Did you know that this is National Library Week? Each year, since 1957, a week in early April has been set aside to celebrate libraries and the good work they do. The purpose of National Library Week is to spread the word about libraries and encourage individuals and communities to use and support them. It started out in the United States, but in the decades since the first National Library Week, the celebration has spread around the world. Now it is observed in places as far-flung as Jamaica, India, the UK, Australia, and South Africa. Locally, JCLS is celebrating with special stickers that can be claimed at our branches and other locations in the community, as well as a limited-edition Shakespeare-themed library card for folks who sign up this week. 

Each year during this special week, we celebrate the Right to Read, we thank library workers for what they do, we make a point to applaud the creative ways libraries take their services into our communities, and we take action to support our libraries and ensure their future. Of course, it is always a good time to celebrate libraries, but this week is set aside to draw attention to them. 

So how will you celebrate? Just using the library is a great start. Checking things out from the library demonstrates demand for our collections, using our computers and other services shows that they are needed in our communities, and coming to library programs tells us we’re providing opportunities to learn and connect that you value.  But if you’re interested in walking even further down the road of library advocacy, I have a few suggestions for you. 

  • Ask your friends if they have library cards. If they don’t, let them know that they’re free and available to anyone with a Jackson County address. 
  • Tell people why you value your library. We try to have something for everyone, so what do we have that is important to you? 
  • Don’t forget to mention that a library card means access to eBooks, online audio books, streaming movies, and more, and that we have specialized staff members who are very good at getting people set up to access them. 
  • Come say hello to library staff at festivals and special events around the county, such as this weekend’s Pear Blossom Parade and Festival. Our DART van will be there and pops up all over the place, bringing access to library resources and technology to places outside the library walls. In addition to festivals, DART also has a regular schedule of stops planned to meet the needs of people who might find it harder to go to a library branch for their library business. 
  • Is there something you really appreciate about the library, and you want to make sure we know about it? Leave a comment card in person at your branch or contact us another way to let us know. 
  • While you’re in writing mode, you could write to your local, state, or national representatives in government to tell them why you support libraries.  
  • JCLS has an elected Board of Directors. You could write to them, too. You could also attend a Board meeting. They are open to the public and take place on the third Monday of each month at the Medford Library
  • Another upcoming meeting you’re invited to attend is the JCLS Facilities Master Plan Listening Session on Tuesday, April 16th at 5:30pm. It takes place at the Medford Library, but will be livestreamed at the Ashland, Eagle Point, Central Point, and Rogue River branches, with opportunities to learn about and give feedback on the conclusions formed so far that will shape the future of our library buildings. 
  • There are many more ways to get involved with the library on an ongoing basis, from joining the Friends of the Library in your community to donating to — or otherwise supporting — the Jackson County Library Foundation, to volunteering at your local branch.  

However you decide to celebrate National Library Week, whether it is a simple thank you or making a project of library advocacy, know that your libraries appreciate your support. All year long libraries are out there, working hard to make a positive difference for individuals and communities. This week, and every week, JCLS is here for you.