April 19th. If you want more details or to use the funky speech bubble created just for National Library Week this year, click here! Here at Avila’s library, we have set out some copies for use!
Non-libraries get into the party as well. Different book publishers, library support groups, and technology companies will host online webinars, host events, or even offer some of their useful services for free! This year Oxford University Press has made their online resources free for the week! Just use “libraryweek” as both username and password and enjoy!
SO! Tell your story, take a selfie and remember to appreciate your library and librarians for all that they do and have done in your life. If you’d like to help your library celebrate, just stop by and see what programs they’ve got set up for the week! If you’d like to show your appreciation to your Avila University librarians, just stop by and say thanks…we also accept candy. 🙂