5 Ways to Celebrate Your Local Library For Library Lovers' Month
February might be one of the coldest and most dreary months, but it’s also a month for love. And no, we’re not talking about the heart-candy-fueled celebration of romance on the 14th. We’re talking, of course, about Library Lovers’ Month!
That’s right! From February 1st to the 28th (or 29th for leap years), it’s your time to celebrate libraries of all types — school, private, and public! And we’ve got five tips to help you do exactly that.
1. Visit it
While you might hear whispers that the institution of the library is at risk, don’t start mourning just yet. Did you know that:
- There are more public libraries than there are Starbucks in the US? As of 2016, there were a total of 16,568, including branches. So the next time you hear someone say “there’s a Starbucks on every corner,” rejoice in the fact that while this statement may feel true, libraries still reign supreme!
- In 2016, there were 1.4 billion in-person visits to public libraries in the US? This is the equivalent of 4 million visits per day — or 2,664 per minute!
It’s clear that library lovers still abound, and for good reason: according to the American Library Association, it’s been proven that libraries play a critical role in the happiness of Americans. Furthermore, communities that spend more on libraries are shown to support the well-being of their members.
So do yourself — and your local library — a favor and celebrate Library Lovers’ Month by visiting one! Being a patron really is the best way to show your love and support. And if you’re not sure where yours is, find it with the click of a button using Worldcat’s “Find My Library” tool. https://www.worldcat.org/libraries
Libraries are much more than just a bibliophile’s mecca. They act as community pillars and provide invaluable services for all citizens. According to Forbes, in 2013 more than half of the young adults and seniors living in poverty in the US used public libraries to access the internet. They use library resources to “find work, apply to college, secure government benefits, and learn about critical medical treatments.”
Libraries are able to provide all of these services, as well as countless hours of cozy reading, to Americans for an annual cost of $42 per citizen — or eleven cents a day.
If you want to make a financial donation to your library, simply search for it with the word “donate.” Or, revisit #1 and visit your local library to inquire about donations!
Don’t forget that a monetary donation isn’t the only way you can give back to your library. You can also donate time! Most libraries accept volunteers on a rolling basis throughout the year, to help support community events or clubs. This is not only a great way to support your local athenaeum; you can also meet like-minded book lovers with whom to celebrate Library Lovers’ Month!
3. Organize a book drive
This is technically another form of donation, but it’s a bigger project that deserves its own section.
Some people can’t acquire enough books. Their homes feel empty unless the walls are lined with stocked bookshelves and the corners are occupied by piled-high stacks. Others don’t see the purpose of hanging onto things that simply sit idle in their homes. This is why used bookstores are common neighborhood amenities and second-hand stores are typically stuffed with pre-loved novels.
So a great way to lend a hand to your local library is to let them lend out your old books. Organizing a smashing book drive doesn’t need to be complicated! You can keep it small and simply reach out to your friends and family, letting them know that you’re collecting used books to bring to your local library.
Then again, if you want to host a book drive on a larger community scale, there are tons of resources for you to turn to, such as this guide from United Way, these tips from Books4Cause, or this toolkit from Read to Grow.
4. Host a book tasting
I recently joined a book club, and one of my favorite things about it is that we pick a new genre to read each month. This ensures that each of the members, with our different tastes, get a chance to read the kind of books we already enjoy. But it also encourages us to read outside of our comfort zones.
A book tasting can do the same thing — most of us are creatures of habit after all, and committing to “sampling” a book might be less intimidating than signing on to read the whole thing.
Here are some tips for hosting your very own book tasting:
- Round up a group of people interested in taking part. Ideally, they’ll have wide-ranging genre tastes — someone who loves sci-fi, someone else who reads a lot of literary fiction, another person who’s very into romance, and so on.
- Ask each person to nominate 3-4 of their favorite books from their chosen genre — with the caveat that each book must be available from your local library.
- Pick a time and place for everyone to meet up. Before you host the event, head to the library to check out the nominated books.
- On the day of the event, lay all the books out, grouped into their respective genres. Make sure it’s clear what the different genres are, perhaps with different signs.
- Invite participants to look over the books — except for the ones in the genre they nominated.
- You can also invite each person to talk a little bit about why they enjoy their favorite genre, and what other readers might be able to expect from it.
- At the end of the event, each person should get paired off with a book. You can either have people vote on the book they’d like to select, or do it by random draw — again ensuring that people aren’t matched up with their own genre.
- Host a follow-up session at a later date for people to talk about how they enjoyed dabbling in a new genre!
Here’s an extra tip! If there are any genres that no one nominates, but you still want to be represented, check out “best of” lists for inspiration. Such as this list of the 100 best sci-fi books, this roundup of the 60 best fantasy books, or these 30 exceptional biographies.
5. Write thank you cards for your local librarians
Who doesn’t enjoy the gratification of being appreciated for the work they do? No one. And librarians do such important work! The Princeton Review puts it so eloquently when they write: “Librarians are the custodians of our culture’s retrievable media — books and audio and visual materials — and other data or physical objects that can be catalogued and stored.”
A wonderful way to celebrate Library Lovers’ Month is to show gratitude to the people who allow them to exist: librarians. Get together with a group of friends to make them some thank you cards. It can be as simple as that — a straightforward “thank you!” — or you can take the time to write what libraries mean to you in the cards. Then head out to deliver the cards and watch as you brighten up your local librarians’ days, one by one.
Now get out there and show your love!
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