It's no secret that we love books about libraries, but the recent arrival of The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson—published just in time for National Library Week—sent us into a swoon.
Over the past 18 years, Dawson has traveled across the country (and back), photographing hundreds of public libraries. This photographic tribute features libraries big and small, modern and historic, urban and rural, from Sutton, Alaska, to Newport, Vermont, to Key West, Florida.
Complementing the photographs are essays, excerpts and poems celebrating libraries from the likes of Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott, Dr. Seuss, E.B. White and Amy Tan—as well as a foreword by Bill Moyers and afterword by Ann Patchett.
Offering up a delightful visual feast—along with thought-provoking discussion about the vital role that libraries play in communities across the country—The Public Library deserves a prominent spot on the coffee table of any and every bibliophile.
We love celebrating libraries every week at BookPage, but April 14-20 places national focus on one of our favorite times of year: National Library Week!
This year, the theme of National Library Week is "Communities matter @ your library." Libraries are more than just buildings filled with books; they offer programs and resources based on their community's interests.
Here are a few ways to celebrate the week:
April is School Library Month, and this week is National Library Week. I know that for many BookPage patrons, every week is library week. (According to our recent Reader Survey, nearly 80% of our readers check out books from the library that they discovered in BookPage.)
But this week is special because of all the events sponsored by the American Library Association:
• Today, you can submit a "six word story" on Twitter about why you belong at the library. (Use the #nlw6words tag.) The stories will be compiled and judged, and the winner will receive receive a DVD of Season 1 of Brad Meltzer's "Decoded." (Meltzer is the Honorary Chair of National Library Week.) Read more about the story contest here.
• Today is also National Bookmobile Day. Visit the Bookmobile Day landing page for information about the “Why We Love Our Bookmobile” YouTube video celebration. Or better yet, write a letter or e-mail to your local bookmobile staff.
• Visit the @ Your Library website for ideas on family activities you can do at the library.
• I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but just in case anybody needs a little prodding . . . Library Card Sign-up Month isn't until September, but why not make the plunge in April if you don't already have a card? Where else but the library can you download e-books and audio books for free (and legally!); check out more books than you could ever read; borrow CDs, DVDs, bags of books for your book club . . .?
Finally, bookstores and public libraries in 48 states subscribe to BookPage (and provide it free of charge to their patrons). Click here to see the full list of locations.
Why do you love your library? How will you celebrate National Library Week?
Happy National Library Week!
This probably qualifies as "preaching to the choir," but who cares—it's always a good idea to praise libraries, especially as the American Library Association encourages us to "Create your own story @ your library" during this special week.
So please tell us: Why do you love libraries? What will you check out next from the library? Why are you grateful for librarians?
Here you can watch John Grisham, Honorary Chair of National Library Week, weigh in on why he loves libraries.
What do you have to add?
I've been a devoted library goer my entire life (thanks, Mom!), and now I try to pass on the passion. Just last week, the 10-year-old girl I mentor told me she wanted to do some science experiments. Not being very "science-y" myself, I went to the source I knew would give us a hand: the local library. We checked out books that gave us plenty of ideas and all the information we needed.