It’s National Library Week! As a librarian, of course I am going to encourage everyone to visit their library this week and share the love with friends and family. The American Library Association is also recognizing several other areas of librarianship during the week with special events:
- April – School Library Month
- Wednesday, April 4 – Wednesday, April 11 – National Library Week Six Word Story Contest
- Monday, April 9 – 2012 State of America’s Report released
- Tuesday, April 10 – National Library Workers Day
- Wednesday, April 11 – National Bookmobile Day
- Thursday, April 12 – Support Teen Literature Day
Aside from loving books, reading, stories, the written word, and being a librarian, etc., I would not be able to call myself a bibliophile without being a library patron. Many would argue I’m a bibliomaniac, which is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as someone with an extreme preoccupation of collecting or admiring books. Yep, that sounds like me.
When I tell people I am a librarian and I went to graduate school to become a librarian, I often get that inquisitive look back with the question, “what did you learn?” or “I don’t read” or “I haven’t been the library in years.”
If you haven’t been to a library in years, months, weeks, days, hours, go and take a 30 minute visit this week! Not only are you positively supporting your city services and seeing your tax dollars be used for great use, you are telling the world that libraries matter! It is more than just a building with books. You say you don’t read but do you watch movies? Check out a DVD for free. Are you doing genealogy research about your family? Talk to the reference librarian for better resources than just Google and learn how to effectively use Ancestry.com. Many libraries even have subscriptions to sites like Ancestry.com that you can access with your library card. Do you have children and want to help them make friends or find activities other than homework? Bring them to storytimes, playtimes, craft sessions, video gaming programs and more for free.
The library is also a place that is no longer managed by the stuffy, old, grumpy lady with her hair in a bun and ugly shoes and glasses. That’s quite a bit of negative adjectives to describe such a person, and it’s unfortunate so many people still associate the library with this image. Most likely, it’s because of a bad experience they had while in school and so never went back to the place. So you say, you don’t read and haven’t been to a library in years. Could it be because you were one of these kids? Hopefully most of the libraries in your area have moved to a friendlier, warmer, and more inviting atmosphere with librarians who know their ‘stuff’ and have a passion for helping people embrace their inner bibliophile. It probably wouldn’t hurt if they have really cool glasses and trendy shoes.
Why do I love libraries? I love to read. I love to explore. For bibliophiles like myself, I love going to the library and just wander through the non-fiction stacks looking at the titles. Dewey Decimal is a great invention because it organizes subjects according to interest. Yes, libraries still use Dewey Decimal, mostly for non-fiction, and I hope they continue with this grand tradition because it works! If I had a dog, I would probably name him Dewey. I absolutely love the wander, it helps me dig deeper into topics I may have thought about but never really explored. In fiction, the wander is a little tougher for me because I want to read everything on the shelves so I tend to get lost.
Why do I love libraries? I love to bring my laptop and surf the internet, perhaps do some writing or reading in a completely different environment than the coffee shop or my living room. It’s quiet, but not annoyingly silent, with just enough distractions. People are usually friendly and I have unofficially joined the ‘reading room newspaper’ club at my local library.
Why do I love libraries? I love that such a simple concept became such a unique place in our world where you are granted permission based on the honor system to borrow books, movies, music, and the internet.
Why do I love libraries? I love that my local library is a place only 5-10 minutes from my house. I love that I can ride my bike there or drive. I love that it is the best way I can ‘go local’ in every sense of the word.
Why do I love libraries? Somehow it became trendy, popular, and cool to be a nerd. I love libraries because I can embrace my inner nerd. I can admit to reading the encyclopedia at home when I was a kid because I had read everything else we owned. I think we are all nerds at some point in our lives and the library is the best place where we can all just be ourselves with no judgements and no apologies for what we enjoy.
Embrace your inner bibliophile. Embrace your inner nerd. Embrace what makes you YOU and check out your local library this week. Help celebrate National Library Week with one small visit, and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. I would love to hear why you love libraries in the comments!