We are in the middle of National Library Week which runs through April 14, 2018. National Library Week is a “national observance sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries across the country each April.” Libraries are the cornerstones of many communities across the country. Speaking from my own experience in Rockville, MD, the City of Rockville built a town square with apartments, stores, shops and restaurants and had the vision to include a modern public library. The library is now at the epicenter of the town square where the community congregates for regular events and city-wide activities. I worked for the American Library Association Washington Office for a five year period and constantly marveled at the dedication of librarians. They care about their communities and advocate for policy objectives that positively impact all of us in some capacity. Librarians certainly fight for more federal resources for libraries, but are on the forefront of advocating against censorship, work to prevent illiteracy, fight for intellectual freedom and privacy, rational copyright laws and so much more.
In the mid-1990’s the library community worked with the telecommunications industry, policymakers and Congress to include public libraries in the expansion of the Universal Service Program that was included in the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Public libraries are the linchpin of helping communities close the digital divide when it comes to broadband connections. In January 2018, the American Library Association published a fact sheet
that details how libraries have been leveraging the power of broadband to benefit local communities in every small town and city.
Congressman Thompson (PA) said it best in his remarks
on the House floor this week as he acknowledged 2018 National Library Week when he stated, ‘…libraries have always been great equalizers in our society. Our libraries promote knowledge as a power and ensure that it is within reach of every American, regardless of their personal life circumstances…” Please take a few minutes from your week to also acknowledge the positive impact libraries have had in your own life and living in a free American society.