Libraries Transform Minds and Communities: Celebrating National Library Week

Libraries are important community institutions.

April is a time to celebrate our nation’s libraries and library workers. Local libraries are important community institutions, and like local bookstores, they are the hub of language culture and a place where creative minds can physically explore books and learning. From free access to books and online education to business resources that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. Children’s story hour, visiting authors, lecture series, art exhibitions, historical programs, innovative learning projects, senior activities, and diverse community groups – libraries connect people locally to each other and globally to the universe of published literature and information. April 10 to 16 is National Library Week, an observance sponsored by the American Library Association and all types of libraries including school, public, academic, and archival across the country will participate in this year’s theme, ”Libraries Transform”.

Everyone who has ever loved a book knows that the reader-book relationship is personal. For the reader-seeker it is often love at first sight, there is something thrilling about looking through shelves of books for a good read. We discover books along our life’s journey. Books find us when we need them and can transform our intellectual and emotional perspectives. Reading is a peak creative experience, and libraries are a fertile haven for lovers of books and reading. They offer important access to having books in our hands and freely discovering where our curiosity leads us. The library card, well used and renewed throughout a lifetime, can take you anywhere, anytime…and “Oh, the places you’ll GO!” This wisdom is the title of the last book by the American children’s author-artist, Dr. Seuss (b.1904-d.1991). It is his most optimistic and colorful manifesto of courage. I’ve always loved his iconic works, and wore out my first library card checking out all his books when I was beginning to read. Dr. Seuss taught me a love of reading and looking at books, with his wonderfully rhythmic words, practical life philosophy, and those amazing pictures.

Libraries transform intellectual experience and, in many creative ways, the library experience is being transformed in this decade. Books and information are taking new forms with the rapid expansion of digital platforms for reading and learning. Traditional brick and mortar institutions are adapting to the needs of education and technology, and have become vital community centers that provide traditional library services, as well as a whole new generation of innovation programs that support makerspaces and maker faires, and a wide range of curriculum resources in the arts and sciences.

In the spirit of art, science and transformation, Art HOPE is pleased to partner with the York Public Library to offer our annual creative wellness program, Taking Flight, Making Origami, on Saturday, April 23, from 10 to 1pm, in York, Maine. Artists of all ages are invited to learn to fold a classic origami crane in this free event that highlights the therapeutic qualities and history of the medium. A fun way to wellness and a great time to celebrate our local library.