National Library Week is the best time of the year to get back in touch with your inner bookworm and visit your local library. It’s a week dedicated to rediscovering this local community treasure and showing your sincere appreciation for their societal role.
Once a place to house books to borrow, today’s libraries are more media centers. Services now also include audiobooks, computer labs with internet connectivity, and community events. Librarians today do much more than check-out and reshelve books. They are digital power players who know how to dig up deep research in either the new digital archives or printed historical tomes. There’s no better week to learn more than National Library Week.
History of National Library Week
National Library Week traces back to the mid-1950s in the United States. In 1954, concerns were rising about Americans spending too much time with media. Back then, these included radios, TVs, and musical instruments, and less with books. The American Library Association (ALA) and the American Book Publishers formed a non-profit committee to address the need to reconnect with reading and maintain literacy. Their mission was clear: encouraging people to read more and supporting local libraries.
In 1958, their collaborative efforts established the first National Library Week. The librarians were unapologetic about their ambitious goals — to foster a love for reading and improve American household incomes, health, and family lives. The ALA, which continues to sponsor the event, designated this week to be observed annually.
Over the years, National Library Week has evolved, adapting to the changing times. For instance, the 2020 theme, “Find Your Place at The Library,” was unfortunately set ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. But those unflappable librarians were undaunted. Instead of the on-site festivities they had planned, library workers across the country shifted toward virtual celebrations.
Each year, the week includes National Library Workers Day, which celebrates library staff, and National Bookmobile Day, which highlights the importance of mobile libraries.
How to Celebrate National Library Week
Celebrating National Library Week can be both enriching and fun. Here are some ways to join in on the fun at your local library:
Virtual Library Exploration
With many libraries offering online resources, take a digital dive into the vast collections of ebooks, audiobooks, and online archives. Researching your family tree but it seems full of broken branches? The documents you can source online might provide you the next clue to get unstuck in your research. It’s like a treasure hunt from the comfort of your home!
Social Media Shoutouts
Use hashtags like #NationalLibraryWeek and #LibrariesTransform to share your library experiences and favorite reads on social media. Follow and engage with library accounts to show your support. Share any planned events at your community libraries to help increase participation.
Revisit Old Favorites
Dust off those classic novels or childhood favorites you discovered at your local library. Re-reading these gems is like catching up with old friends. The best part? The librarians won’t care what you read or laugh at you for reading children’s books – they are truly just delighted that you read!
Start a Book Club
Initiating a book club during National Library Week is a fantastic way to celebrate the joy of reading and also to remember the importance of libraries. It’s an opportunity to connect with fellow book enthusiasts, explore the adventure of new genres, and engage in stimulating discussions.
DIY Book Crafts
Get crafty with book-themed DIY projects. Create fun bookmarks, colorful book covers, or even participate in a virtual workshop on bookbinding. The options are endless!
Donate to Your Local Library
Show your appreciation by donating books or funds to your local library. Every contribution helps in keeping the library’s collection fresh and diverse. Too short on funds to give cash? No problem — offer your time and talent and volunteer at the library. They can usually use a pair of helping hands to reshelve books, prepare for used book sale events, or read to children at story hour.
Storytelling Sessions for Kids
Organize virtual storytelling sessions for children. It’s a great way to instill a love for libraries in the younger generation. Use your favorite online platform to connect with parents and kids who would love to hear you read to them.
Library Staff Appreciation Post
Write a thank-you note or post online appreciating the hard work of library staff. Their dedication keeps our libraries running smoothly. These professionals are part of your community but are often overlooked when considering the contributions of public servants.