(Image courtesy of American Library Association)

This week (April 8th-14th) is National Library Week. Celebrating its 60th anniversary since its inaugural year in 1958 with the theme “Libraries Lead!”, libraries across the nation will be observing the week with activities, programs, and more. This week also celebrates National Library Workers Day (April 10), National Bookmobile Day (April 11), and Take Action for Libraries Day (April 12).

To lead the celebrations is Misty Copeland, author and American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer, who serves as the 2018 National Library Week Honorary Chair. As described on the American Library Association page about National Library Week, Misty Copeland, an advocate for “youth to pursue their dreams regardless of what challenges they may encounter”, invites everyone to “discover your passions and achieve your goals at the library.” (American Library Association).

(Image courtesy of American Library Association)

To celebrate, here are a couple ideas that libraries can do with patrons – especially teens – to help them discover their passions and achieve their goals.

First up, is helping patrons cultivate their passions in writing by celebrating National Encourage a Young Writer Day on April 10th! A great way to encourage writing is by participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is a non-profit organization that encourages writers to write and empowers everyone who wants to write to write a draft in 30 days. The actual NaNoWriMo is November, but during the months of April and July, there are virtual writing retreats called Camp NaNoWriMo. Within these virtual retreats, participants can earn badges and win prizes for reaching their personal project goal by the end of the month of April or July.

What is wonderful about utilizing the online resource of Camp NaNoWriMo in a library setting is that not only does it encourage writing with the opportunity to earn badges and prizes, but it also provides the opportunity for library staff to facilitate in-person write-ins where patrons can come into the library during designated dates/times during the month to write either on their laptops, tablets, smartphones, or pen and paper as a group for support as they write. Also, library staff can establish online discussions, support, and community engagement through the Camp NaNoWriMo website that can be arranged by setting up a private cabin and organizing all participants within the library to join the same virtual cabin. Because Camp NaNoWriMo is flexible and based on everyone’s individual projects, it’ll be a great opportunity to learn more about others, their interests, and how to be supportive of one another.

The second idea to celebrate National Library Week is a book photo challenge for the whole week on social media.  Below is an example of the types of categories one can do during the book photo challenge, which can be shared on the library’s social media like Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter. Fliers can also be posted within the library.

(Image courtesy of American Library Association and Kat Reynolds)

On each day, library patrons can take a book photo that conveys the theme for the day as described above. For example, on April 9th, for “Diverse Characters” they can take a book photo of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas or The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco. Then post the photo to their social media, tagging the library, and using the hashtag #bookphotochallenge, #NationalLibraryWeek, and #LibrariesLead. Not only will it inspire creativity and fun amongst the patrons, but it gives the library staff the opportunity to participate as well and the chance to spark conversations that can help lead someone one step closer towards achieving their goals.

American Library Association. (n.d.). Celebrate National Library Week. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks/natlibraryweek

Camp NaNoWriMo. (n.d.). About. Retrieved from https://campnanowrimo.org/about

National Novel Writing Month. (n.d.). About. Retrieved from https://nanowrimo.org/about

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