February 14 needs to make room for one more holiday: Library Lovers’ Day! Celebrate all things library and why they are so integral to our communities.
As the world embraces another rampant holiday of red roses and boxed chocolates this Valentine’s Day, romantics and bookworms alike can join forces by visiting your local or school library to celebrate Library Lovers’ Day.
There’s no denying that libraries are the perfect place for young (and old) minds to venture into new and imaginative lands, but there is so much more that libraries do than simply provide a home for your favourite books.
Benefits of libraries
Libraries foster literacy of all kinds, a critical factor in economical and social participation for society.
Not only do libraries – both school and public – provide a variety of programs for students such as researching workshops, ESL support, book clubs, and special storytelling events, but many public libraries provide invaluable literacy and ESL programs for adults too. These programs can provide indispensable assistance into the workforce or higher education for those at a disadvantage and can provide a place of connection for those who are transitioning into new communities.
Most public libraries will also provide digital literacy training, with free access to computers and the internet – a necessary skill in our highly digitised world.
Provide access to cultural and historical collections
Over the years, libraries have become a museum of sorts, providing communities with a vast collection of books, films, music and art from a variety of eras. This type of access to cultural and creative assets has myriad benefits, including a greater understanding of diversity, an awareness and appreciation of other cultures, and a deeper respect for other worldviews and beliefs.
Furthermore, libraries can often act as historical landmarks themselves as they are generally one of the first community spaces built in any town or city.
In fact, Australia is home to one of the world’s oldest free public libraries, The State Library Victoria (pictured below), established in 1854. The library adds more than 70,000 heritage items to its rich collection each year, providing for an unmatched dispensary of historical accounts and artefacts alike.
These days, modern libraries can also act as public meeting hubs where groups can gather to study, collaborate in creative endeavours, or simply relax in a unbiased location.
“Libraries are all about ‘community’,” says Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. “Libraries are fresh, inviting, multi-use spaces which actively encourage people from all walks of life to connect, learn and grow.”
Many libraries now offer rooms that have state of the art multimedia resources that can be hired out so that anyone can create and edit a short film or take professional looking photos.
Teachers are responsible for the health, safety and development of students all over the world during school hours. In fact, they are often referred to as a child’s mother from 9-5. Librarians are no different.
Librarians take on a wide range of duties – much more than what they are typically accredited for – and play unique roles in our school and public libraries. Their responsibilities include having an all-round knowledge of technology; being specialists on citation, copyright laws, research and news literacy; holding seminars and workshops for various subjects; and allowing access to resources no matter your background or socioeconomic status – just to name a few.
Moreover, a recent study has linked students attending focused library programs or tutoring to higher academic success than those who didn’t.
Of course, librarians are most commonly known for their love of books and storytelling. Unfortunately, not all children are able to attend these immersive storytelling sessions.
Below, we’ve created a list of online narrations of popular storybooks by librarians, authors, and professional storytellers from around Australia, and list of librarian-recommended stories for kids to immerse themselves in this Library Lover’s Day:
- Midnight at the Library – Read by Lauren Dubois
- Give Me Some Space! – Read by Dr. Charley Lineweaver, Associate Professor at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at ANU.
- Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas – Read by Gabby Millgate
- Super Nova – Read by Krys Saclier
- Bat vs Poss – Read by Alex Miles
- Alfie’s Search for Destiny – Read by Dan Sultan
Librarian-recommended reads for younger readers:
- Seven Little Australians – Ethel Turner
- Drawn from Life – Stella Bowen
- The Lucky Galah – Tracy Sorensen
- Eucalyptus – Murray Bail
- Obernewtyn – Isobelle Carmody
- Diary of a Wombat – Jackie French
- My Place – Sally Morgan
Libraries are foundational to a functioning society and school campus, allowing for a public space to not only enjoy literature but to learn about history, meet with fellow peers, create art, and so much more.
So head down to your local library to see what celebrations are taking place for Library Lovers’ Day, or plan a trip to your school library so that your class can say thank you to the dedicated librarians for all their hard work.
“Our libraries offer so much more than an avenue to borrow books,” says Livingstone Shire Councillor Rhodes Watson. “I urge the community to participate in Library Lover’s Day and celebrate the love we all have for our community’s libraries.”