National Library Week is just around the corner. Celebrated April 7-13 and sponsored by the American Library Association, it includes publication of the “State of American Library Report.” In addition, the ALA encourages library supporters to share their stories of appreciation on their website at http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks/natlibraryweek.
National Library Week began in 1958. Today, urban and rural public libraries offer more than print collections, they connect people to digital reading and visual resources, showcase local art, music and history, and teach skills and classes.
Certainly the “library story” component of this week will be compelling, and the ALA does a wonderful job of providing opportunities to recognize library services year round. One example is this excerpt from the nominating essay for the ALA’s annual “I Love My Librarian Award”. Submitted by Trina Thompson on behalf of librarian Tim Ryan, of Rochester, New York, Ryan and 9 other librarians won the award in 2017:
I came to the library as a patron and as a single mother with 3 kids. I had just
left an abusive relationship and had nowhere else to go. I was without a home
or place to stay. My daughters were ages 5, 3, and 1 and I had no food to
give them. Mr. Ryan found me crying as I was sitting with my children in the
library. He approached me and asked what was wrong and if there was
anything he could do to help me.
And that’s exactly what he did. He reassured her, and gave her children food and water from the back of the library. He helped Trina find shelter, food, and medical services through the Department of Human Services. Step by step, he helped her gain computer and literacy skills, find an apartment and establish credit, find a job, and enroll in a nursing program at the local community college. Now a home-owner, she is finishing her Associate’s Degree, and wants to “…give back as much as possible that which Mr. Ryan and the Sully Branch Library gave to me.” (Read the full story at the ALA link, http://www.ilovelibraries.org/lovemylibrarian/2017/17winners).
Her story underscores the 2019 Library Week Theme, “Libraries = Strong Communities” by emphasizing how Tim Ryan “…treats everyone as a human being that deserves respect and compassion. He understands the needs of our community and the people who reside within it.”
Locally, watch for a special promotion on WLEX TV-18 during National Library Week. Celebrating 7 local libraries, including SCPL, it references a new link (bluegrasslibraries.org) for more information. During planning meetings for this joint project, staff members shared their stories about the strengths and needs of their communities. While each county library is different, they share one thing in common, dedicated staff like Mr. Ryan, who mean it when they ask, “How can I help you?” Both a challenge and call to action, we are committed to our public service mission to ensure our communities prosper and thrive.