Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Everyone Belongs At The Library! (National Library Week 2012)

The best description of a library it is a place where everyone is welcomed. It is one of the few place where kids and older folks mingle together on a Saturday afternoon and most everyone is content. A librarian on an Internet discussion forum once commented the the library is the community's living room. Yes, it is that and so much more. This year's theme for National Library Week is You belong at the Library. With this in mind where is the one place where everyone feels they belong? At their schools, on the playground, and with their families. Come to think of it, libraries are the perfect home away from oasis. It is the place where there is something for everyone. That is a very tall order to fill, but libraries have managed this task for years. Almost flawlessly. Hey, there are just somethings that are beyond human control. This celebration of libraries comes every year and it is a reminder for every library user, librarian and library administrator, that libraries are an essential part of every day life. This week should also remind library enthusiasts to take a stand and contact their Congressman and Senator to remind them that the library is important to them and their community. If there are no voices to declare the significant role of libraries. , than the silence will be interrupted by library's doors slamming shut for good. That can not happen. The hardest part of any endeavor is getting started. Librarians know this all to well, especially when it comes to working with patrons and asking them to get involved in letter writing campaigns to lawmakers. Quite frankly, some patrons would prefer a root canal than contacting politicians. It would go without saying that most politicians would prefer that the patrons go for the root canal instead of making them read one more letter. The obvious solution is to invite lawmaker to the library so that they can see for themselves how citizens use and enjoy the library. Everyone is happy. Lawmakers have the perfect opportunity to meet and greet the public. The patrons have the perfect opportunity to express their support for the library. It's a win win situation. Many libraries have used this week as an event to bring local officials and citizens together. Others used this week as an opportunity to reach out to old patrons and find new library fans. Both ways of celebrating is good. However, it is important to keep in mind that it's okay to continue the celebrating after the week is over. Librarians' can keep the spirit of "You Belong" at the library when promoting library programs. Why not personalize it when inviting patrons and lawmakers to library events, such as fundraising. The attention getting line could read, "Congressman Brown belongs @ the library" or "Ms. Smith and baby Jessica belong @ the Library." Who could not respond to a warm invite like that. Everyone wants a place where they can call their home, their oasis. Perhaps next year's theme could be "Escape to the Library."
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