Celebrate National Library Week
With Americans turning to libraries in record number for employment resources and technology support, the nation’s libraries celebrate National Library Week, April 11-17.
The celebration, sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), includes events held at thousands of libraries to promote the many free resources available. The programs include assisting the unemployed with jobs searches and filing unemployment benefits, helping the unskilled learn to use a computer, providing homework help, access to e-government services and providing accurate financial education information.
This year’s honorary chair is best-selling author Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels “Neverwhere,” “Stardust,” “American Gods,” “Anansi Boys” (#1 NYT bestseller), and “Good Omens” (with Terry Pratchett); the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the short story collections “Smoke and Mirrors” and “Fragile Things.” He is also the author of books for readers of all ages including the #1 bestselling and Newbery Medal winning novel “The Graveyard Book.”
In a print public service announcement for National Library Week that can be downloaded from www.ala.org/nlw, Gaiman brings his messages about the value of America’s libraries to communities across the country.
Americans visited their libraries nearly 1.4 billion times and checked out more than 2 billion items in the past year, and library use continues to climb. Survey results indicate that 68 percent of adults in the U.S. have public library cards, the greatest number since the American Library Association (ALA) started to measure library card usage in 1990. This is an increase of more than 10 percent in both checked out items and library visits, compared to data from the last economic downturn in 2001.
On Monday, April 12, the ALA’s Public Information Office will release “The State of America’s Libraries” report detailing both the positive impact libraries and librarians have on the millions of people who use them and the various challenges libraries face.
The week’s festivities will include National Library Workers Day (www.ala-apa.org/about/nlwd.html), which is celebrated Tuesday, April 13. This national observance is a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers - including librarians, support staff and others. It is sponsored by the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), an organization that advocates for improving the salaries and status of librarians and support staff.
On Wednesday, April 14, the highly anticipated “Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2009” list will be released from the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. The list will include the reasons behind the challenges, as well as the overall number of challenges received in 2009.
Also on April 14, libraries will also celebrate the first-ever National Book Mobile Day. On this day libraries will recognizes and celebrates the role of bookmobiles and direct-delivery outreach services in fulfilling the mission of libraries.
On Thursday, April 15, the ALA will celebrate Support Teen Literature Day (http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/Support_Teen_Literature_Day) in which libraries across the country will host programs and celebrations to raise awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Programs will showcase award-winning authors and books in the genre, as well as highlight librarians’ expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials. This annual celebration is sponsored by the ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association.
In addition to National Library Week, many school libraries also celebrate the month of April as School Library Media Month (www.ala.org/aasl/slmm), sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the ALA.
For more information on National Library Week, visit the National Library Week Press Kit at http://tinyurl.com/nlwpk2010.
(American Libraries Direct, April 7, 2010)