It’s National Library Week this week. Let’s talk about what that means exactly. According to the ALA’s National Library Day fact sheet, National Library Week was created to be a national observance by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1958. By its nature, the week is to be used as a time to celebrate all types of libraries, whether public, school, or academic library. All libraries are urged to participate in this observance, and to celebrate the contributions libraries make. I think every library user knows how much libraries really do contribute to our lives. (Hey I’m not just saying that because I’m a librarian…)
A fun story behind this national observance is that in the mid-1950’s, according to research used by the ALA, “Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizen’s organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee’s goals were ambitious. They ranged from ‘encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time’ to ‘improving incomes and health’ and developing a strong and happy family life.”
I giggle when I read the concern over the increased use of radios, televisions and musical instruments. Today there are smart phones, tablets (not the paper tablets from the ‘50’s!) DVR machines to record yet even more television shows, and this other contraption called the computer that are all used extensively by most Americans. As for Americans spending more time with musical instruments — I can’t see that it would be a bad thing?!
Today’s library is filled with people who have smart phones and devices to check out books in a very virtual way. We even (gasp) check out movies to our patrons! If the people from the 1950’s could have had a taste of today’s library, it would have been like the movie “Back to the Future.” They would be amazed at the vast technology – but disappointed that there is still no such thing as a hovercraft…
This year’s National Library theme is: “Unlimited possibilities @ your library®.”
Consider that an invitation to stop by BCL and say hi! Get a library card, attend a program, browse and read a book, check out a movie or find out about our ebooks to check out via your new reading contraption, now commonly known as a Kindle, iPad, or Nook. We’re adding lots of new books to our collection this month, too. There are literally “unlimited possibilities @ your library.” See you soon.