National Library Week kicked off officially yesterday, April 10th. At the beginning of any week's celebration, be it National Pie Week or National Fire Prevention week, there must be the obligatory statistics and weird facts to share about the week's topic. Libraries are not from weird facts. Some may come as a surprise, while others might generate a yawn or two. However, if you love libraries these facts will not seem boring at all. In fact, it offers a shot of morale for those who sit behind the reference and circulation desk or conduct storytimes. In no particular order are ten wonderful facts about libraries.
1. The Library of Congress, which was established in the 1800's, is the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation.
2. The largest library in the world is the Library of Congress. Care to guess how may miles of bookshelves there are in this historic building? If your guess is 745 miles, you are correct.
3. There are more library cardholders than VISA card holders. It must be because libraries help families of all sizes save money.
4. Who do you think would have more outlets McDonald's or public libraries? If you guessed that it was the all familiar Golden Arches, you would be wrong. It's actually, the blue and white library signs that point to the many library outlets.
5. The world's "greatest lover" Giacomo Casanova spent the latter part of his life as a librarian for Count Waldstein of Bohemia.
6 Children's materials account for 35% of all circulated transaction in US public libraries.
7. During his undergrad years, Edgar Hoover supported himself by working nights at the Library of Congress.
8. It's common knowledge that Melvil Dewey invented the Dewey Decimal System which is still in use in many public libraries today. Mr. Dewey was a true pioneer in the field of librarianship. He served as the head librarian for Columbia University for five years, and later became the director of the New York State Library.
9. Outside the New York Public Library are two library statues whose names are Patience and Fortitude.
10. What book holds the record for being the book most often stolen form the Public Library?
Guinness Book of Records, of course!
At the next social gathering, perhaps its a library fundraiser, enlighten your friends with library trivia. Who knows? it might even earn you a spot at the head table.