April is a very special month for libraries: The second week is National Library Week, and all of April is School Library Month.
I wondered why National Library Week was created and found out that the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers joined together in 1954 to create the National Book Committee. This committee’s goal was to encourage people to read. They also believed if more people started to read they would support and use libraries.
As I read about the history of National Library Week and School Library Month I began to think about the various posters in the Library of Congress online collections that encourage people to visit libraries or to read. The Library War Service created a number of posters to solicit books and to encourage U.S. soldiers to visit their libraries.
Later, during the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration created a collection of posters to encourage people to read and protect books, visit libraries, and take the opportunity to learn and gain skills and knowledge.
Compare these posters to some of the early posters created for National Library Week and Book Week, celebrated in November, that support children’s books and reading.
Ask your students to identify similarities and differences. Do they think that the posters were successful in conveying the importance of books and reading to the community? What would they do if they were creating a campaign to encourage others to use libraries?
Let us know how you and your students are celebrating libraries and the joys of reading.