This week libraries are celebrating National Library Week, a week of national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) as well as libraries across the country. The week celebrates the contributions made by our libraries and library workers, as well as promoting library use and support. This year’s National Library Week marks the 60th anniversary of the event, first sponsored in 1958.
The week began in the 1950s when research indicated that Americans were investing more in new mediums of entertainment (radio, television) while book sales were in decline. Out of concern that Americans were reading less, the ALA and American Book Publishers formed the National Book Committee whose goals ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing a strong and happy family life.” On the idea that people needed motivation to read and support the use of libraries, the committee planned the first National Library Week with the theme “Wake Up and Read!”
The theme of this year’s week is “Libraries Lead”, a reminder that “libraries of all types serve as community compasses that lead users to endless opportunities for community engagement, enrichment, and development.” The honorary chair is Misty Copeland, bestselling author and American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer, who was chosen for her efforts leading social change through her writing and teaching.
As we celebrate National Library Week, be sure to visit our staff picks on display by the main desk—and as always, items on display are available for checkout!