This year’s National Library Week (NLW)—the 57th year the nation has celebrated its libraries—was held April 12–18 (midway through School Library Month). The week’s theme was Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library; its honorary chair was author David Baldacci.
NLW is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), which provides libraries with marketing collateral (e.g., posters, sample press releases, badges, and images for promotion on social media) and programming ideas to support local community events around the nation. This year’s sample proclamation (downloadable from the Sample Tools section of the NLW website) explains that:
- Libraries create potential and possibilities within their communities, campuses and schools.
- Libraries level the playing field for all who seek information and access to technologies.
- Libraries continuously grow and evolve in how they provide for the needs of every member of their communities.
- Libraries and librarians open up a world of possibilities through innovative STEAM programing, Makerspaces, job-seeking resources and the power of reading.
- Librarians are trained, tech-savvy professionals, providing technology training and access to downloadable content like e-books.
- Libraries support democracy and effect social change through their commitment to provide equitable access to information for all library users regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic status.
Throughout NLW each year, libraries make a special effort to promote what they do year-round. Days during the week are devoted to specific initiatives, such as:
- National Library Workers Day (Tuesday, April 14), which recognized all levels of workers in libraries, both paid and volunteer
- National Bookmobile Day (Wednesday, April 15), which celebrated the outreach efforts of libraries that send books to those who cannot get to a nearby physical facility
Libraries across the country participated in local and regional NLW events. Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library staffers created a fun video, “Check It Out,” based on Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Orange Public Library & History Center (along with Pogona Creative in association with Chapman University) released “Unread Book,” a parody of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” By using #nlw2015 on Twitter, libraries were able to show how they celebrated NLW in incredibly creative ways.
Vendors Play Their Part in the Celebrations
Publishers and database vendors help library advocacy efforts throughout the year, but especially during NLW. For example:
- Scholastic Library Publishing, a division of Scholastic, offered a $3,000 grant to support a single library’s public outreach efforts during NLW.
- EBSCO Information Services sponsored a drawing during NLW for library staffers to win prize bundles of a combination of the following books, depending on library type:
Gale is partnering with EveryLibrary on a media campaign about the value of libraries, with an emphasis on the support libraries and librarians provide to entrepreneurs and business startups. “The campaign, which will run through January 2016, will focus on driving awareness of these services, as well as the library’s role in the discovery of information and as big data enterprises, while simultaneously promoting the social-leveling role that libraries play in society.”
What’s next for ALA’s never-ending effort to advocate for libraries? In May, librarians from around the nation will converge on Washington, D.C., for National Library Legislative Day (NLLD). Participants are encouraged to attend Briefing Day (May 4) so they can learn about the “hot issues affecting libraries in Congress.” The briefing sessions are followed by a reception with members of Congress and their staffers. On May 5, state coordinators will assist librarians in meeting with legislators.
In 2016, National Library Week will be celebrated April 10–16.