National Library Week is coming right up, celebrated this year April 7-13 with the theme Libraries = Strong Communities. As you are no doubt aware, since 1958, the American Library Association has set aside this special week every year in April in order to highlight library efforts throughout the nation. Melinda Gates chairs the week this year.
As part of National Library Week’s festivities, the State of America’s Library Report will be released and will include the Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2018, as published annually by the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Also that week, on Tuesday, April 9, National Library Workers Day (NLWD) is celebrated and provides an opportunity to recognize the hard work of all library employees. Wednesday, April 10 is National Bookmobile Day and Thursday, April 11 is Take Action for Libraries Day.
Naturally, having a week dedicated to highlighting our efforts on a national scale provides enumerable opportunities for advocacy. The week is, in and of itself, a form of advocacy. Take Action for Libraries Day, as an obvious example, includes the hashtag #MyLibraryMyStory which is an easy way to get patrons with children to tell a story about how bringing families to the library positively impacts their lives. Similarly, NLWD allows us to nominate library workers as “stars” (head to ala-apa.org/nlwd) which would be a great way to promote librarians and other staff on social media. Maddie, a 4 ½ year old from Erie, Pennsylvania says, “Amos is a star because he is funny and I like him alot [sic].”
There are plenty of opportunities to make use of this special week and advocate for our profession. For ideas, free graphics and other information, be sure to check out the toolkit on ALA’s website: www.ala.org/conferencesevents/national-library-week-tools
Joel Shoemaker is a member of the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee. He currently resides in Metamora, IL and is the Library Director for the Illinois Prairie District Public Library.
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: V. Outreach and Advocacy.