Monday, April 13, 2009

National Library Week

April 12 through the 18th is 2009 National Library Week! We are very excited to celebrate libraries of all kinds and share information about our own Wisconsin’s Water Library. This year’s theme is Worlds Connect @ your library.

Our posts this week will highlight aspects of Wisconsin's Water Library or libraries around the World. We would like to start by explaining the history of National Library Week and the importance of the State of American Libraries report that was issued today.

National Library Week 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 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.

State of the American Libraries Report
Every year a report is published on the State of the American Libraries, in order to acknowledge and support the efforts of the libraries nationwide. Especially in struggling times such as these, it presents a need for the libraries and their importance for lifelong learning and an educated society.