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It’s National Library Week!

Did you know that this week (April 3-9) is National Library Week? Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), the theme of this year’s celebration is “Connect with Your Library.” While libraries connect users to resources, they also offer opportunities to connect with media, programs, and classes. National Library Week is dedicated to highlighting the essential role libraries and library workers play in changing lives and bolstering communities.

This year’s Honorary Chair of National Library Week is Molly Shannon, a former cast member of television’s Saturday Night Live, and someone who has a personal connection with libraries. She told ALA, “I am so honored to serve as honorary chair of National Library Week for 2022. My mom was a librarian. She encouraged kids to read. So, the work of librarians and libraries has such a special place in my heart.”

Research in the early 1950’s revealed that Americans were spending more time away from books, instead listening to the radio and watching television. In 1954, a nonprofit National Book Committee was established between the ALA and the American Book Publishers. In 1957 the committee developed the concept for National Library Week, hoping that it would inspire people to read and to support libraries. The theme of the first National Library Week in 1958 was “Wake up and Read!”

Not only do libraries provide us with books to read, but they offer valuable tools and resources. Libraries are continually changing to meet the demands of today’s emerging technology and ever-expanding volumes of knowledge. Technology and those who coordinate the effort to keep them up to date have been challenged to provide a wide range of media, and we strive to meet the need.

Here in the NLS Music Section, we are proud to be able to connect with our patrons on a daily basis so “That All May Read.” Whether it’s a phone conversation, answering email, or responding to comments on this blog, our patrons are the most important part of our mission. We are also thrilled to be a part of the National Library Service, a network of libraries serving blind and print disabled U.S. citizens at home and abroad. Beginning with 19 libraries in 1931, the network has expanded to 55 regional libraries, 26 subregional libraries, and 16 advisory and outreach centers serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. Finally, we are proud to operate under the umbrella of the Library of Congress and to be part of such a rich history and an iconic institution.

Would you like to connect more with the NLS Music Section? You can call us at 1-800-424-8567, ext. 2, or e-mail us at [email protected]. You can access many of our materials any time using Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) and BARD Access. Have our services impacted your life in a way that you would like to share? If so, please leave us a comment below. We would love to hear from you! Would you like to reach out to your regional NLS-affiliated library? You can find it here.

Below are some additional resources that highlight the work and history of libraries in honor of National Library Week. We look forward to connecting with you! Happy National Library Week, everyone!

That All May Read: Library Service for Blind and Physically Handicapped People. Describes the laws and agencies serving handicapped people; gives a history of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled; identifies sources of special media materials and reading aids; analyzes the characteristics of blind and handicapped readers; discusses the role of state, public, and academic libraries; and reviews activities abroad and internationally. Braille: BR 16594Audio Book: DB 20002

Braille into the Next Millennium. Essays examining the history and future of braille include such topics as the development of the literary, Nemeth, and music codes; braille production; legal issues; library service; and literacy and computer access concerns. Edited by Judith Dixon, with a foreword by Frank Kurt Cylke and a preface by Kenneth Jernigan. Braille: BR 13188; Audio Book: DB 50969

Speaking Out: Personal and Professional Views on Library Service for Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals. Candid interviews with users, practitioners, and students. Finding that library services for them are often substandard, disabled readers plead for easy and cordial access to the same services and programs that sighted readers enjoy. (DB 19131)


Here is a recent blog post about Etta Josselyn Giffin, who was the first Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled.

Recently, our offerings expanded greatly under the Marrakesh Treaty.

From our Library of Congress colleagues in the Law Library, here is a post from last year celebrating National Library Week, bringing well-deserved attention to notable librarians.


Finally, one of my favorite things about going to any library is getting reading recommendations from a librarian. Here are some of my favorite selections that we have in the NLS Music Section:

Burton, Humphrey. Leonard Bernstein. Portrait of a multifaceted American musician. The author dwells on the contrasts that made Bernstein a controversial figure–one who seemed equally at home in the classical and popular worlds; who was comfortable lecturing, performing, or conducting; and whose flamboyant public image was often at odds with his introspective and reflective nature. The Library of Congress has a prolific Leonard Bernstein Collection. (DB 39224)

Copland, Aaron. The Cat and the Mouse. For piano in bar over bar format. (BRM22412)

Hindemith, Paul. Six Chansons: for Four-Part Chorus of Mixed Voices, No. 5, “In Winter.” SATB a cappella score is in line by line format, and the rehearsal piano accompaniment is in bar over bar format. With text from poems by Rainer Maria Rilke. Contains words in French and English. (BRM23611)

Ives, Charles. Some South-Paw Pitching. For solo piano in bar over bar format. (BRM22906)

Ornstein, Leo. Nocturne. For clarinet and piano in line by line and bar over bar formats. (BRM33805)

Paganini, Nicolò. Caprice no. 24 from 24 Capricci. For violin in single line format. (BRM32859)

Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai. Sheherazade: Symphonic Suite for Orchestra, op. 35. Arranged for piano, two hands, in bar over bar format. (BRM37072)

Rorem, Ned. A Quiet Afternoon: For Rosemary’s Children. For piano in bar over bar format. (BRM28584)

New BARD Additions: December 2021

In this week’s NLS Music Notes blog post, we bring you the latest offerings that have been added to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download). Please enjoy this musical feast, and Happy Holidays from the NLS Music Section!

Progressive Rock, Classical Influences

Progressive Rock drew its inspiration from a number of influences. For this week’s NLS Music Notes Blog post, learn more about the classical music that inspired Rush, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, and many others!

New BARD Additions: August 2021

This month, the NLS Music Section has added many new materials to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download), including songs by Adele, Johnny Cash, and Broadway’s Robert Lopez! There are also new piano lessons from Bill Brown and new transcriptions of the Tradition of Excellence concert band method. Read on to learn more about our latest digital offerings!

NLS 90th Anniversary Virtual Concert with Matthew Whitaker

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), Library of Congress, will kick off its 90th anniversary celebration with a free virtual concert by jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker on Wednesday, March 3, at 8:00 p.m. (EST)—and you’re invited!

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: W (Part 2 – Whitaker, Matthew)

For this week’s feature on American Composers and Musicians, we will look at the remarkable life and work of jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker. He will perform a free virtual concert, which will begin streaming on the Library’s YouTube page on Wednesday, March 3, at 8:00 p.m.

Virtual Concert: Jazz Pianist Matthew Whitaker

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), Library of Congress, will kick off its 90th anniversary celebration with a free virtual concert by jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker on Wednesday, March 3, at 8:00 p.m. (EST), and you’re invited!

New BARD Additions: October 2020

The NLS Music Section is proud to announce our newest additions to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) for the month of October!