Celebrate National Library Week!


Among the new things added to the library are relaxation coloring pages.

Natalie Flynn, Writer

Everyone knows that a library is a place where you can check out a book, but even for people who aren’t necessarily readers, there are plenty of reasons to visit one. In both schools and the community, libraries are constantly transforming to meet the needs and interests with more than just books and databases. From April 9-15, National Library Week is a time to promote the use and support of all types of libraries and to celebrate what libraries do for the community.


In the 1950’s, research showed that Americans were beginning to drift away from books and towards T.V. and radio. Because of this, the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954 to try to encourage reading among Americans. This organization came up with the idea of having a National Library Week to do just that.


The first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake up and Read”. It was a success, and was observed again in 1959. The ALA council voted to make it an annual celebration. National Library week has been observed ever since, usually in the second week of April. April is already school library month, and there are several more specific days throughout the week like National Library Workers Day on the 11th and National Bookmobile Day on the 12th.


The 2017 theme for National Library Week is “Libraries Transform”. Ms. Renate Owen, the media specialist here at Oakdale, says, “One of the huge movements in libraries now… is transforming our spaces.” Ms. Owen has been at the Oakdale High School since its opening in 2010, and says that the library, as well as many other school and public libraries, have been changing.  


A huge movement recently embraced among many libraries has been the makerspace movement. In a makerspace, people can play, create, and experiment with different types of tools and materials. The Oakdale library is implementing this and now features activities such as origami, legos, circuitry activities, 3D pens, and relaxation coloring pages as well as just books and research tools. Students who come to the library can also create their own blackout poetry.


The OHS library isn’t doing anything specific for National Library Week, but Ms. Owen is always spreading the word about what they are doing in the library through social media, weekly Bear bulletins, signage, and other announcements, as well as through events like Read Across Oakdale. “In that way,” Mrs. Owen says, “I’m always doing it, not just this week.”


Freshman Christian Due goes to the school library every day and the public library whenever he can. He says libraries are important because, “They are centers of knowledge. You can learn about anything and go anywhere. Also, you can find almost any book for free, and books are great.” Libraries allow people to access stories and information in many different ways.


But is it necessary to dedicate an entire week to celebrating and recognizing the importance of libraries?


“I do think it’s important,” Ms. Owen says, “because… libraries aren’t just books anymore. They have makerspace, they have computers, they have all kinds of things going on to engage the community. So I think it’s important for everybody to know that they’re not stagnant, they’re always transforming to meet the needs of the community, as I’m trying to do for the school community.”
Libraries have something for everyone, so consider checking out a book, or checking out what else your school or public library has to offer this National Library Week.