Celebrate Libraries and books, National Library Week 2011!
By Sam Johnson
A free public library . . .
Some would argue there is no institution
more important in America, or perhaps in the world.
I would agree.
Certainly, the public library has been in
the business of changing lives and improving the quality of life for the
citizens of our nation, state, and community for a long time.
To draw attention to this fact, and to
celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians, the
American Library Association (ALA) is calling on citizens in their communities
to celebrate National Library Week, April 10-16, 2011.
The Story of National Library Week:
National Library Week
was fist celebrated 1958.
In the mid-1950s, research
showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios,
televisions and musical instruments.
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
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. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed
full sponsorship, and National Library Week has been held annually ever since,
in celebration of our nation’s libraries and librarians of all types, including
public, school, academic, special collections, and private lending libraries.
This year the theme
is “Create Your Own Story @ Your Library.”
According to the
American Library Association, libraries are places for new beginnings. Whether you are getting your first
library card, learning new computer skills or planning a trip, the library is
the place where your story begins.
According to Molly
Raphael, president of ALA, “Every day, libraries across the country are helping
people create their own unique stories. Whether it is by opening a book and
exploring distant lands, or by learning how to use new technologies to find a
job, people at our library are creating new stories for themselves.”
This year ALA
encourages all community members to take advantage of the wonderful resources
at their local library to “Create Your Own Story @ The Library!”
Stories of Others Created @ The
"I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not
enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true
architecture, I got out of the public library. For an impoverished child whose
family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder
and achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to
charge through that door and make the most of it." -- Isaac Asimov, author
"When I was a kid and the other kids
were home watching Leave It to Beaver,
my father and stepmother were marching me off to the library." -- Oprah
Winfrey, talk-show host
"I used to go to the library all the
time when I was a kid. As a teenager, I got a book on how to write jokes
at the library, and that, in turn, launched my comedy career." -- Drew Carey, comedian
"My mother and my father were
illiterate immigrants from Russia. When I was a child they were constantly
amazed that I could go to a building and take a book on any subject. They
couldn’t believe this access to knowledge we have here in America."
--Kirk Douglas, actor
"The best of my education has come
from the public library... my tuition fee is a bus fare and once in a while,
five cents a day for an overdue book. You don't need to know very much to
start with, if you know the way to the public library. -- Lesley Conger
"I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my
arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls
they never knew they saved." -- Barbara Kingsolver, novelist
"My books are very few, but then the world
is before me - a library open to all - from which poverty of purse cannot
exclude me - in which the meanest and most paltry volume is sure to furnish
something to amuse, if not to instruct and improve."
-- Joseph Howe, writer,
"We Americans naively look at the
library as our birthright, often unaware that a free public library system is
far from universal. The Bill of Rights doesn't guarantee the freedom to read.
But the American library network hands this priceless gift to anyone who's
interested upon a silver platter." -- Helen Schary Motro, American Attorney
“If you have a garden and a library, you
have everything you need.” -- Cicero, poet
Visit your school or local library this coming week
and "Create Your Own Story @ The Library!"
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