National Library Week

Hey all, Dani here.

I’m working as hard as I can on Project Death: Redemption, the third book in my Project Death series, for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. But I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about a literary celebration going on right now that I think book lovers everywhere should be involved with right now.

Books and literacy are super important to me. As if that statement is not enough, I went to college and earned a B.A. in English Literature then continued on to earn a Master’s in Library and Information Science. Plus, I’m sure you guys have read my posts on my being a bibliophile and a book hoarder. (Okay, I technically prefer the term book dragon; it sounds so much cooler).

Anyway, this week–April 10 thru April 16–is National Library Week, an observance in the United States that is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA). It was first sponsored in 1958, and has been celebrated every April since then.

The point of National Library Week is to celebrate what libraries provide to us, and sometimes even more importantly, to celebrate the librarians who are there to promote library use and provide support for a variety of awesome services at the library. This celebration includes all types of libraries: school, public, academic, and specialty libraries (such as law libraries, medical libraries, presidential libraries, etc).

Before I delve any further into actual events being held to honor libraries and librarians, let me first mention a few awesome books I have read that are set in or around libraries, or feature awesome librarians.

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First, Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine. This is the first book in The Great Library series, which is set in a world where the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed and has instead become the dominant power of the world. Seriously, the Great Library controls the flow of knowledge everywhere and restricts what people are allowed to have access to. Owning personal copies of printed books is illegal, so naturally there is a black market for such items. And the printing press was never created, but there are devices quite similar to e-readers that do exist. It is an amazing story, and I am counting down the days until the sequel, Paper and Fire, is released.

Next up is Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston. In this cute modern adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, main character Addie Preston dreams of being a full-fledged librarian, but then her dream job is taken away by arrogant Blake Hansen. Then Addie learns that there are plans to tear down her library to build a larger facility. Complications spring up, including her attraction to Blake, and it was fun to follow their story to its conclusion. While it is a quick read and mostly light-hearted, it does highlight an issue libraries face today with budgetary and operational costs and restrictions, so I highly recommend it.

Then we have one of my favorite books, Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines. It is the first of a four book series that follows Isaac Vainio, who works at a library in Michigan and secretly catalogs books based on their magical potential. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that Isaac is a Libriomancer, or a person who can literally reach into a book and pull out an item from it…like Excalibur or the poisoned apple of Snow White. As a book lover I cannot even explain how many times I have wished that I could reach into a book and pull something out, or better just jumped into the book for a quick adventure. Either way this is an amazing series for bibliophiles.

Finally I will mention a non-fiction book: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron. This book made me cry, much in the same way that stuff like Marley & Me or Old Yeller will make a person cry. The book really begins when librarian Vicki Myron goes to the book drop of the library in Spencer, Iowa, after the coldest night of the year, and finds a tiny kitten stuffed into the book drop. Vicki nurses the kitten back to health and soon he becomes a fixture at the library, even being given the name Dewey. He was the library cat there for the next nineteen years and it is an extremely touching story.

Obviously there are so many books that feature libraries, librarians, or museums/archives. I can also name some awesome librarians from television shows (the most awesome being Giles from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”) When it comes to books I can also mention how many times Hermione goes to the library in the Harry Potter series, or how about how knowledgeable and studious Sydney Sage is in both the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series. And of course, don’t forget Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code.

Books, libraries, and librarians are fountains of knowledge, and it’s only right to take some time to celebrate them. Speaking of that:

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Libraries across the nation will be putting on programs and holding events to celebrate this year’s theme for National Library Week, which is “Libraries Transform,” so you may want to check with your local libraries to see if anything is going on there. But there are a few celebrations I’ll highlight now.

Yesterday, Monday, April 11, the State of America’s Libraries Report was released, and with that is a list of the Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2015. The ALA’s site includes past lists of challenged books, which can really highlight what book’s people seem to think need to be banned from the library. I’ll probably have a lot more to say about the topic of censorship when we get to Banned Books Week in September.

Today, April 12, is National Library Workers Day, to honor the library staff, users, administrators, and Friends of the Library, who make valuable contributions throughout the year. So, really, today is the perfect day to go to your library and tell your librarians how amazing they are.

Finally, tomorrow, April 13 is National Bookmobile Day, which celebrates the contributions of bookmobiles to communities. Bookmobiles are great because it is a wonderful way to reach out and provide library services to people who may not be able to get to a local public library.

If you want to follow along with National Library Week on social media, you can go to Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr and find all sorts of awesomeness. Just search for #NLW16 or #LibrariesTransform.

You can also find more information on libraries by going to the ALA Web site, or visiting ilovelibraries.org

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