April 3-9 is National Library Week—a time for library lovers across the country to celebrate literacy, intellectual freedom, and equitable access to information.
As the COVID-19 pandemic moves into its third year, libraries are proving to be more essential than ever, providing services and programs that have kept communities strong even while socially distancing. The past year saw an unprecedented increase in book challenges and book banning in school and public libraries across the U.S. Librarians have been on the frontlines of these battles, ensuring that everyone has the freedom to read. National Library Week is an opportunity to remind the world that this work matters.
Actress and comedian Molly Shannon will serve as this year’s National Library Week Honorary Chair, helping promote the 2022 theme “Connect with Your Library.” Shannon says she has a deep connection to the library world.
“My mom was a librarian,” Shannon says. “She encouraged kids to read. So, the work of librarians and libraries has such a special place in my heart. Libraries are places where communities connect—to things like broadband, computers, programs and classes, books, movies, video games and more. But most importantly, libraries connect us to each other.”
There are countless ways to join the National Library Week celebration, from attending events at your local library to contacting legislators about library funding. Here are a few of our favorite ways to get involved:
Speak Out for Library Funding
Funding libraries is an investment in our communities: Libraries perform essential social services like promoting literacy, supporting job seekers, and providing access to information for all. National Library Week is the perfect time to contact your legislators to let them know why library funding is so important—and the American Library Association has made it easy to get involved with resources on local, state, and national policy positions; best practices for working with traditional and social media; simple methods to discover exactly who represents you in Washington and locally; advocacy assistance for everything from equity, diversity, and inclusion issues to disaster aid to book challenges; and more.
Read a Banned Book
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most targeted books were by or about Black or LGBTQIA+ people. Show your support for these books—and the librarians and library workers defending your freedom to read—by reading a banned book. The Top 10 Banned Books List for 2021 will be released on April 5 in ALA’s State of America’s Library Report or you can select a book from past lists, including titles like Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Join the Conversation on Social Media
All week long, we’re asking library users to talk about the connections you’ve made because of their library. Did you find a great book? Get access to computers? Attend a great program or storytime? Did you make new friends at your library’s book club? Post to Instagram, Twitter, or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page using the hashtag #MyLibrary. We’ll gather all the entries, and one randomly selected winner will receive a $100 Visa gift card. The promotion starts Sunday, April 3 at noon CT and ends on Saturday, April 9 at noon CT.
Visit Your Library’s Website
One of the easiest ways to support your library is just to visit their website and use their resources! With countless free ebooks, audiobooks, movies, magazines, databases, and more, your library has something entertaining and informative for everyone. Don’t have a library card? Many libraries allow you to register online-visit your local library’s website or contact a librarian to find out more.
Treat Yourself to Library Merch
Show off your library love with t-shirts from our friends at Out of Print emblazoned with beloved ALA READ posters featuring actor, author, and literacy advocate LeVar Burton and 90s heartthrob Fabio! The best part? Proceeds from these products support the American Library Association’s efforts to promote digital access, combat censorship, and champion much-needed funding for libraries.