National Library Week

Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library!
This week, April 12th through 18th, is National Library Week and the theme is “Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library!”  Check out our YouTube video to hear about the unlimited possibilities patrons have discovered here at the McAllen Public Library. Also, read the official City of McAllen Proclamation in support of National Library Week!
National Library Week began in 1958 and “is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.”

Just as some people now are afraid that the internet and television have caused people to read less (which is not true!), people in the 1950’s were afraid of the same thing, and that was the origin of National Library Week. “In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee’s goals were ambitious.   They ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing strong and happy family life.”

In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!” National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship.”

National Library Week has a different theme every year, and this year’s theme is “Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library.” Here at the McAllen Public Library, there are indeed unlimited possibilities for you to explore! Whether it is learning about a new subject through our print and digital collections, discovering a new favorite author, learning English, preparing for an exam, searching for a job, or creating a résumé, we can give you the keys to open new doors to your future. We are a bridge to knowledge, empowering the people of our community.

For example, over the past year some of our patrons have been learning English and preparing for the GED exam with classes that are taught by Region One here at the library, free of charge. It is a service provided by the library that is opening new doors and improving lives, and we are very proud to offer this service. Similarly, we are helping our patrons gain new job skills with our monthly computer classes. Our book club for adults has a very loyal group of members and has also been affecting people’s lives in a powerful way. Here is what some of the book club members have had to say:

“You helped me drop my anchor here. I’ve met fabulous folks, enjoyed doing dinner with y’all and have so enjoyed the books you pick! You should advertise with the visitors bureau! I was a visitor – and now I’m a local. Thank you!”

“You have no idea how this club somehow came into my life when I most needed it. You came into my life when I needed a simple pleasure in life to remind me that these little things are what makes life enjoyable. Thanks everyone, my support system.”
“I was that wife and mother who never took the time to sit down and read a book. I was part of the problem I found our city to be in. Although I earned my B.A. In Political Science, and minored in English and Psychology, I made the choice to not read on a daily basis. I was just getting by browsing the newspaper and newsfeed on my phone. In the back of my mind, though, I knew I wanted to be more. I wanted to be interesting. I wanted to know more. I wanted to develop a solid opinion on various issues. When one does not read, it’s like floating on the surface of this great big ocean. An ocean filled with magical and endless possibilities and wonderment. And it’s as though I was just bobbing in that ocean, barely keeping my head up, but never even taking the chance to take a dive in and see what there was. In this magical ocean, I can actually breathe under the water. I can see so many different perspectives. And I’m not afraid to know too much. I lost a baby when I was 5 months pregnant about a year before I joined our book club. I was angry, depressed, then I’d make peace with it, and then back to anger again. I know I had to change something. The book club felt safe right away. A safe place for me to express my opinion without feeling like I was not important. Beverly, you have a gift for making people feel okay to express themselves, no matter how ridiculous they may be. And that is why my book club meetings are golden to me. Nobody can keep me from my book club. Ha!!! Love and light to you! And thank you for making our group the best book club on the planet.”

Here at the McAllen Public Library, we are incredibly humbled and honored to have such a powerful role in the lives of our community. It is the reason we are here and why we do what we do.

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