This Wednesday, April 16, is National Librarian Day and the whole week (April 13-19) is National Library Week. If you know any librarians personally, give them a hug – or at least a thank you card and a smile – to show your appreciation for the work they do.
The National Librarian Day holiday honors librarians from coast to coast for their service and their knowledge. If you’ve ever needed the services of librarians to find the right book or material, then you know how true the words of English author Neil Gaiman are: “Google can bring you back a hundred-thousand answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”
Put another way, librarians are living proof that the computer is not yet ready to take over the world. While a library computer database can sift and filter broadly, they are no match for a librarian’s ability to understand the context of your more complex research needs.
As well, librarians are the masters of the Dewey decimal system – the process that libraries use to determine where on the shelves books should go. As a result, librarians can often save you time when you have little to spare, locating exactly what you need in record time.
And if your librarians are like most that I’ve met, they are more than happy to help! “Librarians are the coolest people out there doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines,” Gaiman has also said. “And every time I get to encounter or work with librarians, I'm always impressed by their sheer awesomeness.”
But do librarians deserve their own day of recognition? Again, we turn to the words of author Gaiman who said, “A culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas. And without ideas, well, where are we?” If you concur, then do something special this Wednesday for your librarian.
Even if you don’t know a librarian personally, you can show appreciation via Twitter by “tweeting” about how the library has changed your life. By doing so with the hashtag #LivesChange, you’ll be adding your voice to those of all others who have been affected positively by a librarian. If the story of your enrichment from the deeds of a librarian cannot be told within the 140 character limitations of Twitter, you can add your story to the library story collection, where you can also read the encouraging, heartwarming, and sometimes humorous stories of others. If you like certain stories you read there, you can give them a nudge upwards in the story list by giving it a high rating.
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.
Today’s libraries are driven by the needs the community. Whether you’re looking for e-books, information on student loans or 24/7 homework help for your kids – your local library has the resources to meet your needs and those of the whole community.
If you haven’t been to your library recently, drop by and you’ll find that its role has grown over the years. Community-building connections are happening all the time at your library. From new moms connecting at story time to small business owners convening to make opportunities happen, to teens meeting up after school, the library helps foster all types of communities. Libraries have become trusted places where everyone in the community can gather to reconnect and reengage with each other to enrich and shape the community and address local issues.
In fact, did you know that librarians work with elected officials, small business owners, students, and the public at large to discover what their communities needs are and meet them? Whether through offering e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or those to support early literacy, librarians listen to the community they serve, and they respond.