National Library Week (April 4 – 10, 2021) is a time to celebrate our nation’s libraries, library workers’ contributions and promote library use and support. This year’s them is “Welcome to Your Library.” First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and observed in libraries across the country each April. This blog will look at highlights found from the ALA’s dedicated page(s) for National Library Week. Read to the end to discover all the ways in which libraries are able to help anyone in their communities.
Celebration of Library Workers’ Contributions on April 6th
Library staff play an invaluable role in supporting their communities both in person and virtually as the world continues to fight COVID-19. In times of crisis, libraries of all types and their workers serve millions of library users in need of free access to WiFi, eBooks, accurate information, and digital social services.
On April 6, 2021, the nation will celebrate National Library Workers Day (NLWD), a time to recognize library staff members for their public service contributions in transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning.
The ALA Allied Professionals Association (ALA-APA) invites library advocates, patrons, and staff to show their support of our nation’s library workers by posting words of encouragement and appreciation for their local library stars at http://bit.ly/librarystar. Academic, public, special, school library patrons can “Submit a Star” by providing a brief testimonial about a favorite library employee. Patrons are welcome to share stories about how library staff has an impact on their lives or community. Each testimonial will appear in ALA-APA’s “Galaxy of Stars.” Library staff and the general public can also share well wishes over their social media channels with the hashtag #NLWD21 or post messages to the National Library Workers Day Facebook page.
National Library Outreach Day on April 7th
Libraries across the country will observe National Library Outreach Day on April 7, 2021. Formerly known as National Bookmobile Day, communities will celebrate the invaluable role library professionals and libraries continuously play in bringing library services to those in need.
The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS), and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) agreed to rebrand National Bookmobile Day in recognition of all that outreach library professional do within their communities.
Library services surpass bricks and mortar, as library professionals continue to adapt and develop innovative ways to deliver library materials and services that transform lives and support lifelong learning. Whether bookmobile, outreach van, book bike, senior services, school services, library workers go above and beyond to ensure that marginalized, underserved populations and all community members have access to library services.
“During COVID-19, library outreach workers continue to provide essential resources and services to their communities,” said David Kelsey, president, ABOS. “Whether providing free Wi-Fi in mobile libraries, providing virtual programming and storytimes, calling seniors in isolation, or distributing food and clothing, outreach workers are there to meet patrons and their communities.”
During the day, libraries will participate in a Virtual Bookmobile Parade and post to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #LibraryOutreachDay. ALA will highlight examples of innovation over its social media channels and on its Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) blog, Intersections.
Quotable Facts About America’s Libraries
The following facts are found from a 2019 ALA pdf entitled “Quotable Facts About America’s Libraries – January 2019.”
- The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 167 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves, which would span roughly the distance from The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to Cape Canaveral, Florida.
- Libraries play a critical role in the happiness of Americans. Communities that spend more on libraries, parks and highways are shown to support the well-being of community members.
- Americans go to public libraries more often than they go to the movies.
- There are more public libraries than Starbucks in the U.S. – a total of 16,568, including branches. Nearly 100% of public libraries provide Wi-Fi and have no-fee access to computers.
- There were 113 million attendees at public library programs in 2016, more than all Major League Baseball, National Football League, and NBA games combined. That’s 16.5 million more than in 2013.
- Students in high-poverty schools are almost twice as likely to graduate when the school library is staffed with a certified school librarian.
Libraries strengthen local economies.
- 84% of libraries offer technology training to patrons in computer software use;
- 76.8% of libraries provide online health resources and 60% offer programs to help Americans identify health insurance resources and get better informed on health topics;
- 73.1% of libraries provide programs that assist individuals apply for jobs, create resumes, and prepare for interviews;
- 97% of libraries help people complete online government forms
Libraries create healthier communities.
- 77% of libraries offer online health resources
- 59% provide programs on finding health insurance
- 58% provide programs to help people find and evaluate health information
- 23% offer fitness classes
Libraries are the place for lifelong learning.
- 95% provide online homework assistance
- 95% offer summer reading programs for children
Library access equals opportunity.
- 100% of public libraries offer access to the Internet
- 98% of public libraries offer free Wifi
- 90% help patrons with basic Internet skills
- 97% help people complete online government forms
- 9 out of 10 libraries offer access to e-books
*Blog banner reproduced with permission from the ALA National Library Week Press Kit