April 11, 2011

National Library Week: How to Celebrate?

National Library Week is here!  How to celebrate?  Here are just a few simple ideas: 

READ.  Parents, please notice I didn’t say, “read to your children.” That’s vital.  Do that more.  Fit it in to your everyday routine, and also fit it in, in non-routine ways.  But it’s also vital to let your children catch you reading to yourself!  This action models reading as a worthwhile pursuit.  Last year, I had a parent admit to me that her children thought she could not read—because they had never seen her do so!  Sadly, it would seem she has also not read to them within the span of their memory.  Do not let this happen to you!

GET A LIBRARY CARD.  If you have one, dust it off.  The best way to celebrate libraries is by using the ones you have.

TAKE A FRIEND TO THE LIBRARY. Maybe your friend does not have a library card.  You probably have friends who aren’t even aware of the locations of the local libraries.  Some people think they don’t have time, but do they have time for coffee?  Meet them for a coffee at the closest library café, and then take a stroll through the building.  Some people say they don’t like to read, don’t have time to read—but maybe they’ll actually see something they like.  Does your friend like TV?  You know, the library has quite a collection of book featuring TV characters, like Scooby-Doo and Spongebob Squarepants, Dexter and Paula Deen.

CHECK THE EVENTS CALENDAR.  Your local libraries have tons of events happening every month—storytimes, travelogues, author visits, puppet shows, movies, game days, even homework, legal, and tax help—synch your calendars!

TAKE YOUR LIBRARY CARD ONLINE.  Do NOT abandon your library building, but DO check out its website (you can even do so from inside the library itself—your computer or theirs)!  The library pays for all kinds of premium services, and then gives you free access—all you need is your library card.  You could get help finding a job, or starting a new business, buying a new car, repairing an older one, or learning a new language.  Check different library’s sites, because not every library has every resource.  You’ll be surprised what is open to you and the students in your house, for free!

JOIN THE FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY.  Please join.  The Friends of the Library are a vital lifeline in this financially-troubled time when layoffs are common & resources are stretched.  The Friends provide the funds that support library programs such as the annual Summer Reading Game and all of its amazing free performances.  They enrich the library at every turn, and libraries would be in dire straits indeed without these groups.  Join.  It’s cheap.  Shop at their book sales regularly.  You’ll be able to build your home library at a bargain rate.

EVANGELIZE.  The libraries need to be utilized by you, supported by you—and they need you to be their cheerleader!  Talk about what you are reading.  Talk about libraries.  Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper.  Write a letter to your elected representatives at every level.  Pick up or print out a flyer of the library’s family programs and hand a copy to your child’s teacher, put it up at the school office, bring it up at the PTA meeting.  Put one up on the bulletin board of the supermarket, coffee shop, ad infinitum.  The key to supporting and saving libraries is to have enough people who care to save them.  Most people don’t even know the range of programs available.  Most people spend more time at Target than they do at their local library.  Put a flyer up at Target.

COOKIES FOR YOUR LOCAL LIBRARIANS?  Well, that’s sweet, but using your library regularly, getting new people (and old friends) in, and supporting the Friends group—that is ever so much sweeter, and exponentially more sustaining.

Finally, and most importantly:

FORGET NATIONAL LIBRARY “WEEK.” Your library needs you all year long.  Your library cannot subsist on one weekly push, so keep coming in, keep utilizing the resources, and supporting them, and telling everyone about them!  Keep reading!

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