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Three Cheers for Libraries: It’s National Library Week

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Are you a lover of libraries? Then the second week of April could be your favorite week of the year: It’s National Library Week.

According the American Library Association (ALA) web site, this special week was first sponsored by ALA in 1958 as a way to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. Also, since 1985,  April has also been designated School Library Month.

Group of Young Women Reading in Library of Normal School. Francis Benjamin Johnson, 1899
Group of Young Women Reading in Library of Normal School. Francis Benjamin Johnson, 1899

Looking for ways to celebrate libraries using Library of Congress primary sources? Here are some suggestions:

Have students compare this image of a school library to their current school library. What is similar and what is different?

Use some of the tips suggested by Rebecca Newland, the Library’s Teacher in Residence and a school librarian, on engaging readers with primary sources.

Students can read one of our digitized classic books and then visit their local library to find a book on the same subject or with a similar story. What do they see as some of the similarities and differences in the way the writers or illustrators tell the stories? Would a student from the time period when the classic book was published enjoy the book written in the current day? Why or why not? Older students can do the same with historic advice books and current advice books.

Explore the ideas of National Ambassador for Young People’s literature, Kate DiCamillo, and consider the importance of story in our lives. How do stories help connect us to our friends and to the larger community?

Review the various posters used to advertise the National Book Festival. What story does each tell? Why do they think the

Little Miss Muffet...Reading a Picture Book. Arlington Gregg
Little Miss Muffet…Reading a Picture Book. Arlington Gregg

illustrator choose the images he or she used? Encourage them to design their own posters for the 2014 Book Festival.

Encourage students to locate posters that celebrated libraries and reading in the WPA Poster Collection. Why do they think these posters were created? Do they think that these kinds of posters would encourage people to visit their local libraries?

Help students find ways to “get caught reading” using Library of Congress resources.

And while you’re celebrating libraries don’t forget to celebrate the 214th birthday of the Library of Congress on April 24.

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