It’s National Library Week, April 14 – 20

PrintIt’s National Library Week, April 14 – 20, and this year’s theme is “Communities matter @ your library.”

The American Library Association (ALA) is celebrating the 55th National Library Week, which highlights the value of libraries, librarians and library workers.”

“Libraries today are more than repositories for books and other resources,” notes the ALA. “Often the heart of their communities, campuses or schools, libraries are deeply committed to the places where their patrons live, work and study. Libraries are trusted places where everyone in the community can gather to reconnect and reengage with each other to enrich and shape the community and address local issues.”

Here’s this year’s schedule of events for National Library Week:

National D.E.A.R. Day – National Drop Everything and Read Day – April 12 

Every year, D.E.A.R. takes place on April 12, to commemorate Beverly Cleary’s birthday. Cleary is the author of Ramona Quimby, Age 8, which gives a shoutout to Drop Everything and Read. I love the idea that there’s a day dedicated to putting aside everything else and encouraging individuals to read and families to read together. D.E.A.R. Day is sponsored by the National Education Association, the PTA and the Association for Library Service to Children, among many others. Looking for an excuse to read? This is it!

National Library Workers Day – April 16

Today is all about recognizing those often-unsung heroes: your local library staff. Don’t forget to honor your friendly neighborhood librarian by visiting the NLWD website and using the Submit a Star feature!

National Bookmobile Day – April 17

Bookmobiles have made a difference in the lives of generations of people in far-flung communities, as well as the young and elderly. Honor the efforts of these dedicated library volunteers who work so hard to enrich lives through reading.

Celebrate Teen Literature Day – April 18

There’s a vibrant and burgeoning Young Adult books genre, and Teen Literature Day is just the opportunity to support libraries as the help connect teens with books, DVDs and digital resources to share the love of reading. Learn more at the Young Adult Library Services Association wiki.

This Is Teen Read Week, Oct. 14 – 20

The only trouble with being a teen, besides just about everything, is that there’s a tendency to roll one’s eyes at things organized by adults with good intentions around your age group. Especially when the actual word “teen” is invoked people of that demographic tend to get a bit stroppy.

The problem, I think, is not so much the effort put into such things as the drastic differences within the age group – between 13 and 19 (middle school and college), a lot of changing and trying things on for size and growing out of things takes place. Most of it completely out of your control, or so it seems. And so older members may feel this teen stuff isn’t for them.

The good news is reading breaks all those boundaries.

All this to say a theme week kicks off today and continues through Oct. 20, called “It Came from the Library…Dare to Read for the Fun of It,” and it’s about celebrating reading for fun and taking advantage of the many forms of books and content offered at libraries – from ebooks to zines to graphic novels and old-fangled print versions.

Sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association, the earnestly named Teen Read Week is now a teenager itself at 14. Libraries offer special events for teens to encourage reading and the use of library resources for fun, study and exposure to new worlds and ideas.

For parents, aunts, uncles, godparents, family friends, teachers and anyone else who has the great good fortune to spend time around humans of the teenage persuasion, the American Library Association reminds you that Teen Read Week is also an opportunity to let libraries, schools, booksellers, and other community organizations know how you feel about the need to support programs and services for teens.

There’s a forum, videos, a badge, a blog, event calendars and tons more resources and information on the Teen Read Week website.

What are/were the favorite books of your teen years?

It’s National Library Week!

Friends of the blog know I’m a library geek, so it should come as no surprise that I’m thrilled to be recognizing National Library Week, which takes place April 8 – 14.

This is National Library Week’s 54th year, and the theme is “You belong @ your library.” Whether you’re as passionate about libraries as I am or haven’t set foot in your local since books went digital, this week offers a great excuse to visit and rediscover all the resources available there. (See calendar of activities below.) You’ll be amazed!

“The strength of libraries has always been the diversity of their collections and commitment to serving all people,” notes the American Library Association in its press release about National Library Week.

“Today’s libraries help level the playing field by making both print and digital information affordable, available and accessible to all people. Libraries provide cultural heritage and genealogical collections, materials in print and electronic formats, job-seeking resources, English as second language and citizenship classes, and many other creative and resourceful programs.”

Here’s what’ll be happening at many libraries across the country this week:

Tuesday, April 10 – National Library Workers Day
You may want to refrain from hugging your local librarian (unless you know her or him very well), but today is all about recognizing the valuable contributions made by your local library workers. In fact, at the NLWD website, there’s a lovely feature called Submit a Star, where you can honor your hometown librarians!

Wednesday, April 11 – National Bookmobile Day
Bookmobiles have meant the difference between literacy and illiteracy, enrichment and stagnation, in many far-flung communities where residents don’t live near or can’t access the library. Honor the efforts of these dedicated library volunteers today.

For more on bookmobiles, check out this NPR story, “The Final Chapter for a Trusty Bookmobile,” about a Vermont community’s efforts to keep the reading rolling.

Drop Everything and Read DayThursday, April 12 – National Drop Everything and Read Day and Support Teen Literature Day
How cool is it that there’s a day dedicated to putting aside everything else and encouraging families to read together in hopes that they’ll make it a regular habit? DEAR Day is sponsored by the National Education Association, the PTA and the Association for Library Service to Children, among many others.

The Young Adult Library Services Association is sponsoring events to promote teen literacy today, Support Teen Literature Day, and throughout the year. Find out how you can participate on the YALSA website.

Writing that inspired me this week:

“I followed her into the library. The pale light from our chamber below dissipated in the room, but I could still make out – my heart leapt at the sight – row after row, shelf above shelf, floor to ceiling, a city of books. Speck turned to me and asked, ‘Now, what shall we read first?’”
~ The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

Get Carded at Your Local (Library, That Is)

I have two public library cards: one for my hometown library on the east coast and one from the Los Angeles Public Library system (seen above), where I live and read most of the year.

This is Library Card Sign-up Month, sponsored by the American Library Association, which is reminding kids and parents during the back-to-school season that a library card is as important as a notebook, pencil, backpack and other study aids and supplies.

With the Internet and powerful online search engines at your beck and call, it’s tempting to think that something as noninteractive as a plastic library card couldn’t possibly be a gateway to exploring, learning and understanding. After all, the computer’s right there on the desk, why would you want to drive all the way to the library?

Still, whether you’re a first grader or a first baseman on a pro baseball team, a library card is your key to realms of knowledge unimagined. (It can even open those doors from the comfort of your own home, using your library’s website to access online resources.)

Three things a library card offers you that the Internet can’t:

The ability to browse. A-ha!, I hear you saying, Amazon lets me do the same thing. Yes, but not in the same way. Not remotely. No matter how young or old you are, may you never lose the sense of wonder that comes from browsing the stacks. Running your finger across the smooth cellophane dust jacket protectors. Letting it land on an intriguing volume just because the title, which you’ve never heard before, intrigues you – or because a sinewy serpent snakes its way from cover illustration to the spine. The thrill as you test the first words of the opening chapter, which is all mixed up with the musty smell of thumbed-over pages. What the Internet doesn’t yet let you do is stand amongst the richness of offerings, live and not virtual, and explore, discover, sink in.

Trained reference librarians. Search engine developers can parse all the algorithms they want, but they’ve yet to equal the wisdom that reference folks possess, and that’s because real knowledge isn’t a matter of crowd-sourcing. Librarians are trained to help you understand the context, select the information or data field, eliminate the noise and bias in the algorithm, in order to find the right sources. If you’re a first grader that probably won’t mean much to you, but when you’re doing your first oral report on mammals, you’ll want to ask a librarian to help you locate the right books, articles and pictures – without weighing down your backpack with unnecessary reference material.

No cost! So far, access to the Internet still requires monthly payment to an ISP. Unless you log on at the library.

If you’ve already got a library card, go out and celebrate it this month with a visit to your local. If you don’t, now’s the time to treat yourself to a world of great reading (and free DVD and CD borrowing and a host of online and download-able resources).

Library Cards Are Very Photogenic

Got your library card? Anyone can celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month by posting a photo – posed with your card, of course – on the ALA Flickr page.