Libraries for All Seasons

Advocating and celebrating libraries and library workers

May 6, 2015

Courtney L. Young

Spring is finally here. Many of us endured a long, cold winter that seemed like it would never end. The Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits in Chicago also felt winter’s bite, but that didn’t stop us from having a great meeting. Thankfully, the frigid temperatures have been replaced with warmer weather, and the graying mountains of snow that were surrounding us have yielded to blooming bulbs.

Spring also signals the end of the academic year, as students complete end-of-semester assignments and prepare for finals and graduation. It means poring through catalogs and finalizing lists for summer reading programs. To help usher in the season, we look to the opportunities that ensure everyone has libraries on their minds.

Spring provides us with the chance to celebrate National Library Week, which was April 12–18 this year. The theme for 2015, “Unlimited Possibilities @ your library,” highlighted the transformative potential of all libraries. Bestselling author David Baldacci served as honorary chair. From providing a diverse array of expected and unexpected materials (cake pans, anyone?), dynamic facilities, and community-focused services, libraries of all types remain focused on meeting—and sometimes exceeding—the needs of our users.

On the Tuesday of each National Library Week is National Library Workers’ Day. With the tagline “Libraries work because we do,” this special day shines a bright spotlight on the vital roles that all library employees and volunteers play every day at our respective libraries. Their valiant efforts are to be commended and celebrated. Working toward this end is the ALA–Allied Professional Association, which recognizes the potential and worth of every library worker by creating advancement and certification opportunities for professional growth and by championing pay equity and recognition for the jobs we do.

On Wednesday, April 15, we recognized the contributions of our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible, with National Bookmobile Day. Thursday, April 16, was Celebrate Teen Literature Day, aimed at raising awareness among the public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens.

Spring is also the time for ­National Library Legislative Day, which takes place this year for the 41st time on May 4–5. Thousands of library supporters will make their presence felt on Capitol Hill and online (via Virtual Library Legislative Day) to let their representatives know how important funding for libraries of all types is for our nation’s present and future.

Although the Federal Communications Commission recently voted in favor of a strong net neutrality rule to keep the internet open and free, there is still a ways to go. Librarians must continue to be critical supporters, upholding net neutrality’s importance and educating both legislators and voters on this imperative. In a still-­challenged economy, librarians must remind our nation’s leaders of just how essential E-Rate support is and call attention to the vital difference that school librarians make in a child’s education.

This summer, we look forward to the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco. It promises to be an exceptional conference where the fruits of the past year’s labor (including the strategic planning process) will be enjoyed. I encourage you to take a moment to think about how these events provide the foundation for growth in the year ahead. They, too, are a part of what ALA Past President Jim Rettig referred to as the ecosystem of libraries. Enjoy each season and use it as an opportunity to advocate for and celebrate libraries.


2015 Library Systems Report

Library Systems Report

Operationalizing innovation

2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco

2015 ALA Annual Must-Dos

San Francisco, June 25–30