Libraries are storehouses of information and knowledge, having been erected over time to spread information and access to that information through the written word. Dating back to 2600 BC, the public libraries we've come to know today have been vital institutions in society as they provide access to information and resources to the masses regardless of race, class, or socioeconomic status. The public libraries of today are for everyone to use and National Library Week, celebrated April 4-10 this year, celebrates the fact you have access to great libraries within your communities.
This year's theme is "Welcome to Your Library" to show that the services your library offers go even beyond the walls of the building...they're for everyone. At no other point were libraries faced by this challenge than over the past year when many were forced to find new ways to serve communities during a global pandemic. When people weren't allowed inside libraries, we found ways to meet them virtually and changed how we do things to meet the community in a variety of means.
Celebrate the importance of libraries in your life during this week, or take the time to come visit your local public libraries and engage in what they have to offer. Get a library card, attend an educational program or storytime, checkout a book, stream a movie or download an audiobook to access on-the-go. There are many ways you can explore how vital your libraries are. We encourage you to connect with us and see what we can offer you.
This year's honorary chair is actress, author, and activist Natalie Portman, helping to highlight the essential role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in serving their communities.
The idea of National Library Week began in the mid-1950s when research showed Americans were spending less time on books and more on radios, televisions, and musical instruments. Out of concern that, the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. Its goals were to encourage people to read more during their leisure time.
In 1957, a plan for National Library Week was developed with the goal that if people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries more. With the cooperation of the ALA, and help from the Advertising Council, the first event was observed in 1958. More than 60 years later, the celebrations are still running. Help keep this initiative running strong by supporting your local library.