Happy Spring and Happy National Library Week!
National Library Week is an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities. This year, National Library Week takes place from April 23 to 29 and is being celebrated with the theme “There’s More to the Story.”
This year’s theme is a reminder that libraries are about more than books! Libraries are welcoming spaces that bring communities together for entertainment, education, and connection through book clubs, storytimes, movie nights, crafting classes, lectures, and more. Libraries also play a critical role in the economic vitality of communities by providing internet and technology access, literacy skills, and support for job seekers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.
That isn’t to say libraries are not facing some difficult times. Just this week, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released new data documenting 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling this data more than 20 years ago. This nearly doubles the 729 challenges reported in 2021. 58% of these challenges targeted books and materials in school libraries, classroom libraries or school curricula and 41% of the book challenges targeted materials in public libraries.
I also want to focus on the many victories we can celebrate here in Corvallis and Benton County. Here are just a few:
- The Corvallis Library finished a construction project that expanded the square footage of the building, adding four new study rooms, a reading lounge, and a small classroom space.
- In partnership with the Alsea Community Effort, we began new fundraising efforts to support the Alsea Community Library and received several large grants to help improve the building.
- We added delivery service as a permanent offering to all patrons who reside within our service district, helping eliminate further barriers to library access and resources.
- In partnership with the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, a volunteer-run public seed library opened in the Corvallis branch, allowing for the exchange of seeds to support both new and experienced home gardeners.
Thank you for being a patron of our library system and please join us in celebrating National Library Week!