The freedom to read is essential to holding together the fabric of our democracy. Our nation’s libraries are on the front lines, protecting that freedom in the face of threats from groups that would remove or limit access to reading materials and censor content in schools, all in the name of “protecting” our nation’s children from “dangerous” ideas.
The American Library Association (ALA) and the nation will celebrate National Library Week from April 3-9, 2022. This year's theme is “Connect with Your Library.” Friends of the Library groups, library Foundations, and all library advocates are encouraged to spread the word about National Library Week. National Library Workers Day is a great opportunity to honor library staff, and Take Action for Libraries Day offers a chance to remind legislators of the critical need for library funding.
During National Library Week, the American Library Association will release the Top 10 List of Most Challenged Books of 2021. The list will cap off a record year for attempts to suppress materials with racial and LGBTQIA+ content.
More than 330 unique cases were reported to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom in the three-month period between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, 2021. Thus far challenge totals in 2021 have doubled the number of reports from 2020 (156 challenges) and most likely will outpace 2019 figures (377 challenges). The new number of total challenges will be unveiled on Monday, April 4, 2022.
Molly Shannon, multiple Emmy-nominated and Spirit Award-winning actress, comedian, and legendary Saturday Night Live cast member, will help celebrate our nation’s libraries as the honorary chair of National Library Week.
“I am so honored to serve as honorary chair of National Library Week for 2022. My mom was a librarian. She encouraged kids to read. So, the work of librarians and libraries has such a special place in my heart,” Shannon said. “Libraries are places where communities connect—to things like broadband, computers, programs and classes, books, movies, video games, and more. But most importantly, libraries connect us to each other. Supporting National Library Week in this role allows me to connect to my mother's memory and all the librarians out there. Thank you for everything you do."
During National Library Week, communities will also observe the following:
- On Monday, April 4, ALA will release its “State of America’s Libraries Report,” which provides trend information for all types of libraries. This year’s issue will offer a snapshot of the library communities’ resilience, determination, and innovations during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Tuesday, April 5, is National Library Workers Day. A day for library staff, users, administrators, and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers. Library users may submit a “Star” by providing a testimonial about a favorite library employee at www.ala-apa.org/nlwd. Each testimonial will be posted in the “Galaxy of Stars” on the NLWD website to honor deserving library workers.
- Wednesday, April 6, is National Library Outreach Day, which will celebrate library professionals in all types of libraries who are delivering resources and services to populations in need – wherever the area. Whether it’s a bookmobile stop at a local elementary school, services provided at community homes, or library pop-ups at community gatherings, these outreach professionals bring the library to the people who need it most.
- Thursday, April 7, is Take Action for Libraries Day, a day of advocacy reminding legislators of the critical need for library funding. Join library advocates across the country by calling on your elected officials to keep #LibrariesStrong with robust federal funding and by spreading the word about how libraries help communities succeed and thrive.
April is also School Library Month, sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians, an ALA division.
First celebrated in 1958, National Library Week is observed each April by ALA and libraries across the county. For more information on National Library Week, please visit ILoveLibraries.org/NLW or follow #NationalLibraryWeek. National Library Week artwork is available for download at http://www.ala.org/news/mediapresscenter/presskits/nlw.