Coming into the Reader Development post at the tail end of 2015, when most library services have already been thinking about National Libraries Day for months, I thought that due to time constraints, we might sadly have to let this celebration go by.
But early in January I decided just to take a look at the fabulous website and when I saw the amazing range of events that libraries across the land have hosted over the past few years, I got very excited. I realised that with a tiny bit of organisation, and the natural enthusiasm of all the library staff, it would be easy to get at least one event – even if it was just a “Love your Library” book display – going at each branch which opens on Saturdays.
Looking through the event ideas and the photos posted, I was quickly reminded of the reasons that I love libraries and so surely everyone else could be prompted to remember their own reasons too. And if we could generate enough excitement, we could encourage even more people to come into Bury Libraries and celebrate with us.
But the approach would have to be a low-maintenance one; time pressures are a big issue and I wanted staff to feel directly involved in celebrating their own library, and to want to take part. To enjoy themselves, and not to feel as if another job was being foisted on them.
So I wrote a love letter to libraries, which I shared with the library staff, hoping to re-ignite that same excitement in them. And it went like this:
I love libraries. I love that they are full of free books. I love that they are different things to different people – a place to catch up on the news, surf the ‘net, meet friends, sing to babies, knit and natter, make cards, talk about history….the list is endless.
I know that we all love libraries for different reasons, and sometimes in the day to day grind we forget why we fell in love with them. So National Libraries Day is a chance to remind ourselves why we love libraries and to share that with everyone else who loves libraries too.
If you’re in work in National Libraries Day, would you like to spread the love by celebrating?
I put together a list of simple but effective ideas to inspire everyone and held my breath…
And it worked!
Between us we have arranged sixteen events over that weekend; from local history exhibitions, to knit and natter demonstrations, craft sessions with badges; bookmarks and paper, to story times and Book Doctor consultations. There will also, of course, be ample opportunities for library users to share their own reasons for loving libraries, by posting messages on our Library Walls of Love. And there will be lots of lovingly hand-picked displays from which to choose your next book.
So now it’s down to you, dear readers. We’d love you to make our efforts really shine by sharing National Libraries Day 2016 with you – if you’re near one of our branches, please do drop in & celebrate with us.
Fiona (Reader Development Team)