TYLER, TX (KLTV) - These days, public libraries offer a great deal more than books that people can check out to read. They have become vital resources for the communities that they serve.
This week (April 7-13) is National Library Week. The theme this year is “Libraries + Strong Communities.”
“National Library Week is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support,” a press release stated. “From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all.”
Melinda Gates, the co-founder of the Gates Foundation, will serve as the 2019 National Library Week honorary chair.
“Libraries are some of the places that we connect as communities, and they help us tell our stories; they protect our stories, and they pass those stories along,” Gates said in an American Library Association video. “Our stories are what bind us together.”
Gates said libraries are places where people can go to learn and open their minds. Libraries also allow people to hear each other’s stories, she said.
National Library Week was started in 1958, and it is sponsored by the American Library Association. All types of libraries - school, public, academic, and special - participate in the week-long event.
“This year's National Library Week theme mirrors an American Library Association (ALA) presidential effort entitled ‘Libraries = Strong Communities,’ a national advocacy campaign aimed at highlighting the value of academic, public, and school libraries,” the press release stated.
The ALA issued a press release on its 2019 State of American Libraries report that explained why libraries are an important part of the communities they serve.
“No longer just places for books, our public libraries serve as a lifeline for some of our nation’s most vulnerable communities,” the press release stated. “From community-wide issues as illiteracy, homelessness and community silos, our nation’s public libraries are acting as catalysts in fostering community-wide solutions that strengthen communities.”
Linda Gray with the Tyler Public Library said people can expect the same level of great service they normally receive during National Library Week.
However, one of the things the library will be doing is a Lego event for children. As part of the event, children are being asked to make a Lego creation based on their favorite books. Children will have until the end of the week to turn their Lego creations in at the library.
At the end of the week, a panel will vote on the best Lego creation, and all of the Lego creations will be displayed at the library for the rest of the month of April.
Gray also said that the library is now offering an “e-card” that Tyler residents may apply for online. It allows people to check out audio files and electronic books from the comfort of their homes.
East Texas News will check in with the Tyler Public Library each day this week in honor of National Library Week.