You belong @ your library

Last February libraries and librarians celebrated the first UK National Libraries Day. Over in the USA all this week (8-14April) is designated National Libraries Week  and it’s an event inaugurated over 50 years ago.
The annual celebration of all things ‘library’ features various themes, events and activities all aimed at encouraging people to show their support for libraries and librarians. That’s why one day this week is also designated National Library Workers Day and celebrates the work of information professionals like ourselves.
Coinciding with National Libraries Week is the publication by the ALA of the annual State of America’s Libraries Report  which researches and documents trends and activities across the sectors. This document records issues not dissimilar to those in the UK:

  • Service cuts across all sectors
  • Rise in demand for e-books
  • Increasing use of social media and web 2.0 to support service delivery

Molly Raphael,  President of the ALA, observes that the economic circumstances forcing service reductions are in turn boosting demand for free services such as internet access on offer in libraries and that ‘every service hour lost…translates into lost opportunities to connect people to distance education, employment opportunities and hands on help.’
A fascinating slideshow  put together byPCMag.com illustrates the myriad ways in which libraries and librarians are a good investment and should be celebrated.

There’s lots of food for thought in the report and events to inform our own planning activities for next year’s National Libraries Day in the UK.

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National Libraries Day: In the Loop

People up and down the UK celebrated National Libraries Day on February 4th in a variety of ways from Stephen Fry’s description of them as ‘places of incredible glamour, possibility, power, excitement and pleasure’ to author Julia Donaldson’s protest poem on library closures down south.  Libraries across the nation delivered  special activities to mark the occasion while off duty librarians did their bit too.

Newspapers including the Herald and  Financial Times made the case for the value of libraries to economy and society and set the positive tone for the day ahead – a Glasgow librarithon and shoogle tour called In the Loop!.

In Glasgow, Anabel Marsh, librarian at Strathclyde University Jordanhill Campus developed an idea for a librarithon based around stops on the Glasgow Underground and floated it at a recent tweet up where it generated a lot of interest. In the run up to National Libraries Day librarians, CILIP in Scotland, Glasgow Life and Glasgow Subway all offered to support the initiative resulting in a hugely enjoyable day of fun, culture, learning, exploration and networking.

Glasgow Subways presented participants with ‘shooglebags’ to hold the books we would borrow at each library and they even sent a photographer along to record the event.  STV picked up the story and featured it on their website.

Assisted by our guide, Myra Paterson, a chartership candidate at Glasgow Life who gave up her day off to escort us around four very different service points in Glasgow, we were welcomed with coffee and proud enthusiasm from Doreen, Jo and John who showed us around Hillhead Library, library at GOMA, Partick Library and Gorbals Library on the south side of the river Clyde. Children’s author, Lynne Rickards joined us for part of the tour and for lunch in the west end of Glasgow. Anabel has blogged about the event and about ‘shoogle’ terminology while Lauren Smith, CILIP Vice President, described her experience using lots of pictures. Lynn Corrigan gave us a diary record with photos

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