Libraries Lead

This past week, April 8th to 14th, was National Library Week! Hooray! We hope everyone celebrated appropriately with books and movies borrowed from your library. If not, don’t worry, Governor Cooper has declared this month as Library Appreciation Month! 

National Library Week was first officially sponsored in 1958, making this the 60th anniversary!

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This week is an opportunity, set up by the American Library Association, to bring libraries into the community spotlight. After seeing the dismal results of two national surveys, one in 1955, the other in 1958, that showed that two-thirds of adults had not read any book other than the Bible, and only 17% of Americans were currently reading a book, the American Library Association started the National Book Committee, which started National Library Week, as a means of fighting these statistics.

Each year the ALA picks a new theme for the week and this year’s theme was “Libraries Lead”. The idea behind this phrase is that your local library can provide you with a wealth of opportunities that can lift you up and support you on your path to become a leader in your community. Did you know that here at the Fontana Regional Library System we have thousands of academic articles at our fingertips? Check out NC Live next time you have a paper to write. If your child or grandchild is working on a school project, search SIRS Discover, in the NC Live search-bar, and a database will pop up that can provide you with information on so many different subjects at an elementary, middle school or high school level. They even provide you with a citation that you can copy and paste into your paper!

Now some of the databases on NC Live may require you to put in your library card number and some require you to create an account. But as a member of the Fontana Regional Library System, you are eligible to view scholarly articles, journals and books that have all been approved as legitimate sources! This is just one way that your library can help you succeed. NC Live also has a link to a program called Mango Languages. This language learning app is easy and fun to use and would normally cost something like $20 a month but with your library account, you can have full access for free. Mango has over seventy languages to choose from, including Pirate. Ahoooooy!

Okay, so your community probably doesn’t have a growing pirate population but it might have a growing Spanish speaking population so download the Mango app, tell it your library card number, and start communicating with the people in your community that need your help. The Latino Migration Experience in North Carolina Follow this link to an e-book by Hannah Gill, on the topic of immigration specifically in North Carolina, which has one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the country.  

Each year, the ALA nominates someone to serve as the Honorary Chair of National Library Week and this year, we have Misty Copeland. Misty is an amazing ballerina, the first African American woman to be a Principal Dancer at the American Ballet Theater, and the author of many best selling books, including “Ballerina Body”, which has been a bestseller on Amazon and the New York Times. On how libraries influenced her life, Misty says: “As a child, the library was a place to dream, learn, and escape. When you don’t have the means to travel or see possibilities for yourself, you can be transported through books and pushed to use your imagination.”

So where has the library led you? As a library employee, I can say that the library has led me to a steady career, a purpose, new friends and new responsibilities. The credit for my love for libraries has to go to my grandmother, who brought my friends, my sister and I to the library regularly. Growing up I must have spent 50% of my summer break in the library, sitting on the floor reading comic books (and probably driving the librarians crazy). The other half was spent riding our bikes around town, saving the world from evil monsters and cruel overlords. Check out my biopic here: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The time spent in the library instilled in me a love for books, which helped me to graduate high school and then get my college degree in French Language and Literature. I’m so grateful to my grandma for leading me to the library, and I hope that you will lead someone to the library one day too! Let us know where the library has led you in the comments below.