The theme for National Library Week (April 4-10, 2021), “Welcome to Your Library,” promotes the idea that libraries extend far beyond the four walls of a building – and that everyone is welcome to use their services. During the pandemic libraries have been going above and beyond to adapt to our changing world by expanding their resources and continuing to meet the needs of their users. Whether people visit in person or virtually, libraries offer opportunities for everyone to explore new worlds and become their best selves through access to technology, multimedia content, and educational programs.
Almost every day this week celebrates some aspect of libraries and the people who work in them.
What is your favorite thing to do in a library? Has your library reopened? Have you used your library during the Pandemic?
Libraries as Makerspaces play a vital role during the Coronavirus epidemic.
What you are probably expecting:
online journals and newspaper
online activities like story hour, writing classes, or book clubs
For an example of an online Australian Library click here.
What you are probably not expecting was libraries putting their 3D printers to use making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospitals and other first responders.
I first discovered this from reading an American Library Association article on the Monterey Country Public Library making N-95 masks. From the little I’ve learned about these masks: 1) There are in very short supply and 2) They are some of the most needed masks. So this was a very big deal.
The Monterey County (Calif.) Free Libraries’ two 3D printers are being used to produce protective N95 masks while all of its branches are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. The two printers are producing the hard plastic masks around the clock to support first responders and medical professionals who are dealing with the pandemic’s ongoing surge in cases. Each mask takes just over three hours to make and is designed to be worn multiple times by the same person. “We know there is a need for these, so my team tested the masks to pick the best pattern and materials and worked out the bugs before starting the printing work,” Library Director Hillary Theyer said….
Bay City News, San Francisco, Apr. 3
From a webex sponsored by the American Librarian Association,
I have found out that public and academic libraries have been making masks from the Toronto Public Library in Canada to Waterloo Public Library in Iowa for hospitals, fire departments, and other agencies. Different libraries are handling this in different ways. One librarian has taken the library’s 3-D printer home to make parts of face masks at home. The Toronto Library transferred it’s 3D printers to the hospital so the hospital could make the masks on site. In Monterey, the two 3D printers “located in Soledad and Greenfield Branches and have been moved to the county surplus warehouse where the printing is taking place.”
Libraries that are doing this face several issues:
Making masks that are up to code.
Coordinating with an agency that agrees to use the mask
Facing future legal ramifications
Maintaining adequate supplies to continue producing the masks.
Locating suitable places to produce and assemble masks if the library is closed.
Paying for mask production.
Deciding what to do with the 3D printers after the library re-opens.
April is School Library Month. School Library Month is the American Association of School Librarians’ celebration of school librarians and school libraries. Every April school librarians are encouraged to host activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school libraries play in transforming learning.
School closures have made celebrating School Library Month a virtual experience. Things that school librarians may have been doing include:
Helping teachers prepare syllabi
Providing as many online resources as possible
Networking with public libraries to share resources and inform their students on what is available to them
Hosting a virtual story hour or providing a recommended reading list
Encouraging their students to use the library when school resumes
April is also National Poetry Month. I’ve been writing and publishing a poem a day–so far I’ve got poems for the first half of the month. How can you celebrate National Poetry Month?
April 10 was National Sibling Day. Some siblings have co-written books; others have written books independently. Famous writing siblings include the Bronte sisters and Jacob and Wilhlem Grimm of Grimm’s Fairy Tails. Pauline Esther Friedman and Esther Pauline Friedman (also known as Dear Abby and Ann Landers) were famous identical twins and advice columnists.
is April 19-25.
The theme for National Library Week (NLW) 2020, “Find your place at the library,” was chosen before the emergence of the global pandemic. To acknowledge our altered landscape, ALA flipped the script a bit on the theme. “Find the library at your place” highlights how libraries are offering virtual services and digital content their communities need now more than ever.
National Library Workers Day is April 21.
National Library Workers Day was first celebrated in 2004. It was started as a way to raise support for better benefits and salaries at a time when they had been stagnant for years. National Library Workers Day Continues to promote increased benefits and wages for the services provided by library workers every day.
The month ends with Preservation Week, April 28-May 2.
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
When I volunteered at the University City Branch of the San Diego Public Library, I got to interview several people for the Veteran’s History Project. My practice interview was with my own husband. I also got to interview veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and cold war veterans. It was a fascinating experience.
National Library Week was first celebrated March 16-22, 1958. To read more about the history of National Library Week, click here. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Libraries Lead.”
Public Libraries have been called the People’s University since Alvin Johnson made the argument in 1938. Today polls still show support for public libraries. “A new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from fall 2016 finds that 53% of Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 at the time) say they used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months. That compares with 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 36% of those in the Silent Generation. (It is worth noting that the question wording specifically focused on use of public libraries, not on-campus academic libraries.)”
Although books of all kinds (print, audio, online) are still important, libraries are shifting away from places where you come to check items out. Libraries are also places to meet, to attend programs from preschool story hour to senior zumba, to learn how to make things on a 3-D printer, to have access to services from mental health to veteran’s outreach to tax assistance.
Do you use your public library? Why or why not? If you do use your public library, what do you use it for? Join in the conversation and share why you like/don’t like your public library.