Millions celebrate value of America's libraries during National Library Week, April 10-16

Contacts: Larra Clark/ Macey Morales

ALA Media Relations

For Immediate Release

April 11, 2005

Millions celebrate value of America's libraries during

National Library Week, April 10-16

CHICAGO - Communities nationwide are celebrating the value of libraries and the contributions of librarians and library workers during National Library Week, April 10 to 16, including an observance of "Many Voices, One Nation, One Night @ your library" on April 11 and National Library Workers Day on April 12. April also is School Library Media Month, in recognition of the critical teaching and learning roles played by more than 166,000 school librarians and library staff.

Library budgets nationwide have been slashed at least $111 million in the past two years, but communities are standing up and speaking out for America's libraries. Most recently, Salinas, Calif., announced it had raised $500,000 in a grassroots effort to keep its libraries open until long-term funding can be identified. All three libraries in John Steinbeck's hometown were slated to close after two tax measures failed in November. The closure would have locked out more than 150,000 residents.

Other communities have not been so lucky. Advocacy efforts have begun in Bedford, Texas, to reopen library doors. The public library, which serves more than 48,000 residents, was closed after citizens narrowly voted to roll back taxes. In both cases, the American Library Association (ALA) led delegations with state and local library leaders to share technical assistance, advice and information.

Advocating for America's library is just one way to celebrate their value. Millions nationwide will visit and participate in local programs and events during National Library Week. This year's theme is "Something for Everyone @ your library," and Americans seem to agree. According to the most recent federal statistics, visits have more than doubled to more than 1.2 billion annually in the past decade, and a record-setting 1.89 billion items were borrowed from libraries in one year alone.

This year libraries will host "Many Voices, One Nation, One Night @ your library" programs that will showcase a community's literary heritage, serve as a celebration of reading and provide a unique opportunity for libraries to stand up and speak out for the richness of our nation's literature and the diverse voices it represents. For instance, the Athens-Clarke County (Ga.) Library will feature Julie Cannon, local author; Inca Tepen, traditional Andean musicians; James Leon, Native American storyteller; while Hawaii State Public Library will host a program showcasing the works of Hawaiian author Haunani-Kay Trask, "From a Native Daughter: Readings and Reflections." The New Mexico State University (NMSU) Library in Las Cruces will sponsor a read-aloud event with 25 "celebrity" readers drawn from the campus community.

The American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), an organization that advocates for improving the salaries and status of librarians and support staff, is sponsoring its second annual National Library Workers Day (NLWD) on April 12. This national observance is a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers - including librarians, support staff and others.

April 12 also marks the fourth year of ALA's partnership with Woman's Day for "Put it Writing @ your library(r)." This year, 15 academic and public libraries throughout the country will offer workshops for aspiring writers. The workshops feature writers from Woman's Day magazine speaking about how to get published in a magazine and librarians will highlight the writing resources available at their libraries. The workshops promote the wealth of opportunities that all types of libraries offer to spark writers' imaginations and creativity and help develop a community of writers. Since the programs inception in 2002, a total of 45 libraries nationwide have hosted "Put it Writing @ your library" events.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the ALA and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate. For more information about National Library Week please visit