Celebrate National Library Week, April 3-9

Hello, SEers! You’re with Mae today. I’ll be back in April with the second part of my short series on submitting your work to a literary agent, but today, I’d like to break out the pom-poms for something most of us remember fondly, and which might even be responsible for launching our love of writing and books—libraries.

April 3rd through April 9th is National Library Week, something that was first celebrated in 1958. Here’s a quick breakdown of how the week plays out:

April 5–National Libraries Workers’ Day
April 6–National Library Outreach Day
April 7–Take Action for Libraries Day

The overall theme for this year is Connect with Your Library. Given the rise of Amazon and digital e-readers, most of us don’t visit our libraries as often as we once did. Just a short while ago, I did a Story Empire post on LIBBY, an app that allows you to borrow ebooks from your local library and read on your Kindle. If you missed it, you can find that post HERE.

But let’s not forget that libraries are about more than just books—they’re about community. When I was a kid, my parents took me to the library every weekend. We’d spend hours browsing through books and selecting what we wanted to take home. That was decades ago, and I honestly don’t know what other services my library might have offered at the time. Today, most libraries offer everything from public computer access to various programs for children, teens, and adults. You can also find libraries on wheels, curbside pick-up, guest speaker presentations, book clubs, employment and teaching resources and—one of my favorites—events for local authors. 

Banner ad for National Library Week features photo of Molly Shannon, National Library Week Honorary Chair with quote about the importance of libraries as places where communities connect

Another feature I love are Gale Courses. If you’re unfamiliar with these, Gale Courses are instructor-led online courses covering a wide range of topics. Most are six weeks long. At present there are over 360 courses in the Gale catalog. I’ve taken courses on various software programs, web development, HTML coding, even Spanish. If you’re someone who loves learning, or even personal enrichment, these are right up your alley.  

So how do you connect with your local library? Some suggestions to parallel this year’s theme are to become connected through technology, broadband, and computers. Connect with media, offered classes, and Gale Courses. Visit in person, or virtually. There’s even a hashtag—#MyLibrary. Use it to say what you love most about your library.

If you’re looking for ways to connect and become more involved, the National Library Week page is a great resource. Be sure to check out the many graphics available for you to share across your social media accounts. There’s also a #MyLibrary promo with a drawing for a gift card which you can read about on the page.

Libraries are an important part of our communities, and even though we might not visit as frequently as we’d like, I think they will always hold a special place in our hearts. 

One of my favorite memories of visiting the library involves my mom. She and I would often read the same books. She’d no sooner check something in, then I’d check it out, or vice versa. When I was twelve, we were in a Thomas Tyron phase. We both devoured The Other and Harvest Home, then had lengthy discussions about the books. Both novels were made into movies which gave us more discussion fodder about which was better—book or movie (surprisingly both movies were pretty decent). 

My dad mostly preferred non-fiction so he would wander off to a different section of the library, but my mom and I would gather our collection of books from the fiction shelves then compare them at a table before we ultimately decided on that week’s haul. She was my reading buddy until she passed away at age 89 in 2012. I always thought it odd that my father was the creative writer in the family (a gift he ultimately passed to me), but when it came to reading, he mostly always chose non-fiction. Isn’t it great libraries offer both?

I’d love to hear some of your own library memories. Times have changed, but libraries continue to adapt. Let’s cheer them on next week–starting with a few thoughts below.

Ready, set, go!

bio box for author, Mae Clair

73 thoughts on “Celebrate National Library Week, April 3-9

  1. Lovely post.. ❤🌹🌹
    While in school we were assigned only one library class a week. Going to the library was in reality a silent demo. Under the strict vigilance of the class monitor we silenty marched into the library, picked a book silently, observed silence all the while there and walked back to the classroom in the same manner…But during my graduation I understood the true purpose of a library. The burden of purchasing expensive books was relieved by our college library which was well equipped . Me and my friends made a point of visiting the library every day. We took down notes enthusiastically from as many suggested readings as we could. In fact the library time was the most precious time of our college life….To boost our enthusiasm we would read out interesting extracts to one another. Group discussions and debates were incorporated later on..But our librarian who was a cute young lady was very strict about discipline and we had to be very careful about that😀.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Kakoli! Thank you so much for visiting and leaving this wonderful comment. These are the kinds of memories that make libraries so special. I do remember those days of visiting the library in grade school when all was silence as we picked out our books and read in silence. Later, in junior high, I recall visiting the library with groups of friends, sitting around a table and chatting about our books and other topics we enjoyed.

      I’m so glad to hear how very special your college library was for you, both in resources and time spent with your friends. It sounds like you made great use of it, even with that rather strict librarian. I’ve loved hearing all these memories about libraries and what they inspired—and still do today! 🙂

      Like

  2. Wow, fourteen books a week, Robbie? You devoured them! I’m sorry to hear your current libraries aren’t well maintained, but I’m glad you have such wonderful memories from when you were a kid. And it’s great you visit libraries when you travel. I liked your philosophy about the state of a country’s library relating to the attitude of the population. Let’s hope most are well maintained and beloved by the people. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  3. Hi Mae, I used to go to the library twice a week when I was a kid. I used to ride there on my bike with my library cards and my one sister’s and take out 7 books. I read 14 books a week. This is when I was 8 and 9. My mom used to take me to the library when we moved so libraries were also a big part of my life. The libraries in SA are no longer well maintained and many of them have few new books. It’s still the old stuff from years ago. I always visit libraries when I travel and I think the state of a countries libraries tells you a lot about the attitudes and mind sets of the population.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #ReblogAlert- #TwoFer #ThisWeekOnStoryEmpire & #SmorgasbordWeeklyRoundUp | The Write Stuff

  5. Aw, Mae … thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was in a real library! Color me embarrassed! Maybe even shocked at myself! Because as a child, my mother took me every Saturday to check out seven books to read over the week ahead. By the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade, I’d read every book in the children’s section, and she had the job of picking out books in the adult section that she deemed okay for me to read. Probably today, those same books would be called Young Adult, in that they lacked graphic violence or explicit sex, etc, but still wouldn’t be considered for children. I’d almost run out of those too, by the time I was eleven or twelve. Then I started on all the classics like the complete works of Poe, and writers like Daphne du Maurier, Salinger, and Ray Bradbury, to name a few.

    So, yeah, I loved good libraries. I still do, except I’ve gotten lazy in my advanced age, and with the help of my Kindle, I can afford many more books than I could in the old days. Now instead of borrowing them, I download them. And if I really love them, I also order a print version for my own library shelves, which hold several hundred books. (I may actually count them some day, just for fun.)

    Thanks for all the extra information on Gale Courses, etc, too. I really need to step out of my comfort zone (alias my computer desk area) and explore some of these things. Super post!! 💖😊💖

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, what great memories, Marcia. And you were such a voracious reader! I think most of us spent far more time in libraries as kids then we do now, but borrowing books was the way most of us read in our younger days. I love that so many parents exposed their children to library reading.

      For borrowing digital copies to read on your Kindle, you should check out Libby. I’ve got five books on hold with my local library right now, waiting for them to surface. Like you, when I really love a book I also buy either a hardback or paperback copy. Certain titles I simply MUST have on my own bookshelf. 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Marcia, and have fun exploring the Gale courses. There are so many good ones!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve got notes to myself on the Libby library thingie and the Gale courses, thanks to your posts. Looking forward to learning more.

        Just for a laugh, let me tell you that my mother did NOT think I should spend all my time reading. She insisted I go “out and get some sunshine.” (Little did she know how many skin cancers that would cause me.) I had to HIDE my library book under my shirt, go way out back and climb up a tree, where I’d sit reading until she called me in. She was happy I’d been outside, I was happy I’d been reading, and believe it or not, I was never found out! 😂😂😂

        Like

  6. I love this post and the celebration we’re about to enter. Visiting the library has always been one of my favorite things to do. It’s a place I will gladly get lost in for hours at a time. As a matter of fact, I was needing to find something to do this weekend, and I think I’ve found it. Thank you for sharing, Staci! This post makes my heart happy. Libraries should definitely be celebrated more.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved going to the library when I was younger. My friend, Barb, and I went to the library every Saturday. We walked down each week with our books to return and on the way back, we stopped at each of our grandparent’s houses (they both lived on the same street, five houses apart). Not only did we get great reading material for the week, we also got special visits with our grandparents (not to mention good food).

    So many children today don’t have the opportunity to walk to their local library, and sadly, so many prefer video games to a good book.

    I didn’t know about the online classes the library carried that you spoke about, but I am going to check them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s such a wonderful memory, Michele. I can just imagine how special those Saturdays were. I’m sure you eagerly looked forward to them, just as I’m sure your grandparents and your friend’s grandparents looked forward to your visits. Plus you got to show them all your books!

      My library wasn’t within walking distance, but my parents always made to take me there. It is so sad that so many kids would rather play a video game then escape in a book. I think that love is handed down from parents, and hopefully will be more encouraged.

      I love Gale courses. There are so many awesome subjects in the catalog. I hope your library offers them. Thanks for sharing today! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yay for libraries! The book fest I attended last weekend was sponsored by our local library, and I just signed up for another in KY. Our library is extremely active, and not just with book features. They also offer a number of free classes, including yoga. I’ve been involved with a book club through the library for the past several years and made many friends because of it. Libraries are so much more than books. Awesome post, Mae!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I loved reading about all the things your library has offered and offers, Teri. I was really impressed by how extensive the book fest was when I read about it on your blog. And yoga classes? That’s fantastic!
      If I had more time, I would love to get involved with the book club my library offers. You’re inspiring me to check into it, and see what kind of commitment is involved.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jacqui. I completely agree with what you said about libraries. Most struggled through the pandemic, and it’s been a hard road for them to spring back after so many cuts. Libraries have so much to offer. We have to make sure they’re around for a long time to come!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a timely post for me as I just delivered two copies of my latest books to the Coleman Public Library. Coleman is a small town but it has one of the most amazing libraries I’ve ever been in. It provides so much to the local residents. I love all of your tips. I lived (well, not literally, but you get the idea) in the Hobbs Public Library growing up and I still get a little shiver when I walk into one. I love the smell of books. And some smaller libraries will have the card indexes you can use to search titles. I remember it all so well. Thank you for sharing and here’s to National Library Week!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay, for the Coleman Public Library, Jan! That’s wonderful they have your books. I think it’s fantastic how libraries support local authors.
      I get that same feeling you do when I walk into a library. Mine is digitized, but I remember those card indexes well. When I was very young they used to confound me, then when I realized how they worked, a whole new world opened up to me. I even remember going to my local library when I was in my 20s and 30s to research the latest Writer’s Market. There was no checking out reference books, and I used to sit with a pen and tablet, making a list of where I wanted to send my manuscripts–not that I ever did, LOL. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  10. How wonderful that you and your mom were reading buddies until she was 89 years old, Mae. It’s interesting that your dad preferred nonfiction books. I’ve never heard of Gale courses. I’ll check it out and would love to take a MTML coding course.
    Library is wonderful for my 4 years old granddaughter. She literally has over 100 books scattered all over the house, upstairs, downstairs, in the bedroom, kitchen, and halfway. She reads nonstop throughout the day. She has an amazing attention span to listen to very long stories. My daughter checks out 30 books at a time for her. Autumn wants to read some books in the car on the way home. As soon as we get home, she wants us to read at least 20 with her. Throughout the week, she wants us to read the same books until she memorizes them. At bedtime, I read to her in a dim light. Sometimes I misread a word and she would correct me!!!
    She is now reading to her 2-year old sister.
    Only with the library could we supply her the sea of books to feed her appetite.
    Thank you for this great post, Mae! 📚😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Miriam, that is a great story. Autumn sounds amazing! What a love for stories and the written word she has. I always enjoyed books but there was no way I was reading like that at her age. More power to her—and all of you for encouraging her. And, of course, libraries for supplying all that wonderful reading content. Thanks for the fabulous share, Miriam. I loved hearing this! 😄📚📔

      Like

  11. What a wonderful post, Mae. When I was in school, I had a weekly library day. I continued that as an adult. I used to visit the public library twice monthly. My ex-wife and I used to make “date time” out of our trips to the library. It was such a staple of my life for years. But, as you’ve pointed out, Amazon and the digital platforms have all but ended those trips. I haven’t been inside a library for at least ten years. There’s such an incredible world inside those magical buildings. Thank you for reminding us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Beem, ten years? Yes, I think it’s time you visited that magical place again, if even only through digital access and online. You have such wonderful memories of libraries. I know there are more in store for you. The digital age has really impacted libraries but they’re adapting and have some great online offerings. Next week (or any time) is a great opportunity to explore them. I’m going to need to do that myself. Who knows—maybe I’ll even carve out the time to visit in person! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was involved with three writing groups at three different libraries, Priscilla. I miss those days and those groups, too.

      New releases are fun. And I always love to grab the current issue of “book page” while I’m there! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I used to love to go to the library, especially growing up or taking my kids. The head librarian used to live next door to us and she was like a rock star to me as a child! I will have to make a point of taking my grandkids there soon and maybe checking out some classes too! Great post, Mae 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you lived next door to the head librarian, Denise. What a great way to describe her–a rock star! Librarians are definitely “all that!”
      And I bet your grandkids would love a visit. As for classes, I’ve done half a dozen Gale courses and love them. I really need to start taking some more! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You’re so right that I don’t engage as much as I used to with my local library. Ebooks have really impacted that. Thanks for sharing the great ways that libraries have stepped to the plate with new services and ways to connect to books and education and community. When I get a moment (haha), I’ll have to make a point of stopping by mine. Thanks, Mae.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m laughing with you, Diana, because I fully understand the reference to when you get a moment. Free time? What, pray tell is this strange thing of which you speak? 😁

      There are a number of ways to connect digitally and online, however. I take advantage of them more than in-person visits, but I’m inspiring myself to get back to camping out in the library with my laptop and having a writing session while soaking up the atmosphere!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Love the liibrary! ❤ It’s been a haven throughout the years, beginning before I could read thanks to Mama. I’ll never forget the day I got my own library card. Always checked out the maximum number of books allowed! Grateful for public libraries and librarians. Every day’s a great day to celebrate! How lovely to learn there’s a National Library Week! Have been a member of my local library book club since we moved back to Maine in 2005. Our librarians rock!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bette, thanks for reminding me how exciting it was to get my first library card. It was like a doorway to a whole new world. I always checked out the maximum number of books allowed, too. Such great memories!

      So glad to hear you are active in your local library book club. I agree with you that librarians rock. In fact I have a pin and a lanyard strap that both read “Libraries Rock!” 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Our writers’ group has always met at a library, so we think of a library as our group’s home. For a long time, the main library had an annual writers’ event with panels and book signings, but Covid ruined that and nothing’s started up again. As a kid, I loved our school’s library. One of my favorite memories was of my teachers choosing books to read aloud to us. That was a magical time for me. These days, I read almost everything on my Kindle. It’s easier on my eyes, but my husband still faithfully gets books from our library every two weeks. And my grandsons spent hours there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judi, all the writers’ groups i belonged to always met at the library, too. You can’t ask for a better setting! 🙂

      My library had their first post-pandemic author event last year. It was a scaled back version, but I’m hoping that will change this year.
      I’m a Kindle reader too, but I do grab Kindle copies of books through Libby. I have five on hold right now with my library.

      I love that you have such magical memories of your school library. They were great places to hang out. And yay to your husband who still faithfully does his library book run! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I had a love-hate relationship with the library. I loved being able to check out so many books, but I hated that I always felt overwhelmed when I entered and couldn’t decide which book to choose. When my son was young, I always took him for the activities the librarians would host. Sadly, I have not made it to a library in years. Time just hasn’t been on my side, and Amazon makes it too convenient, but you bring up great reasons to support the local libraries, so I’ll have to look into doing more borrowing from them. Thanks for this post, Mae! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yvette, now that libraries feature digital borrowing through Libby and like apps, it’s easy to check books out from home. There are a great number of other resources they offer, too. I need to visit more frequently then I do, but I definitely take advantage of the online content they offer.

      Your son must have had a great time at all those programs. A friend of mine worked in the children’s section of our local library and designed and ran the programs prepared for children. The kids loved her (she’s since retired).

      Finally, I do remember those younger days of visiting the library and the agony of having to choose which books I’d be taking home with me. Thanks so much for sharing these memories and thoughts, Yvette. It’s been fun today getting everyone’s perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ve never heard of Gale Courses, but I’ve taken classes and attended workshops at local libraries. The content is always superb.

    That is interesting about your dad choosing to read nonfiction when he liked to write fiction. How nice that you could bond with your mom as a reader and your dad as a writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Staci, you should see if your library offers Gale Courses, The selection is wonderful and they’re free. I’ve taken at least a half of dozen and have others I want to squeeze in as I have time.

      It is weird that my father liked reading non-fiction. He did most of his creative/fiction writing when he was younger (grade school, teen years, early 20s). It wasn’t something he continued once he married and had kids (much like his paintings). I’m glad he passed the writing torch onto me. I usually read several nonfiction titles each year but fiction will always be my go-to preference. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I can still feel the sense of excitement that would come over me each time I entered our public library. As a kid, I remember me and my best friend riding our bikes in the hot summer sun to the local library. We’d be dripping in sweat, but quickly cooled down upon entering the air conditioned building. My bike had a basket, so there was always room for a lot of books. Once the bookmobile started to make its rounds in our neighborhood, our bike rides weren’t as frequent, but just as exciting. Thanks for the terrific post, Mae. It was a nice trip down memory lane!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a wonderful memory, Jill. You can’t beat the combination of a hot summer day and biking with a friend to the library. I remember those bike baskets, too–perfect for a book haul! 🙂
      And how fantastic that you had a bookmobile visit your neighborhood. I love how libraries took it upon themselves to encourage reading with services like that. Thanks for sharing your memories today. I’ve been enjoying everyone’s stroll down memory lane! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Craig, I belonged to three different critique groups that met at three different libraries back in the day. I have great memories of those times—and also scouring for books as a kid. Libraries definitely helped shape our love of writing. Even today, just drinking in the atmosphere of a library puts me in a great mood! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. We lived in a village when I was a youngster, so the nearest library was a bus journey away. (I’m not safe to be let loose on a bike!)
    Every Saturday, Dad would drive me and Mum to town, and our last call – the bag was heavy with twelve books between us.) was the library.
    No… second from last. He stopped to buy fish and chips, so we could all start reading the minute we got home.
    Thank you for the timely reminder about Library Week, Mae. :-).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah, what a perfect family adventure! From library to the fish and chips, then going home to devour both books and food. I love it!
      Thanks for sharing your memory. I’ve been enjoying hearing what everyone has to say about libraries and their childhood memories of them. 🙂

      Like

  20. Wonderful post, Mae. As a kid, it was a special treat to go to the library — some 12 miles away from our home. I remember the excitement of going down those aisles and picking out my three books. I’ve always loved libraries and decades ago, I helped establish a library at a small college on Long Island, NY. Your post brings back many cherished memories. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Gwen, how wonderful you were able to help in establishing a library! What a great experience that must have been.
      I like how you compared going to the library to a special treat when you were a kid. You are so right. Kind of like the ice cream truck showing up on a hot summer day. I approached each with equal excitement! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Our nearest library was three miles away but I’d cycle there on my own three times a week, more often in the holidays, from the age of ten. We didn’t have money to spare then and it was wonderful to be able to take out any three books every visit. Our own children were regular visitors to our local library and are enthusiastic readers themselves now. Many of our libraries have closed due to spending cuts and it’s impossible to justify in my eyes. Thanks for this, Mae – I need to check out our nearest one and see what else it has to offer. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love that you were so persistent in cycling to your library, Trish. Ours was a good distance away and only reachable by car, but my parents made it an adventure for me every weekend. And I love that you passed on your enthusiasm for both libraries and for reading to your children. I’m so thankful my parents did that for me.

      Sadly, as you said, libraries are often hit with spending cuts. The pandemic also took a big toll. My library has sprung back but it took time, especially with live presentation programs. I’m thankful to say they are now thriving. I hope you find plenty of goodies at your local library! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Libraries fed my love of reading and need to escape the world around me. We moved a lot when I was a kid, and one of the first things I did was learn where my nearest library was. I didn’t have the money to buy books, so my library was my only access to both fiction and non-fiction reads. Long live libraries! In Cornwall, I have to use a BorrowBox app instead of Libby. It’s more limited in function but it gives me digital access. Great share, Mae 💕🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • I love how you hunted down the nearest library each time you moved, Harmony. We moved a couple of times when I was between 2 and 7, but when I was seven, we settled in one place and stayed there. I can imagine how books would help with moving around a lot. They are friends you can always count on. I’m also glad BorrowBox is an option for you. Finding digital access through my local library has opened a new avenue of reading for me.

      As you said–Long live libraries! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. My small town didn’t have a library until after I was grown. But I have fond memories of the school library. During the school year, I always had a book checked out (fiction, of course.) I love Libby and utilize it often. I’ve not heard of Gale courses, but I’ll check into them. Interesting about your father preferring non-fiction.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think most libraries offer Gale Courses, Joan. They are wonderful! And they’re free as long as you’re a library member. I think I’m going to retake my Spanish course once I get some breathing room. I took the first one, but I think there were three total going from beginner to advanced.

      School libraries were wonderful, too. I used to always look forward to the day when my class got to go there. I went to private school for three years and we didn’t have a library but in fourth grade when I switched to public school, I still remember the first book I checked out of the school library and how a whole new world opened up to me.

      I do read a number of non-fiction books each year, but nothing like my father did. Fiction is my preference, but if a topic interests me, I can get lost in the pages of a non-fiction book!

      Liked by 1 person

We'd love to know what you think. Comment below.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s