by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
It’s National Library Week! National Library Week was created in the 1950’s by the National Book Committee to encourage reading and library use to better Americans’ lives. The American Library Association now sponsors this celebration.
This year’s theme is “Libraries Transform.” This slogan refers to the ways libraries can transform lives by providing free access to books and other materials, computers and internet access, storyhours, and classes and programs for all ages.
We’re joining in on the celebration by giving our customers a chance to say why they love the library. All week we’ve got sheets of paper available with speech bubbles printed on them, like in a comic strip or graphic novel. We invite you to write or draw the reasons why your library is important to you. We’re hanging them up around the library, so take a look at other people’s reasons, too!
One sign of love for the library is the generosity of our patrons. Just since the beginning of the year, one couple has given us a donation to use for the purchase of popular fiction, Mike Johnson has given us a donation to use for purchasing mysteries, and the family of Boyd Anderson has given us a donation for the purchase of history books. We are so grateful to all of them. The generosity of members of your community has increased the number of books that are available to you.
Another sign of love for the library is participation in our adult winter reading program, which ended on the last day of March. We had over 70 people sign up for it this year, turning in almost 300 book reviews. The most popular authors were Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Julie Garwood, Joanne Fluke, Gillian Flynn, Tess Gerritsen, Lois Lowry, and, surprisingly, Carolyn Keene. This year James Patterson was not as popular as in the past. Many people reviewed nonfiction history books on a wide range of subjects, and books on food and cooking were pretty popular, too. The reviews will be available on our front desk this month if you’d like to browse through them for reading ideas.
An activity that I think the participants are loving this month is our watercolor class, taught by area artist Joyce Young. This class is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The three-session class is full and already underway, so I’m sorry to say we can’t accept any more sign-ups. However, you can come to their art exhibit on Thursday, April 28, from 1-2 p.m. in the library meeting room. The artists will be there to display their paintings, and we will serve light refreshments. We plan to display the paintings in the library for two weeks afterward, too. This would be an example of libraries possibly transforming some people into watercolor artists who haven’t tried this before.
And, finally, our library transformed a few late fees into food for local people in need this past month. We held a Food for Fines program during the second half of March, which is Minnesota FoodShare Month. During this time, patrons with late fees could have $1 of their late fees waived for each food shelf donation brought to the library, up to a maximum of $5 per card. Litchfield, Grove City, and Dassel library users donated a total of 92 pounds of food to the Meeker County Emergency Food Shelf through this program.
Stop in to look around the library during the rest of National Library Week to see what responses there are to the prompt “I love my library because ___.” We look forward to seeing the results!