During the month of April, the American Library Association celebrates National Library Week. This year the event will be held from April 9th–15th, with the theme “Libraries Transform.” The purpose of the week is to promote library use and honor libraries’ contributions to the community. Throughout the week, various events will take place, such as National Library Workers’ Day, National Bookmobile Day, and Support Teen Literature Day.
National Library Week was created in response to research conducted in the 1950s. During this time, people spent more time and money on radio and television than on books. To help reverse the decline of reading, the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers developed the National Book Committee. In 1957, the group created the plans for the first National Library Week to promote libraries and their uses. A year later, in 1958, National Library Week was recognized, and the theme was “Wake Up and Read.” Since then, the event has become an annual celebration. Libraries throughout Forsyth County will be participating in the week with various events.
One of the main goals of National Library Week is to encourage people of all ages to read. I remember being in elementary school and always looking forward to library time. There was nothing better than picking out a new, exciting book and then taking it home to read. For children, reading helps them build their vocabulary, knowledge, and thinking skills. It also helps with a child’s imagination and opens the doors to other languages, cultures, and periods in history.
Libraries offer many resources to children and families. For children, Forsyth County libraries hold preschool and toddler storytimes, have digital resources for homework help and research, and an online collection full of children’s e-books. Resources for teens include databases for archival research of the city and surrounding areas, and various events throughout the year. For all ages, the library holds the opportunity of endless amounts of books and learning through reading.
Sometimes it can be hard to get a child or teenager to read. Along with the already mentioned advantages, reading provides children a chance to gain self-esteem and improve their communication skills. Learning and increasing their knowledge about various topics from books will give children a stronger self-image, a sense of confidence, and a higher academic standing. Another benefit is improved focus and concentration, which is a much-needed asset for the classroom. Think of reading as an exercise for the brain. With anything, practice makes perfect. The more a student reads, the better he or she will be at it. This will also help when it comes to completing reading comprehension in standardized tests at school. Lastly, reading helps children develop empathy. They will often picture how they would feel in a character’s situation and how they would react.
Books can also benefit families. Parents are encouraged to spend time reading with their young children and help build their bond. Set aside a time each day to read and make it a priority. It can either be as simple as sitting together on the couch for 20 minutes or reading together before bedtime. Parents will experience special moments, and kids will learn about complex themes and situations in books while in a safe space. Also, it is important for children to see parents reading. Teaching by example is powerful and can have a significant influence on a child.
There are many ways to get your child reading. Some options include parents and children taking turns reading out loud, offering an incentive program, reading road and street signs while in the car, picking a book series to read, and looking beyond books. Have your child read menus in restaurants, directions to their favorite board game, or the titles of newspaper articles. Also, pick a day of the week and make it “library day.” Take a trip to the local library and spend some time looking around and reading. Don’t forget to take a book or two home with you.
National Library Week occurs once a year. Get to know your town’s library a little bit better during that week and thank the librarians and staff for their dedication to the community. Then, remember what you and your family learned and make going to the library and using their resources a priority all year long.