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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Library Week 2011 - 50 Ways To Get Involved

Visit your local library today!
National Library Week is April 11 this year, and this week-long celebration gives individuals a chance to truly recognize all the great things these ancient institutions have to offer. From free books to career courses, libraries are a source of information and inspiration for young minds and can be a lifesaver for those facing tough economic times.

Whether you choose to honor your college library or one in your community, here are a few ways that you can use this week to promote, appreciate and praise your local cornerstones.

Personal
Here you'll find some ways that you can celebrate all the things libraries have to offer you and the ways they've shaped your life.
  1. Head to your local library. Your first step in celebrating? Head down to your library to pick up a book, get some peace and quiet or find help with research.
  2. Have a book buffet. If you can gorge yourself on food, why not books too? Check out a ton of books at the library and spend the whole day looking through and reading them.
  3. Compile a booklist. You can share your love of literature with others by creating a booklist. It can be of your favorite books overall or in a specific genre, year or language.
  4. Do some writing of your own. Write out a story or essay inspired by your experiences with libraries.
  5. Organize your own bookshelf. Pay homage to the beauty of the Dewey Decimal system by organizing your own library in the same way.
  6. Check out a banned book. Libraries have been fighting against the banning of books for decades. Honor that work by checking out one of those blacklisted reads.
  7. Take a trip to a beautiful library. Always wanted to see the nation's biggest, best and most beautiful libraries? There's better time than National Library Week to appreciate the true beauty of library architecture.
  8. Figure out how much money your library can save you. Do the math and see just how much your library has saved you through not having to buy books, movies, magazines and more.
  9. Follow a book blog. There are loads of librarians, libraries and book lovers who are blogging. Start reading one of their blogs or even start your own.
  10. Study. The library is the perfect place to have the quiet, distraction-free study you need.
  11. Sew your own book bag. Tired of lugging around stacks of books in your arms? Sew your own commemorative book bag to haul your library loot in instead.
  12. Learn about something new. How many times have you wondered about something but never bothered to look it up? This week, use your time at the library to learn something you've always wanted to know.
  13. Create your own library story. The ALA asks library patrons to take part in Snapshot Day. Patrons can take photos of how they use the library and put together their own stories.
  14. Just enjoy a day at the library. Clear your schedule and relax at your local library for a day. With loads of reading material, resources and a comfy chair, you won't need to leave. Library Resources
    What better way to appreciate your library than by taking advantage of all the services it has to offer? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
  15. Visit a bookmobile. If you don't live by a local library, take advantage of this amazing service provided by libraries.
  16. Take advantage of the free wifi. Libraries are great places to plug in and sign on to the web, giving you access to a whole other world of information.
  17. Download an e-book or audio book. Many libraries around the nation now offer free digital book checkouts online. Patrons only need to sign in and download materials to listen to or read books on the go.
  18. Delve into alternative library collections. Your library might be home to more than just books and magazines. Many offer access to art, maps, video games and other forms of media you might not have even known was available.
  19. Check out a picture book. For most, a love of library started as a child. Relive that experience by checking out your favorite picture or children's book.
  20. Find an old or new favorite movie. Why head to Blockbuster when you can rent movies for free at the library? Check out your library's collection of DVDs to see movies new and old.
  21. Get help with your resume. Many libraries offer career services programs that can help those who are looking for work or advancement get the help they need. Check out your local branch's schedule to see what kind of activities are coming up.
  22. Take advantage of interlibrary loans. Live by a small library? You may not be limited to just their collections. Many will offer you books from other libraries as well, all you have to do is ask.
  23. Check out library-related social media. Libraries are reaching out and connecting with patrons in a variety of new ways. Follow their Twitter, Facebook or blogs to support the work your library is doing to stay current and engaged in the community.Librarians Librarians often work very hard and don't get a lot of thanks for it. Remedy that by trying out some of these ideas.
  24. Thank a librarian. It's a simple and effective way to show them that you care about and appreciate the work that they do.
  25. Get to know the staff. If you're a regular at the library, make it a point to get to know more about those who work there.
  26. Ask questions. Librarians are there to help you, so take advantage of their knowledge. They may be able to point you to resources you wouldn't have found on your own.
  27. Write a letter. Did a librarian make a difference in your life? Write him or her a letter of thanks. You'll more than likely make their day.
  28. Recognize a star librarian. The many national and local library associations have a program that lets local communities pick out librarians or teams that truly stand out, giving them the recognition they deserve.
  29. Sponsor a party for your local library. What better way to show your appreciation than by helping your librarians have a good time? Donate money, treats or time to help arrange a party.
  30. Take advantage of library celebrations. Don't be a no-show when it comes to library celebrations. Do what you can to always make those who work in your library feel like the community is behind them.Community
    Spread your love of libraries to the larger community by giving these ideas a go.
  31. Read a story to someone. Whether it's a child or someone who can no longer read to themselves, share a wonderful library book with someone else by reading it aloud.
  32. Enjoy a community program at your library. Libraries offer a wide range of community programs, from those that encourage kids to read to those that let you listen to famous authors speak. Take advantage when you can, especially during National Library Week.
  33. Spread the word about libraries. Get the word out about what libraries have to offer the community and become an activist for the work they do. Even a small contribution can make a difference.
  34. Meet a friend. Libraries aren't just places to get books but can be great places to meet a friend, study with a group and spend time with the family.
  35. Bring someone new to a library. Have a friend that's never been to the local library? Take them along to introduce them to what the library has to offer.
  36. Volunteer at a library. Sometimes libraries need help with programs and events. Volunteer your time to help.
  37. Tweet it. Get the word out about the benefits of libraries through great sites like Twitter.
  38. Get someone to sign up for a library card. Spread the wealth of libraries by getting a friend or family member to sign up for their own library card.
  39. Share a book. Expand the impact libraries have had on your own life by sharing one of your favorite reads with someone else.
  40. Like it on Facebook. The ALA, National Library Week, Librarian Appreciation programs and more all have Facebook sites. Like these sites to support them and keep up with the latest news.
  41. Join an online book social network. You can connect with others who love literature and libraries through joining a reading-focused social network site like Goodreads.
Support and Advocacy

Extend the impact of National Library Week well beyond April by getting involved with libraries in some of these great ways.
  1. Write a letter to your local representatives. Funding for libraries has been a contentious political issue as of late. Write to your local representatives, whether at the city, state or federal level, to let them know how much you appreciate library services and their continuation.
  2. Help promote your local library. There are loads of materials you can buy that will help you spread the word about your local library.
  3. Make a donation. Libraries can always use your financial help. Make a charitable donation to one that's special to you, even if it's small it can help.
  4. Help your library win funds. There are a number of contests out there that you can enter to help your local library win funding. Have fun competing and battling it out to get those winnings for your library.
  5. Donate to a literacy program. Help ensure that everyone in your community can take advantage of your library by sponsoring a literacy program.
  6. Join a group that supports libraries. There are loads of local organizations (usually Friends of such and such Library) that are dedicated to supporting your library. Join to help them in the work that they do.
  7. Donate books to a school classroom. Many local schools are struggling to make ends meet. Help the kids get the education they deserve by making a donation of books to the library or a classroom.
  8. Wear a t-shirt. Spread the word about National Library Week through your apparel by wearing a shirt supporting your local library.
  9. Celebrate reading holidays. Finally, never miss a reading-related holiday. Use author's birthdays, library celebrations and more as a chance to honor the great things books have done for the world.
Special contributor:  Carol Brown of OnlineCollege.org

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