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. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.
In addition, National Library Workers Day is celebrated the Tuesday of National Library Week (April 13, 2010), and is a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.
In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens’ organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee’s goals were ambitious. They ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing strong and happy family life.”
In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!”
National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship.
As you can tell from its history, National Library Week began as a way to encourage people to use their libraries and to read. However, who knew 52 years ago that libraries would become much more than a book warehouse. The Davenport Public Library does offer reading and literacy experiences for all ages, but we also offer computers, special events, community rooms, wi-fi internet access, and a range of services available to anyone, confidentially and without discrimination. To find out more about your library, visit www.davenportlibrary.com.
(Source: American Library Association – www.ala.org)