In our time of economic crisis, libraries are under attack as “luxuries” and “expendable” parts of our society. This could not be further from the truth. Library usage increases exponentially when people are suffering financially. More than offering excellent resources for job seekers, libraries provide a warm, calming space to gather one’s strength and face the world. As I look at the tableau of human life at my library, I spy young mothers with their excited children, vocal teenagers, elderly people, and shy hipsters. Each has come to the library for a different purpose, and yet, the library will fit their needs. This week (April 11-17) is National Library Week, and it should give us pause to consider how our lives are enriched by libraries and librarians. I visit my local library, the Northtown branch of Chicago Public Libraries, at least once a week. Sometimes I go there more often than Jewel (gasp!). I asked my friends on Facebook to offer suggestions of how to show my appreciation for these librarians, which included books, drugs, action figures, and an assortment of cheese. The best (and most practical) advice came from Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, Chains, and Wintergirls. She said to send “a copy of the letter you send to local and state officials explaining how much you appreciate the work of that librarian, and how pleased you are that taxpayer dollars provide such a great community benefit. That, and flowers." I plan on doing just that, and including chocolate to add a personal touch. Whatever you do to recognize your local librarian, it’s time to show our support and gratitude.
Other suggestions to show your appreciation:
1. Simply tell them thank you and how much you appreciate their hard work.
2. Donate books to your local library.
3. Write a thank-you note to the person (parent, guardian, friend) who encouraged you to use the library.
4. Create a homemade card, poster, or bookmark.
5. Participate in events at your library.