You belong @ your library as libraries transform lives through technological literacy
For Immediate Release
National Library Week, April 8-14
CHICAGO — Libraries are transforming lives by providing patrons the tools needed to compete and thrive in a 21st century market place. Libraries continue to provide traditional resources and services, but now patrons will find book shelves among computer labs and wireless environments. Libraries are technology hubs that thousands turn to and depend on for technological literacy resources, including free computer and software workshops, employment databases and free access to digital media.
Communities across the U.S. are celebrating the valuable contributions of our nation’s libraries during National Library Week, April 8 – 14. This year’s National Library Week theme is “You belong @ your library,” and libraries are offering 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 “Brad Meltzer's Decoded,” Meltzer credits libraries and librarians as the reason he became a writer. You can read an op-ed written by Meltzer that appeared in the Huffington Post, entitled, “The Unsung Heroes in Our Schools.”
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 American Library Association (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.
During National Library Week, the Cleveland Public Library will offer free PowerPoint classes teaching adults and seniors how to create slide presentations, while the Colorado River Indian Tribes Library will provide free Microsoft Office training and tips on how to surf the Web.
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 e-books and e-readers. E-books 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 e-books or eFlick to personal devices. Also more than 27 percent of public libraries offer e-readers 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 the release of the “State of America’s Libraries Report,” one of the most comprehensive reports on library trends that features the Top 10 List of Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011; National Library Workers day on April 10; National Bookmobile Day, which recognizes the role of bookmobiles on April 11; and Support Teen Literature Day on April 12, when libraries will showcase their services and programs for young adult users. In addition to National Library Week, the month of April is also celebrated as School Library Month.
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. For more information on National Library Week please visit www.ala.org/nlw.
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