Hello, SEers! You’re with Mae today. I’ll be back in April with the second part of my short series on submitting your work to a literary agent, but today, I’d like to break out the pom-poms for something most of us remember fondly, and which might even be responsible for launching our love of writing and books—libraries.
April 3rd through April 9th is National Library Week, something that was first celebrated in 1958. Here’s a quick breakdown of how the week plays out:
April 5–National Libraries Workers’ Day
April 6–National Library Outreach Day
April 7–Take Action for Libraries Day
The overall theme for this year is Connect with Your Library. Given the rise of Amazon and digital e-readers, most of us don’t visit our libraries as often as we once did. Just a short while ago, I did a Story Empire post on LIBBY, an app that allows you to borrow ebooks from your local library and read on your Kindle. If you missed it, you can find that post HERE.
But let’s not forget that libraries are about more than just books—they’re about community. When I was a kid, my parents took me to the library every weekend. We’d spend hours browsing through books and selecting what we wanted to take home. That was decades ago, and I honestly don’t know what other services my library might have offered at the time. Today, most libraries offer everything from public computer access to various programs for children, teens, and adults. You can also find libraries on wheels, curbside pick-up, guest speaker presentations, book clubs, employment and teaching resources and—one of my favorites—events for local authors.
Another feature I love are Gale Courses. If you’re unfamiliar with these, Gale Courses are instructor-led online courses covering a wide range of topics. Most are six weeks long. At present there are over 360 courses in the Gale catalog. I’ve taken courses on various software programs, web development, HTML coding, even Spanish. If you’re someone who loves learning, or even personal enrichment, these are right up your alley.
So how do you connect with your local library? Some suggestions to parallel this year’s theme are to become connected through technology, broadband, and computers. Connect with media, offered classes, and Gale Courses. Visit in person, or virtually. There’s even a hashtag—#MyLibrary. Use it to say what you love most about your library.
If you’re looking for ways to connect and become more involved, the National Library Week page is a great resource. Be sure to check out the many graphics available for you to share across your social media accounts. There’s also a #MyLibrary promo with a drawing for a gift card which you can read about on the page.
Libraries are an important part of our communities, and even though we might not visit as frequently as we’d like, I think they will always hold a special place in our hearts.
One of my favorite memories of visiting the library involves my mom. She and I would often read the same books. She’d no sooner check something in, then I’d check it out, or vice versa. When I was twelve, we were in a Thomas Tyron phase. We both devoured The Other and Harvest Home, then had lengthy discussions about the books. Both novels were made into movies which gave us more discussion fodder about which was better—book or movie (surprisingly both movies were pretty decent).
My dad mostly preferred non-fiction so he would wander off to a different section of the library, but my mom and I would gather our collection of books from the fiction shelves then compare them at a table before we ultimately decided on that week’s haul. She was my reading buddy until she passed away at age 89 in 2012. I always thought it odd that my father was the creative writer in the family (a gift he ultimately passed to me), but when it came to reading, he mostly always chose non-fiction. Isn’t it great libraries offer both?
I’d love to hear some of your own library memories. Times have changed, but libraries continue to adapt. Let’s cheer them on next week–starting with a few thoughts below.
Ready, set, go!