Olympic medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani to serve as 2020 National Library Week honorary chairs

For Immediate Release
Fri, 01/24/2020

Contact:

Heather Cho

Campaign Specialist

Communications and Marketing Office

312-280-4020

hcho@ala.org

CHICAGO—Authors and Olympic ice dancing medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani will promote the value of libraries as honorary chairs of National Library Week, April 19—25, 2020. The Shibutanis will shine a spotlight on our nation’s libraries, librarians and library workers, all of which transform communities and improve lives through access to information, education and technology.

“Find Your Place at the Library” is the theme for this year’s National Library Week, which emphasizes that everyone is welcome at the library—no matter your age, interests or background, the library is a space where we all can belong. 

“We are thrilled to have Maia and Alex Shibutani as honorary chairs of National Library Week,” said American Library Association (ALA) President Wanda Brown. “The Shibutanis are not only amazing athletes on the ice, they are also leaders in their community, empowering young people to pursue their passions just like librarians and library workers do every day.” 

Maia and Alex Shibutani (aka the ShibSibs) are two-time Olympic bronze medalists, three-time world medalists, Four Continents Champions and two-time U.S. National Champions. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, they became the first ice dancers of Asian descent to medal at the Olympics and are only the second sibling duo in the history of the sport to share an ice dancing medal.

“We’re so excited to join ALA in celebrating the power of libraries,” said the Shibutanis. “There’s something for everyone—you’ll find books, activities, technology and a community. Libraries fuel our imaginations and open us up to the world and new ideas. They inspire us to explore, dream and achieve.”

Off the ice, the ShibSibs are known for sharing their personalities, experiences and interests on social media to bring new audiences to their sport. They travel the world and enjoy spending time together (most of the time), eating food (all of the time) and meeting new people (any time!). “The Mystery of the Masked Medalist” is their first book. Find Maia and Alex on Twitter and Instagram: @MaiaShibutani, @AlexShibutani and @ShibSibs.

The Shibutanis are making their writing debut in “KUDO KIDS: The Mystery of the Masked Medalist,” the first in a middle grade series coming from Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. Co-authored by Michelle Schusterman and set at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, this fun-filled, fast-paced mystery is inspired by the Shibutanis’ own familial bond and experiences traveling the world with Team USA. Publishing just before the 2020 Olympics, this book captures the curiosity and life experiences that the ShibSibs share with their combined 1.4 million followers on social media channels and through their original YouTube videos that have more than 11 million views.

Publicity tools featuring the Shibutanis will be available soon. Free promotional tools with this year’s NLW theme, including digital graphics, a sample press release, PSA scripts and more are now available at ala.org/nlw. The Shibutanis also join the celebrity READ® campaign; their poster is available now from the ALA Store.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is an annual observance by the American Library Association and libraries across the country each April. National Library Week celebrations include the release of the ALA’s 2020 “State of America’s Libraries Report,” April 20; National Library Workers Day, April 21; National Bookmobile Day, April 22; Take Action for Libraries Day, April 23; and the celebration of School Library Month throughout April.

For more information about National Library Week, please visit ala.org/nlw.