By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
It is because of libraries that people in the United States have as much access to information as they do, and Washington Public Library director Deb Stanton said National Library Week is a way to help recognize the workers who bring information to the community.
National Library Week, which is observed from April 8 ? 14, is promoting the theme ?Grow Freely at Your Library.? Stanton said the library has displayed photos and stories in the display case at Hills Bank of how the Washington Public Library has transformed as well as how it has helped others transform throughout the years it has been active.
?We are planning to use this week to kick off a new policy or service which is to add a fine-free card for anyone who wants one,? Stanton said.
She said that people will now have the choice of having a traditional library card where as many things as the holder wants can be checked out. The other option is the fine-free card, for people with problems returning the materials in time. The new card will allow the user to return items late without a fine, but has greater restrictions on the number of items that can be checked out. She said the holder can only check three items out at a time. She said that the cards can be issued without a guardian signature, which she said is helpful when children come to stay with grandparents locally.
Stanton said the library also has several events coming up. She said when the weather warms up, the library will put up its seed lending library again. She also said that on Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m. there will be a free concert with Red Cedar Harp Strings.
National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries throughout the country during the second full week of April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of America?s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.
Stanton said the first National Library Week was held in 1958. In the mid-1950s, research showed Americans were spending less time on books and more on radio, television and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA American Book Publishers formed a committee to encourage reading. In 1957, the committee formed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries.
?Look at the history of intellectual freedom that has been available because of public libraries,? Stanton said. ?When public libraries started it was a really transformational concept, being here for a more informed citizenship and supporting intellectual freedoms so we don?t have people telling us what we can or can?t read. It is a pretty cool thing and it is something I want to celebrate because it is pretty unique to the United States to have such an open library and open exchange of ideas.?