Off the Shelf: April Brings Spring Showers and National Library Week

By Sharon Saye on March 29, 2017 from Off the Shelf via

Spring is finally here (or, perhaps, summer considering the weekend’s temperatures) and when April arrives so does National Library Week from April 9th-15th.  It is a time to recognize the contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers as well as promote library use and support.  From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all.  The theme for 2017 is “Libraries Transform.” 
National Library Week was first celebrated in 1958 and is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country.   All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.  Olympic soccer gold medalist and World Cup champion Julie Foudy will serve as this year’s National Library Week Honorary Chair. 
In the mid-1950s, research showed that 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 citizens’ 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 strong and happy family life."
In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme "Wake Up and Read!"  National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration in 1974.
The entire week is fine-free at your area libraries.  This is an opportunity to return overdue items to your library without a charge.  Also, beginning during National Library Week, this library will change its policy on DVDs and Blu-Rays no longer charging a fee of $1.00.  Borrowers are still limited to 10 discs at a time and there is still a $1.00 per day late fee, but the collection numbers over 5,000 with new items added every week.

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