April 13th through April 19th is National Library Week! This year's theme is "Join the circle of knowledge @ your library®."
Why am I blogging about National Library Week? Several reasons really.
1. Aahz from Morgan Hill Review posted an article about library funding or lack thereof and one of the reasons people thought libraries should be funded was a bit ridiculous to me. He's asked for some response to his review. I'm responding.
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 ALA (American Library Association) 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.
National Library Week is observed each year in April, generally the second full week.
My niece Marley loves books. LOVES them. She just turned two and while she can't read yet, she can count to ten, is learning her colors and shapes, and can say her ABC's. If you point to words on a book, or writing on someones shirt and ask her what it is. She'll tell you "That's ABC's". So she's not just regurgitating something she's memorized but doesn't know. She knows what letters and numbers are.
She also has a book case in her room slam full of books. My sister (her mom) reads to her, my brother in law reads to her, my mom (her gramsy) reads to her, her papa & grandma, her aunts and uncles, all read to her. Every time I visit I read to her. She'll sit in your lap and look at the pictures and ask "What is that" and she actually says "what is that", no baby talk or toddler jargon with this one. She has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and is always wanting to know what things are and usually remembers after the first time you tell her. One of my most favorite pictures is of her dad reading to her around Christmas time.
One of the things that really bothered me in the Morgan Hill review article is a part that said something along the lines of "If I saved the $195 the government taxes me to pay for libraries I could buy all the books I wanted". I don't know where this guy is shopping for books but $195 a year isn't going to buy much. At anywhere from $7 to $35 a book (and up!) at Barns & Noble or BooksAMillion, that's what, 10-15 books? I usually read between 1 to 4 books a week. Not little 130 page paper backs either. I do read those but it's usually in one 2 or 3 hour sitting. Even in I averaged only 2 books a week that is 104 books in a year. If I didn't have the library I'd easily spend $1,500 or more to buy books. Actually.. I take that back. I wouldn't spend that much money because I don't have that much extra money for buying books. Without the library I wouldn't be able to read as much as I like.
When I go to the library, which is pretty often, I'll check out 5 or 6 books at a time. I mean you get to keep them for a month. And it's FREE. Libraries have study programs, after school homework assistance programs, book clubs, classes on how to do genealogy research, basic Microsoft word, excel and other computer programs. Heck the libraries in Mobile even have a movie night. They show family friendly kid movies, old classics and current releases.
Thanks to having a love of books instilled in me at an early age I've always excelled in school, can write one hell of a term paper, present myself articulately and intelligently in interviews, and well a plethora of other little things that serve me well in every day life. I'm a great speller, pretty darn good at proper grammar and speak in full coherent (usually slang free) sentences. I also never use "big words" in the wrong context. A personal pet peeve of mine is people who use "big words" to try and sound smart but don't know the meaning of the word and use it in completely the wrong way. FYI to those who do this.. it makes you look stupid. Sorry but it's true.
I was a very active child, always participating in sports and other extra-curricular activities but my love for books and reading was always present. In a book you can find a new world, explore new possibilities, dreams, hopes and fantasies beyond your wildest imagination. You can escape in the story, get lost in a romance, sucked into an adventure, or become glued to the edge of your seat in a thriller. There's really not one part of a person that reading isn't good for. It soothes the soul, expands the mind and touches the heart. Without libraries where would everyone who couldn't afford to go buy a $10 book get stuff to read? Most libraries now offer free Internet and computer use. You can search for a job, look for a house, write a paper, do research for a report and most libraries these days even have video rental! I mean hello.. for those that would rather sit in front of the TV than read a book you can go rent the entire season collection of Lost, Greys Anatomy or almost any other TV series or movie you can think of and it's usually free!
In the words of one of my favorite childhood show theme songs....
Take a look....
It's in a book.......