National Library Week: Libraries Lead

Apr 05, 2018
Written by cmcguire

April 8-14 is National Library Week, an annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries are not just places to borrow books or study—they are also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies and develop their skills and passions. The Leavenworth Public Library is celebrating the many ways libraries lead their communities through the transformative services, programs and expertise they offer with two special programs: 

  • Bráulio Bosi, Classical Guitar – Sunday, April 8 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Born in Brazil, Bráulio has been playing guitar since age 13. He is the guitar instructor at the prestigious Conservatory of Music and Dance at University of Missouri-Kansas City.

  • Annette Hope Billings, “Maya of the Midwest” – Saturday, April 14 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Annette is a Kansas poet, playwright, actress and nurse, who now offers care by sharing her poetry and prose.

Our library has evolved to meet the needs of Leavenworth residents since the early 1900s. Diverse groups including elected officials, church leaders, small business owners, parents and students depend upon the resources we offer. E-books, online materials and programs for all age groups are just a few ways we are transforming to lead in our community.
In addition, the Library helps lead our community by advocating for early childhood literacy, lifelong learning, free internet access for everyone and freedom of speech. We are dedicated to level the playing field for anyone who seeks information and access to technologies to improve their quality of life.

In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee's goals were ambitious. They ranged from "encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time" to "improving incomes and health" and "developing strong and happy family life." 

In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme "Wake Up and Read!"

National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship.

During the past thirty years, rapid advances in technology, the Internet and portable devices again affected public use of libraries. However, we continue to change and adapt by offering free access to online books, movies, music and learning resources in a digital space that increasingly requires users to pay for services.  

We are happy to lead the way for our patrons with access to free digital and print resources, staff expertise and community spaces.