By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
Whether you are a job seeker looking for resources to land a new job, a parent looking for free activities for children or a student searching for your next favorite book, you belong @ your library.
The American Library Association (ALA) is sponsoring National Library Week, April 8-14, with focus on its “@ Your Library” campaign. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national week of observance each April to introduce the many services available at your local public library.
Today’s libraries help level the playing field by making both print and digital information affordable, available and accessible to all people. Libraries provide cultural heritage and genealogical collections, materials in print and electronic formats, job-seeking resources, English as second language and citizenship classes and many other creative and resourceful programs.
“National Library Week is sort of to gain attention to who libraries are and celebrating everything we have been and what we are becoming,” said Portsmouth Public Library spokesperson Grace Peach.
“Library’s aren’t just books. We’re also evolving into a lot of different things. We’re evolving to include e-books for the new way people are beginning to read. We’re also expanding with Internet access, computer training classes, and our educational series such as the Aspiring Authors Workshop and the Learning Green classes that will be taking place here in May. We also offer homework help and grant searching for a non-profit organization, and literacy programs.”
She said libraries are unique because they offer services to people from all age groups; from pre-school kids learning to read to older citizens learning computer skills.
Beginning Monday, the Portsmouth Public Library is celebrating National Library Week with many events that spotlight the many uses and resources available to the surrounding community.
“Here at the main library we’re going to be doing a song trivia game. We’re going to have song lyrics posted and all of them will have the phrase ‘You Belong’ somewhere in them and patrons can guess what songs they are. We’re also going to be having a huge book sale. It’s going to take the whole main floor,” Peach said. “One of the things I’m most excited about is we’re going to have a $5 bag of books. You get a bag and as many as you can put in there, that’s what you get to walk out with.”
In the middle of National Library Week, April 11 is also National Bookmobile Day. Peach said the Portsmouth Library Bookmobile will be on the road that day, but will be available at the library April 13 instead.
“Also on the 13th, we’re going to be having an ice cream social out front, and we’re going to have the bookmobile out in front of the main library available for people to come in and see it, or check anything out,” she said.
The honorary chairperson of this year’s weeklong event is New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer. In addition to publishing 10 books — including “Heroes for My Son,” “The Inner Circle,” and “The Book of Lies” — Meltzer has also written several successful comic book series and is the host of “Decoded” on The History Channel.
“Without librarians, I wouldn’t be a writer today,” Meltzer said in a recorded promotional video for National Library Week. “I remember going into that library in Brooklyn, N.Y, and that librarian who showed me ‘These are the books for you.’ When she said that, I thought she meant really ‘for me’, that they were just mine. And that’s what they were to me. I would go into that section that came just chest high of an average adult, but to me it was right at my face level. I’d see the spines of all those books, and it was there that I found Judy Blume, and there that I found Agatha Christie, and there I found mysteries and murders, and Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews, and all the amazing things that sucked my life into books.”
He said if it wasn’t for that librarian, he would not have found those books that became such an important part of his life.
Meltzer’s latest book, “Heroes for My Daughter,” will also be released this week during National Library Week.
For more information about National Library Week or local events, visit the Portsmouth Public Library at 1220 Gallia St., in Portsmouth, call 740-354-5688. Branches are also available in New Boston, Lucasville, Northwest, South Webster and Wheelersburg; or visit the library website at www.yourppl.org.
More information about the @ Your Library campaign can also be at www.atyourlibrary.org.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.