As many Americans continue to pinch pennies, bookmobile use has become more popular than ever. Bookmobiles bring a wealth of resources to users wherever they are, and on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 communities across America will celebrate our nation’s bookmobiles and the vital services they provide during National Bookmobile Day @ your library.
Celebrated during National Library Week (April 8 – 14), National Bookmobile Day recognizes and celebrates the role of bookmobiles and direct-delivery outreach services in fulfilling the mission of libraries. An integral and vital part of library service in the United States for over 100 years, bookmobiles provide access to information and technology and supply resources for life-long learning to Americans of all walks of life.
National Bookmobile Day also offers an opportunity for bookmobile fans to make their support known—through thanking bookmobile staff, writing a letter or e-mail to their libraries or voicing their support to community leaders.
Bookmobiles, like libraries, offer free access to the latest technology and materials to users of all ages. By offering the same quality services available in libraries, patrons can search the Web, take a computer class, participate in resume workshops, listen to preschool story hours or check out books and DVDs.
“In times of economic hardship, Americans turn to – and depend on – their libraries and librarians,” said ALA President Molly Raphael. “Bookmobiles ensure that while communities are in critical need of library services, everyone has access, no matter where they are – rural areas, cities or suburbs.”
Bookmobiles bring services where libraries can’t go, enabling library systems to reach and serve isolated communities and provide service to children, disabled adults, older adults, people with health issues and those who lack or cannot afford transportation.
Not only do they visit neighborhood stops and schools, but they also serve day care centers, elementary and high schools, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, prisons and individual residences for home delivery.
Submitted by Jennifer Petersen, Public Information Office
National Library Workers Day is April 10, a day in which communities across the U.S. will recognize the contributions made by all library workers – including librarians, support staff and others who make library services possible.
Celebrated on the Tuesday of National Library Week (April 8-14, 2012), National Library Workers Day is sponsored by the ALA-APA, an organization that manages certification programs for library employees and advocates for better salaries and status for the library workforce, is the sponsor of National Library Workers Day. The day’s theme is “Libraries Work Because We Do!”
“Library workers play a vital role in helping patrons succeed in a digital world,” said Lorelle Swader, director of the ALA-APA. “From computer classes for seniors to resume workshops for job-seekers to assisting entrepreneurs with research, library employees are an invaluable asset to any community and National Library Workers Day is great way to recognize them for it.”
As more employers and government agencies provide information exclusively in a digital format, communities rely on public library staff and technology services more than ever. According to the American Library Association’s 2010-2011 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study, more than 72 percent of libraries report that library staff helped patrons complete online job applications. In fact, an estimated 300,000 people receive job-seeking help at public libraries each day.
Libraries don’t just offer the hardware, but also offer the expertise of librarians in helping teach their patrons how to use the Internet and find the information they need quickly. For example, during a typical week, academic libraries had more than 31 million searches in electronic databases, answered more than 469,000 reference questions, and made more than 12,000 group presentations attended by more than 219,000 students and faculty (ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics 2010).
Library patrons are encouraged to nominate “star” library employees for public recognition on the National Library Workers Day Website. Anyone may nominate a “Star” library worker or team for creativity, enthusiasm, customer service or that special something they add to a library. Stars can be anyone - students, workers or supervisors.
Submitted by Jennifer Petersen, Public Information Office
I spent ten years writing the books “Heroes for My Daughter” and “Heroes for My Son,” to give my children examples of inspiring people whose virtues, talents and wisdom made them such great role models.
There were some famous heroes in those books, ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Lucille Ball. There were also lesser-known “regular” people. But regardless of their fame, they all proved that ordinary people change the world.
One of those ordinary people is my former English teacher Sheila Spicer.
When I was in ninth grade, Miss Spicer came up to me and said, “You can write.” She told me, “You’re in the wrong class. You need to be in the honors class.”
For the entire school year, she made me sit in a corner and do the honors work, rather than what she was teaching the other kids in the classroom.
What she was really telling me was, “You’re going to thank me later.”
A decade later, when my first novel was published, I knocked on her classroom door. I said, “My name is Brad Meltzer, and this novel is for you.” And she started crying.
When I asked why she was crying, she said, “I was going to retire this year because I thought I wasn’t having an impact anymore.” What amazed me most was she had no idea of her impact on me.
In our schools today, there are many Mrs. Spicers, teachers who work away from the spotlight, going about the business of inspiring their students to aspire to greatness.
This is especially true of our school librarians.
And as we celebrate National Library Week, it is important that we recognize the importance of school librarians.
School librarians transform lives through education and make it possible for students to thrive in a 21st century learning environment.
You will find them at places like Pine Grove Middle School, in the East Syracuse Minoa School District in New York, which received one of the “National School Library Program of the Year” awards from the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association (ALA).
Librarian Sue Kowalski created areas for students to focus on graphic novels and drawing. Through her “iStaff” program, middle school students were able to act as tutors, reading advisors and event tech support, while assuming the role of ambassadors to visiting legislators.
School librarians play an integral role in their schools, collaborating with teachers on lesson plans, working with administrators to obtain grants and aiding students in using new media.
But like Mrs. Spicer, their vital work is largely unrecognized. What is worse, it is being compromised, as local, state and federal funding for school libraries continues to shrink.
While this might improve the bottom line for schools, it is depriving students of an equal opportunity to gather the skills necessary to learn, participate and compete in today’s world.
On the federal level, school libraries are facing an uphill battle.
President Obama’s proposed budget called for eliminating millions of dollars in funding to school libraries.
Recently thousands of library supporters signed a petition that was sent to President Obama. Written by Indiana school librarian Carl Harvey, it calls for every child in America to receive access to an effective school library program.
In particular, it calls for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to include a dedicated funding source for effective school library programs.
The petition drive was successful, but the future for school libraries hangs perilously in the balance.
When I see what is happening to school library budgets today, I am horrified to think that we live in a country where school librarians – with the power to inspire, as my former teacher inspired me – are considered expendable just for the sake of saving a few bucks.
Let’s not sacrifice our future. As policymakers and school administrators struggle with tough decisions, we as a nation must voice our support and advocate for funding, so that all children have access to 21st century school library programs.
We are a world starving for heroes. If you want to find them, support our school libraries.
In his role as Honorary Chair, Meltzer has also recorded the following Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for National Library Week. These are available to libraries and library supporters celebrating National Library Week.
National Library Week is right around the corner (April 8 – 14) and here to discuss it in a video podcast is ALA President Molly Raphael.
National Library Week is a time when communities across the U.S. celebrate the valuable contributions of our nation’s libraries. This year’s National Library Week theme is “You belong @ your library,” and libraries will offer programs and services that showcase technology and educational resources.
The Honorary Chair for this year’s National Library Week is best-selling author, television host and library advocate Brad Meltzer. The author of nine books and the host of the History Channel’s series “Decoded,” Meltzer credits libraries and librarians as the reason he became a writer.
Libraries continue to evolve and reflect the needs of the communities they serve. Once mainly a source for books and research, libraries continue to enhance traditional services with technology resources
“As technology continues to shape commerce, education and social interaction, libraries play a key role in leveling the playing field for their users,” said ALA President Molly Raphael. “Libraries are transforming lives through education and lifelong learning, as free technology programs provide patrons with the tech skills needed to enhance economic opportunities and help communities thrive.”
Having basic computer skills is a necessity in today’s work force, yet many struggle with logging onto the Internet and using email and word processing software. In response, more than 87 percent of public libraries provide formal or informal technology training to library patrons.
The Montana State Library Association is working with AARP Montana and local libraries to offer seniors a variety of workshops on using the Web while staying safe online. Library staff will assist seniors with everything from privacy settings to applying for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.
Patrons of all ages are turning to libraries for free access to ebooks and eReaders. Ebooks are available at more than 67 percent of libraries, up 12 percent from just two years ago. Libraries like the Denver Public Library offer demonstrations on how to download library eBooks or eFlick to personal devices. Also more than 27 percent of public libraries offer eReaders for check out.
According to the ALA’s 2010-2011 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study, each day an estimated 300,000 people receive job-seeking help at public libraries. More than 74 percent of libraries offer software and other resources to help patrons create resumes and employment materials, and 72 percent of libraries report that staff helped patrons complete online job applications.
For example, the New York Public Library offers a class called “How to Ace the Interview,” in which a human resources and career management expert shares her experiences and gives advice about what makes a great interview. The library also offers various career workshops nearly every day from resume writing to career satisfaction to sustaining morale in a job search.
National Library Week events include:
On Monday, April 9, the ALA’s Public Information Office will release Its “State of America’s Libraries Report.” The annual report is one of the most comprehensive library usage and funding trends reports available. The Report also will include the highly anticipated “Top Ten List of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011.”
Tuesday, April 10, is National Library Workers Day and libraries and communities will recognize librarians, support staff and others who make library service possible every day.
Wednesday, April 11, is National Bookmobile Day, recognizes the role of bookmobiles and direct delivery outreach services. For more than 100 years, library bookmobiles continue to provide access to information and technology and supply resources for lifelong learning.
In recognition of the valuable contributions of our nation’s libraries, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., CEO and Founder, RainbowPUSH Coalition in Chicago, and American Library Association (ALA) Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels spoke at a televised forum about the value of libraries and then read to 20 children on April 11.
The event kicked off the 2009 observance of National Library Week and took place in RainbowPush’s library.
During the RainbowPUSH Coalition’s Saturday Morning Forum, Reverend Jackson and Fiels discussed how libraries are an important community hub of literacy and learning; and a place people turn to during difficult economic times. The Reverend also reflected on libraries as community equalizers, and places of opportunity and knowledge.
Reverend Jackson read “We Were the Ship” by Kadir Nelson, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, and Fiels read Dr. Seuss’ “I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew.”
Submitted by Mark Gould, Director, ALA Public Information Office
The ALA would like to remind everyone that April 12 – 18 is National Library Week.
National Library Week activities include:
Monday, April 13: The ALA’s Public Information Office (PIO) will release “The State of America’s Libraries” report detailing the impact libraries have on millions of Americans.
Tuesday, April 14 is National Library Workers Day, which recognizes all library workers and their contributions.
Wednesday, April 15: The “Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2008” list will be released from the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. The list will include the reasons behind the challenges, as well as the overall number of challenges received.
Thursday, April 16 is Support Teen Literature Day. Libraries will host programs to raise awareness that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens.
Celebrate School Library Media Month during April, sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the ALA.
– Submitted by Jennifer Petersen, Public Information Office