Libraries are about more than just books. Libraries are a place for learning, social gatherings, and fun activities. They’re also a job search resource, an arts programmer, and a tech-training site. In short, libraries (especially public libraries) benefit the whole community, even though their funding is constantly being threatened. This week is National Library Week and it’s time that we show our libraries and our librarians the love that they deserve.
First sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) in April 1958, National Library Week is an annual celebration of our libraries and our librarians. The week is filled with specific national observation days—April 11th is National Library Workers Day, April 12th is National Bookmobile Day, and April 13th is Take Action for Libraries Day. Across the country, academic, school, and public libraries will be celebrating National Library Week with celebrations and events. You can get in on the action as well. Listed below are a few ways for you to support your library.
Support Your Library With These Tips
- Support the library workers. The library staff and administrators are invaluable. They are the lifeblood of your local library. This is the week to show them some love. Write them a handwritten note to say thanks. You can also help your local librarian by asking what their branch needs most and how you can help. You can also nominate one of your local library workers for an American Library Association Stars award.
- Donate. One of the great reasons libraries are so essential to our communities is because they provide free services, but federal funding does not cover everything. The donations from supporting members make a world of difference in terms of free programs and resources. If you don’t have the money to spare, you can also donate your gently used books and magazines. It can save your library on purchasing costs or they can use the extra books to host a book sale to fund library programs.
- Volunteer. If you don’t have money, books, or magazines to spare offer up some of your time instead. Libraries are constantly looking for volunteers to help with a variety of things. You can help greet guests at events, keep the shelves organized, sort through donated books, or help library visitors with their IT problems. Some volunteers even help with small clerical duties and books displays. Just a few hours of your time one day a week can make all the difference.
- Become an activist. Currently, library funding is under threat. The President’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year would wipe out funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is an independent U.S. federal agency that supports and administers funding to 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Fortunately, librarians, library patrons, and ordinary citizens are fighting back with various techniques, including letter-writing campaigns. You can join in on the action by signing up for their action alerts or calling your local member of Congress. You can find further library activist tools here.