Celebrate your library

This week is a special one that helps us recognize one of the most important resources any community can have.

First observed in 1958, National Library Week is marking its 60th anniversary and is typically observed during the second week of April each year. It is sponsored by the American Library Association and by libraries all across the nation.

Locally, several public libraries will host special activities in celebration of the occasion — and many will allow patrons to return overdue items this week without paying a fine or late fee. The overarching goal of the observance is to promote literacy and to help people realize the importance of the resources libraries can make available to everyone.

“Libraries Lead” is the 2018 theme for the weeklong observance. And, indeed, the libraries in our region do play a leading role in many of our communities.

Local libraries provide much more than books. They also offer a wide variety of periodicals, reference materials, newspapers, yearbooks, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks and other materials. They make other types of resources available as well. For many people, their only access to the internet is found at their local library. Copy machines and fax machines are often available at libraries, as are notary services and special programs for people of all ages. Libraries even provide spaces for clubs and groups to gather. In our area, some even host weekly dance sessions in their community rooms, while others make space available for chamber of commerce luncheons and historical society presentations.

Public libraries are a very big part of some people’s lives in Eastern Ohio. That familiarity, though, makes it more likely that we will take these valuable resources for granted. We should be careful not to do that, so that our libraries will still be available to meet the needs of future generations.

We generally encourage voters to support library levies when they appear on election ballots, but there are plenty of other ways residents can support our libraries this week and throughout the year. We urge our readers to visit one of the many libraries in our region this week and learn more about what they have to offer.