Nearly 700 Neil Gaiman fans and library lovers join Gaiman online for National Library Week kickoff

Contact: Megan McFarlane
Campaign coordinator
The Campaign for America’s Libraries
ALA Public Information Office
312-280-2148
mmcfarlane@ala.org

NEWS
For Immediate Release
April 13, 2010

CHICAGO – Neil Gaiman kicked off National Library Week on April 12, as librarians, library lovers and fans from across the country and around the world joined the author for a live Internet event.

Coordinated by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Campaign for America’s Libraries and the Jessamine County (Ky.) Public Library (JCPL), “An Evening with Neil Gaiman” was streamed live by nearly 700 individuals and more than 120 libraries hosting National Library Week events.

As Honorary Chair of National Library Week, Gaiman, the 2009 Newbery Medal winner for “The Graveyard Book,” spoke about his lifelong love of libraries and the role libraries play in tough economic times.

Gaiman virtually joined a live audience at JCPL from the University of Minnesota using high definition videoconferencing technology supported by Internet2 to enable the interactive discussion with the author.

The event will be archived on ALA’s public awareness Web site www.atyourlibrary.org this week.

Additional partners in the event included HarperCollins Children’s Books and the University of Minnesota.

In the fall of 2009, JCPL received international media interest regarding their stance against censorship. In response to questioning about the appropriateness of some materials in the collection, library director Dr. Ron Critchfield defended the library’s censorship policy by stating, “We as a library are charged with making a collection that serves multiple constituencies with multiple interests, and what might interest one person wouldn't necessarily interest someone else.” When this incident was brought to Gaiman’s attention, he wrote in support of JCPL’s stance.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries ( www.ala.org/@yourlibrary) is ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations.