April 9 through 15 is National Library Week in the United States, an annual observance that has been sponsored by the American Library Association since 1958. Because we’re a global organization, we’d like to take an opportunity to celebrate libraries all around the world. Whether it’s through access to technology, information literacy, diverse collections or opportunities for community engagement, libraries connect people to knowledge and make breakthroughs happen.
We could have written volumes about the great work being done by libraries around the globe. We’ve highlighted a few breakthroughs our members have shared with us and we encourage you to join your colleagues around the world to share your library breakthrough with the hashtag #NationalLibraryWeek.
University of Wisconsin–Madison, School of Library and Information Studies, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
When the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa realized they couldn’t afford to maintain their small library, students from the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s School of Library and Information Studies stepped forward to help fill the need. The students wrote grants, cataloged materials, developed library policies and helped open an interim library until a new library building was built.
South Perth Library, South Perth, Western Australia
Until recently, the World War I-era postcard collection and other archives in the South Perth Library in Western Australia could be accessed only in person. Since the collection was posted online, access and interest in the collection and in local history have increased, and local residents have even offered to contribute their personal photographs.
Seaside Public Library, Seaside, Oregon, USA
The Seaside Public Library has an impressive 68% interlibrary loan fill rate and an average 20-hour turnaround time. How? Partly it’s an attitude—making the “detective work” of finding the right materials fun. And partly it’s innovative ideas like keeping track of which book in a series a patron has requested and requesting the next one so that it arrives as they finish the previous one.
University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
The University of Leicester wanted to get all of its collections and the collections of local historical organizations online. Working with local organizations, staff were granted privileged access to valuable resources that greatly expanded the materials they could provide online. And since going online, the usage statistics have been increasing with every new collection.
Pritzker Military Museum & Library, Chicago, Illinois, USA
The transition from library to museum and library allowed the staff at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library to focus more on guests, user experience and public-friendly activities. This included embedding rare book references into Wikipedia and pulling metadata from the Library of Congress and FAST subject headings directly into discovery services to improve search results.
We salute the work that libraries do across America—and around the world. Whether small or large; public, academic, corporate or special; in person or online…libraries connect people to the knowledge and services they need to grow and learn.