National Library Week

I am the type of person who is always reading a book. Fiction or nonfiction, I love feeling the paper between my fingers and picturing the words come alive in my head. One of my favorite places to be is a library. As I walk through the front door, I am excited to see what new books I’ll find. The possibilities are endless.

From April 9 – 15, libraries across the country will be celebrating National Library Week. Sponsored by the American Library Association, the purpose of the week is to honor the contribution of libraries and help promote their use to the community. This year’s theme is “Libraries Transform.” Throughout the week, various events are held, including April 11 as National Library Workers Day, April 12 as National Bookmobile Day, and April 13 as Support Teen Literature Day.

The history of National Library Week dates back to the 1950s. During this decade, the popularity of radio and television grew. Quickly, more people were spending more time in front of a screen than a book. In an effort to promote reading, the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers created the National Book Committee. Their goals included encouraging people to read and helping them develop a strong and happy life. In 1957, a plan for National Library Week emerged. Its purpose was to motivate people to read and use their town’s libraries. A year later, in 1958, the first National Library Week was recognized, and the theme was “Wake Up and Read.” Since then, the week has become an annual celebration.

Libraries throughout Forsyth County will be participating in the week with various events. But, did you know you can use the library as a resource for many different things besides reading? In addition to checking out books, library users can check out movies and music. They can also use the facilities’ computers for research. From home, people can search the library’s database for archival information related to the city and surrounding areas. Lastly, various events are held throughout the year, and they are free to the public. These events include preschool and toddler story time, teen events, movie showings, and club meetings.

Libraries serve people of all ages and have one mission: to get people reading. Research shows young adults are more likely to read a book than older adults. Reading provides an escape from reality and daily stress, but that’s just one of the many benefits of reading for adults. This habit helps keep your brain active and healthy. It provides mental stimulation and can help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Reading a new book provides a person with new knowledge and information. Most of the books I like to read are nonfiction because I love learning something new. Who knows? You might be on a game show one day and will know the correct answer to a million dollar question because of a book you read. The more knowledge of various topics you know, the better equipped you’ll be for different situations in life. Also, books open doors to new languages, cultural backgrounds, and history.

Remember that new word you learned from a book and now use in conversation? Yes, reading helps build vocabulary and memory skills, and can also improve analytical thinking skills, focus, and concentration. Putting together the details of the plot or solving a mystery before the story ends are two examples of how analytical thinking skills come into play. Last, but not least, reading is a free hobby and source of entertainment for many people. Every storyline imaginable has been published. Whether it is in a book, e-book, magazine, biography, classic literature, or poetry, there literally is something for everyone.

Take the time during this year’s National Library Week to visit your local library. Thank the librarians and staff for their contributions to the community. Also, spend time exploring the library. Sit down and relax with a good book and then take one or two home to read. The benefits of libraries are unlimited with something for every age of life. Take advantage of your local library and discover the love of reading.