Saturday, 7 October 2017

It's almost National Libraries Week! by Dawn Finch

I am hoping that it has not escaped your notice that 9-14 October 2017 is the first ever National Libraries Week. We are all familiar with National Libraries Day but that annual celebration (started off by our own children's author and top library campaigner Alan Gibbons) wonderful as it was it was only a day long, and that was nowhere near long enough to celebrate all the things that are wonderful about our libraries. So now we have a whole week!

This spreads the joy across seven whole days, and gives us all time to make sure that the social media takeover really has some solid impact. What can you do to join in? The very first thing you need to do is to think about what libraries mean to you. What part have they had in your success? What impact have they had in your life?

Then, get yourself over to the National Libraries Week website and gather your weapons. This site (set up and managed by CILIP) is crammed full of everything you'll need to make your contribution to the week a success. Here you will find every fact, figure, stat and infographic you'll need. You can also find logos and posters to support everything you ever wanted to say about libraries. The hashtag #librariesweek is already bubbling away with lots of ideas for how we can all get involved. Savita Kalhan has started the ball rolling on here with an excellent blog post about her love for libraries and what they mean to her, and about the fight for Finchley Church End Library. Read her post here for inspiration.

Maybe a nice shelfie from your library?
We are looking forward to lots of inspirational library stories so that we can show the world that British libraries are still very much open for business. We do need to challenge the narrative that our libraries are on their last legs, but let's be honest too. Way too many libraries have already closed, or are operating a far less than satisfactory service. We want to celebrate, but let's take a little time to grieve too. We must stop this rot. We must show the Powers That Be that we are drawing a line in the sand. This far, and no further. We will not tolerate the decimation of something that is used by millions of people every year, many of whom represent the most vulnerable sectors of our communities. Libraries are for all. The last safe haven in our communities. The thin line between ignorance and knowledge. The last free and trusted space.

So celebrate National Libraries Week with me, but never forget that this is still a fight, and I will not lay down my arms until I can safely say that the danger is past. That may be never, but I'll never give up, and never surrender.*

Dawn Finch is a children's author and librarian. Former President of CILIP and library campaigner. Member of the Society of Authors' CWIG Committee. Follow on Twitter @dawnafinch
National Libraries Week 9-14 October 2017

*apologies to Commander Peter Quincy Taggart. I'm sure he won't mind me nicking that.


Penny Dolan said...

In haste, as I'm off to my local library. Thank you for spreading the word here on ABBA today, as I'm not sure how widely the general media have picked up on NLW.

Great post and links to other posts and a week (and more!) well worth supporting

Rowena House said...

Thanks for this & the links. A necessary campaign to shout about. See you on various social media!