Thursday, April 14, 2011

National Library Week

Celebrate National Library Week
April 10-16, 2011 at a library near you!

I know that National Library Week officially began on Sunday but I'm a little behind this week and it isn't too late to celebrate!

As a public librarian, I've always enjoyed this time and usually I'm involved in some kind of celebration at the library. This year because of family events going on and the craziness of planning programs for spring and summer reading, I kind of dropped the ball.

What is National Library Week? It is a time to celebrate and promote the services that libraries offer to their patrons and communities. It isn't just limited to public libraries-school and university libraries as well as special libraries participate too.

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with one of my cousins over the weekend. He takes issue with the importance of libraries and their overall usefulness now that so many people are using e-readers to read books and surfing the Internet themselves to find answer to their questions. While he is the sort who never uses the library and prefers to purchase all his books (I have nothing against that practice), not everyone has that kind of salary and there are still those who must rely on dial up Internet access or need help sifting through the information (some of it not reliable/accurate) available online. I defended the usefulness of libraries calmly and to the best of my ability on short notice. Below you will find a few of the things I mentioned (and some I thought of later) and hopefully if you are not currently a library user, it will inspire you to give your local library a visit.

Here are some of the things I love about libraries:

Free books! -We may not get to keep them but it sure feeds the reading habit! I've even been able to check out required books for school so I saved money while I was in college :) I also check out most of the books I review for this blog from the library. Best of all, if your own library doesn't have the book, they can usually get it for you on interlibrary loan!

Free e-books! -As more and more people are purchasing e-readers or devices like smartphones or the iPad that allow for e-reading, this is a valuable service than many libraries now offer. While still not available for the Kindle (darn, you need to get on the bandwagon!), other devices like the Nook and NookColor allow you to download e-books from the library and read them for a specific amount of time.  I've checked out and read e-books on my computer such as Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. New books are also available from some libraries although there may be a waiting list. Best of all, when the due date arrives, the e-book just expires. You don't even have to worry about overdues!

Free movies! -I've enjoyed being able to watch DVDs for free. It is a definite budget stretcher and if you end up hating a movie (like The Next Three Days), it didn't cost you anything, unless it is overdue :) Some libraries also offer fitness DVDs so you can check out and try things like yoga (turned out learning by DVD was a bad idea for me), Zumba (not even going there), or Keeping Fit in Your 50s (perfect for this out of shape 30-something)

Free Internet access! -I have the Internet at home but many people do not (and it is also great if you are traveling and get lost and need to find directions-not that something like that ever happens to me...). Library patrons use the Internet for research, staying in touch with friends and family worldwide, job hunting, and more. As a librarian, I've helped people figure out how to upload resumes, look into starting their own business, create e-mail accounts, and use social networking tools. For people who can't afford the Internet or have a slow connection, this is a valuable resource. Many libraries don't even require you to have a library card to use the Internet and they also offer free Wi-fi for those who need a place to use their laptops.

Fun programs! -While it is true that as a kid I didn't attend regular storytimes, I did like my school trips to the library. Storytimes and early literacy programs are just a few of the fantastic and important programs libraries offer. As an adult I've enjoyed cultural programs, summer reading programs, and book discussion groups both as a patron and a staff member. Libraries are a great place to learn new skills (many offer classes on using the computer, FaceBook, etc.) or socialize (unless you go to one of those old school libraries that shush people all over the place!)

Information! -When I was a student, I regularly used the library for research and even for fun to find out about things I was interested in such as learning to crochet, learning French, and bellydancing (I learned that bellydancing is definitely not my skill!). As a librarian, I've been asked all kinds of interesting questions such and while I don't always know the answers (okay many times I don't know the answer), I certainly do my best to find out. Whether you want to find out if that plate you bought in a garage sale is an antique or need help for a school report, the library is the place to go!

These are just some of the reasons that libraries are important to their communities. If you are not a library patron, consider visiting your local library today.


  1. Amen to all of this! Having been a public library employee, I totally support libraries and am saddened by what they are going through right now. They are a treasure that we won't be able to replace.

  2. I absolutely loooove my library. I get excited when I get to go. They always have amazing programs and honestly, sometimes it gets packed!

  3. I agree with Kay. Amen to this! I love libraries and it breaks my heart to see what they are going through- as well as schools! I love both my public library and school library; they are an invaluable resource!

  4. In truth it makes me really sad when I hear libraries are not supported as they should be-and I live in city of ten million people that has never had a public library- imagine millions of kids who have never been inside a library-


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