Celebration Ideas

Talk About Pay Equity (and inequities) by using ideas from the Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit

Check out 9 Ways to Celebrate NLWD

Celebrate Library Workers

National Library Workers Day works because you do! Not only does ALA-APA receive more than 500 Stars submissions each year, we also receive dozens of emails describing ways that libraries around the nation celebrated employee contributions on the Tuesday of National Library Week. Below are ways many libraries chose to make merry. Whether your library has celebrated NLWD since its birth in 2003, or whether you would like to initiate a NLWD celebration at your institution for next year, we hope these stories will inspire you.

  1. Decorations
  2. Wear it with Pride!
  3. Legislation
  4. Food
  5. Games and Contests
  6. A Simple Thank You

Prefer to plan in advance? Below we have listed the dates of National Library Workers Day through 2017!

2017 – April 11

2018 – April 17

2019 – April 16


There are festive decoration ideas for every budget and every library. Below are some ways libraries have decorated for past NLWDs.

Tucson, AZ:
To celebrate National Library Workers Day, the American Library Association (ALA) Student Chapter at the University of Arizona delivered big signs and balloons to the nearby Pima County Public Library branches, says Rebecca Blakiston, President of the Library Student Organization. “Before our last meeting we had 12 volunteers come in and decorate the signs. They all say ‘Name of Branch: Thank You! Libraries Work Because You Do!’ and have various pictures and decorations on them.” On the 17th, volunteers surprised the employees of the twenty local libraries.

Newport News, VA:
To promote National Library Workers Day and to encourage staff and patrons to submit library Stars, the Newport News Public Library (VA) downloaded the official NLWD poster from the ALA-APA Web site and displayed it prominently in the library.
Colorado Springs, CO: At Pikes Peak Library District, each branch in the system received a balloon bouquet topped with a big mylar star. This balloon arrangement graced the circulation desk at each of the system’s twelve branches, says Employment Specialist Edie Hoggenmiller.

San Jose, CA:
Several libraries in the San Jose Public Library System created “staff favorites” displays and had library themed story times and/or talking about library work. A staff member created a collage of staff pictures at the Circulation Desk.

Beckley, WV:
To honor its workers, the Raleigh County Public Library created a photo poster and placed it in a prominent place near the circulation desk.

Baltimore, MD:
The “Let Everyone Know! ” flyer was in the rack Enoch Pratt Free Library. And all public service departments and branches received a free standing rack with post cards in them. The cards said “National Library Workers Day, Tuesday, April 4, 2006. Please write a brief statement on “How the Pratt Library has Changed My Life” on this card and leave it with the Library staff. Thank you. The cards the library received had incredible testimonies from patrons of all ages.

Edison, GA:
The Calhoun County Library tied celebratory green balloons to its library sign.

Hanscom, MA:
The Hanscom Air Force Base Library showcased its staff in a brochure titled “Library Unsung Heroes.” The brochure introduces each worker by name, title and job description, and also provides employee book and audio/visual recommendations. Tuesday is the library’s story time day, and the added attendance on that day provides an excellent opportunity to unveil these brochures. The kids and their parents will help with the presentation of the brochure, flowers and maybe some refreshments.

Brooklyn, NY:
Each branch received a NLWD banner to display.

Nashville, TN:
A committee at the Eskind Biomedical Library, Vanderbilt University, created yellow stars reading “Library employee _____ is a star because…” and placed them at service points and copiers for patrons and staff to fill out. They ran out of stars mid-week and had to print more! Each staff member received at least one star and many received multiple stars. Stars were displayed in the Historical Collections room on 5 large foam boards. The Eskind Biomedical Library also placed NLWD posters near decorated collection boxes and decorated the library with flower arrangements.

Cotuit, MA:
The Friends of the Cotuit Library gave each member of the staff a plant and dropped off refreshments for their break that day.
Washington, DC: Professional Association fliers titled “Let Everyone Know” were sent to every department and unit of the District of Columbia Public Library, where they were made available to all library users as well as DCPL staff. The flier invites library users and library employees to submit the names of library employees whom they consider to be stars and why.
The District of Columbia Public Library also hosted a special photography exhibit, “Behind the Scenes,” featuring library employees who work in non-public service areas. The library displayed this exhibit throughout April at the system’s central Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. Non-public service areas are the focus of the exhibit because they do not receive the exposure that the public service areas naturally receive. The hope is that this exhibit will provide the public with a better understanding of the wide range of responsibilities and tasks involved in keeping the library going. A bibliography, “Working at the Library: Recommendations for Learning More,” was prepared by DCPL staff to accompany the exhibit.

Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH:
The AFB Technical Library arranges for technical services and other less public staff to be more visible by celebrating Technical Services Appreciation Day.


Wear it with Pride!

Customized nametags, badges and t-shirts are an economical and personal way to remind the public of the contributions of library workers.

Colorado Springs, CO:
For its first-ever NLWD celebration, Pikes Peak Library embraced the “Star” theme, honoring staff with star-studded name badge ribbons that announced the Star status of each library worker.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union is a great supporter of the 10,000 library workers whom it represents. AFSCME was a gold-level sponsor of the NLWD Web Site. AFSCME made available “AFSCME Library Workers” buttons and pins and bookmarks that read “Libraries work because AFSCME members do.”

San Jose, CA:
Yolanda secured Library Day AFSCME buttons and pins to distribute this week to San Jose Public Library workers and encouraged workers to wear their AFSCME green t-shirts.

Washington, DC:
An attractive badge, with the message “Libraries Work Because We Do,” was designed specially for all District of Columbia Public Library staff to wear during National Library Week to convey that each staff member performs valuable work in the library system.

Baltimore, MD:
Staff at the Enoch Pratt Free Library received burgundy and cream t-shirts, which read “EPFL Celebrates National Library Workers Day.” Staff also received lanyards (assorted colors), which have “National Library Workers Day @ EPFL” imprinted on them.

Edison, GA:
The Calhoun County Library staff wore NLWD pins.
Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn Public Library also distributed NLWD buttons to all staff members.



Would your organization like to propose new library policy, resolution or bill? Are you looking for an opportunity to change the opinion of your institution, region, state or nation about library employees? National Library Workers Day provides an excellent forum for formal recognition of the value of all library workers.

Washington, DC:
On April 17, National Library Workers Day enjoyed a large and influential forum in our nation’s capital. Senator Reed (D-RI), Representative Becerra (D-CA) and other supportive Congresspersons introduced a student loan forgiveness bill for librarians. The Senate bill was introduced in the morning and the House bill was introduced later in the afternoon. Melanie Anderson, Assistant Director of ALA’s Office of Government Relations in D.C. mentions ALA contributed to the writing of the bill and also to the drafting of Reed and Becerra’s remarks. Both the Senate and House of Representatives remarks mention NLWD.

Beckley, WV:
The local news station Fox 59 (WVNS), Channel 11 did a news spot on Jewell and they took the information directly from the ALA-APA web site. She was thrilled. Channel 11 also came to Raleigh County Public Library and filmed all our behind the scenes people who make this place run.

AFSCME posted Staffing America’s Libraries: Big Changes, Big Challenges, by Jon Melegrito, a report about the origins of the lack of pay equity for librarianship and how AFSCME has been able to help library staff raise pay even in situations with reduced budgets. And Gerald W. McEntee, President of AFSCME, praised the nation’s library workers in a press release and endorsed fair pay.

“Library workers care so much about literacy and learning, and their commitment shines through even in the toughest times,” President McEntee said. “Unfortunately, the federal budget has under funded state and local governments for many years, and library staff and resources are often among the first to be cut. Yet library workers have shown tremendous resiliency, deftly adapting to the demands of the digital age and keeping our libraries running smoothly on shoestring budgets. Funding our libraries is a critical investment in our future, and it is incumbent upon our leaders to provide library workers with the pay, support and respect that they have earned.”

San Jose, CA:
Mayor Ron Gonzales and Ken Yeager (Library Liaison) gave a group of San Jose Public Library workers a proclamation at the City Council meeting. Yolanda Cruz, who is an Information Technology person at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and Municipal Employees Federation’s Vice President, led the effort behind the proclamation.

Cotuit, MA:
The Town of Barnstable passed resolution recognizing National Library Workers Day.

Pullman, WA:
Washington State University Libraries staged a Library Learning Day on National Library Workers Day. They solicited ideas for library-related topics our staff and faculty wanted to learn more about, then matched up topics with employees who could address them in 15 or 30 minute segments. Sessions were held in two side-by-side library instruction rooms so attendees could easily move from one to another. Topics included:

  • Information Literacy program
  • Appreciative Inquiry [an organization process we are doing]
  • Electronic Resources Management Module (ERM)
  • Marc Format Holding Data (MFHD) and ‘library has’ statements
  • Tutorials Assessment poster session
  • LibQual surveys
  • “Changes in Pedagogy” [Guest speaker from our Center for Teaching and
  • Learning]
  • OPAC Futures
  • Open Access
  • WSU Research Exchange: behind the scenes [our institutional repository
  • Online information about Griffin [our OPAC]
  • WSU Wiki
  • Assessment
  • GWLA, Orbis-Cascade, etc. and why we belong [our major consortia]
  • Outlook Basics (email & calendar overview & how-to’s)
  • Database searching for non-Reference employees
  • Expectations of the Millennial Generation
  • Search It! / Metasearching

Austin, TX:
ALA-APA President-Elect Loriene Roy from the University of Texas told LW that, in recognition of National Library Week and National Library Workers Day, Representative Dawnna Dukes (D) introduced a special House Resolution. H.R. 1502 recognizes not only the staff of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, but also the library staff working throughout the entire state. Representative Dukes’ resolution:
In Celebration of National Library Week and National Library Workers Day
WHEREAS, our state’s public, academic, school and specialized libraries, and the people who work in them, are valued resources;
WHEREAS, libraries play a vital role in supporting the quality of life in their communities-places for opportunity, education, self-help and lifelong learning;
WHEREAS, librarians are trained professionals, helping people of all ages and backgrounds find and interpret the information they need to live, learn and work in the 21st century;
WHEREAS, in 2005, Texans borrowed 100 million items from public libraries, and got help with nearly 24 million reference questions (66,000 per day!);
WHEREAS, research shows that students who attend schools with good school libraries headed by librarians perform better on standardized tests;
WHEREAS, libraries are a key player in the national discourse on intellectual freedom, equity of access, and narrowing the “digital divide”;
WHEREAS, all Texans and all Texas libraries benefit from the resources and services provided by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the commission’s dedicated staff;
WHEREAS, libraries, librarians, library workers and supporters across America are celebrating National Library Week and National Library Workers Day.
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that the 80th Texas Legislature proclaims National Library Week, April 15-21, 2007, and National Library Workers Day, April 17. I encourage Texans to visit their local library this week to take advantage of the wonderful library resources available and thank their librarians and library workers for making information accessible to all who walk through the library’s doors.



April’s LW showcased the Grand Prairie Public Library System in Grand Prairie, TX, which celebrated both its workers and its heritage by hosting a tortilla soup and flan party. Whether you choose a regional delicacy or a store-bought cake, a catered event or potluck goodies in the break room, food brings workers together.

Colorado Springs, CO:
At Pikes Peak Library District the coup de grace was an order of star-shaped chocolates wrapped in gold foil. Not a fan of chocolate? PPLD provided Starburst candies.

San Jose, CA:
The San Jose Public Library Administration and Library Stewards bought cakes for each of the branches and visit the branches for the cake-eating events.

Butler, IN:
To celebrate each worker’s achievements, Ginger Smith at Eastside Jr/Sr High School suggests baking and bringing in that worker’s favorite snack/treat. Ginger likes to grace the treat with one candle for each year the employee has served the library.

Brooklyn, NY:
Each branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was allocated funds to purchase refreshments of their choice for the day. In its cafeteria, the Central Library provided refreshments for the entire staff.

Edison, GA:
The Calhoun County Library held an open house. The library posted a sign outdoors to welcome patrons to share cookies and lemonade served from a draped table holding a fresh spring flower arrangement.

Nashville, TN:
Library workers at the Eskind Biomedical Library, Vanderbilt University enjoyed star-shaped goodies.

Belcamp, MD:
The Harford County Public Library delivered “big fat thank you cookies” to all of the branches and our Administrative office. The cookies were a big hit.

Alexandria, VA:
Each department of the Alexandria Public Library received a card that said “A few hugs and kisses from Library Administration” along with a gift basket of Hugs (little juice barrels) and Kisses (Hershey Kisses, Hershey Kisses Hugs, Hershey Kissables).

Atlanta, GA:
Brenna K. Helmstutler, Education Liaison/Reference Librarian at Georgia State University, reports that the GSU Library’s Personnel Development Committee sponsored an Ice Cream Social for the library staff.


Games and Contests

Many libraries chose to celebrate NLWD with games or contests that encourage workers to mingle with staff of other departments and strengthen camaraderie among friends.

Atlanta, GA:
“During our ice cream social,” said Brenna K. Helmstutler at Georgia State University, “there was an icebreaker activity to guess fun facts about staff who sent submissions in advance.”

Newport News, VA:
The Newport News Public Library held a random drawing on April 17; the lucky worker received a hotel package.

Clinton Township, MI:
Christine Hage of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library has been employed at several libraries with recognition programs. One had a “Going the Extra Mile” award where employees nominated one another for going beyond the call of duty. Winners received $10 gift certificate from a local business. This library also had an Employee of the Month program where the awardee got a prime parking space for the month. At her current employer, they give cash bonuses for taking on extra jobs. The library also has a wonderful fitness facility for staff.

Butler, IN:
Ginger Smith at Eastside Jr/Sr High School suggests buying the staff members their newest favorite book, a needed reference item, a gift certificate or ticket to a favorite event.

Portland, OR:
The Multnomah County Library designated a Queen for the Day. The “queen” was delighted by her crown and feather boa.

Baltimore, MD:
Event planners at the Enoch Pratt Free Library held a raffle for its employees and gave away seventeen gifts including a Mary Kay gift basket, Johnathan Ogden signed cap, ballpoint pen, picture frame and 5” black/white television. After selecting a name from the bag, the planners asked that employee to select a number from 1–17. Each gift was numbered, and the employee received the gift that corresponded with their selected number.

Columbus, OH:
Ashlee Clark, Executive Secretary to the State Librarian of Ohio, described how the State Library of Ohio celebrated National Library Workers Day and staff unity. The library provided each staff member with a puzzle piece. Each employee wrote his/her name on the piece and decorated the piece in a way that reflected his/her interests and personality. On April 17, managers of the State Library of Ohio hosted a staff breakfast. At the NLWD staff breakfast, each staff member placed that puzzle piece on the board, interlocking his/her piece with those of co­workers. “We will be able to see just how we all come together while working at the State Library! Each employee was given a chance to complete a word search featuring library words. The first to complete received a gift card,” says Ashlee.

Seattle, WA:
Susan Veltfort, President of Local 1857, WSCCCE, AFSCME, AFL­CIO, invited all union members to a Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins baseball game on Tuesday, April 17th. The local paid for the union member tickets, and members could invite family and friends. “We had a group of about 100 going! Because we had a large group, we also placed a message up on the ‘big board’ at the game:
“AFSCME Local 1857, KCLS Union Workers, Celebrating National Library Workers Day!”


A Simple Thank You

If diet, budget or schedule prohibits any of the above activities, send a heartfelt thank-you note to library employees. A warm letter of appreciation is free, calorie-free and only takes minutes to compose.

Colorado Springs, CO:
At Pikes Peak Library District, Director Paula Miller sent a creative star­themed e-mail to all 405 employees to express her appreciation for the staff’s “stellar” work.

Washington, DC:
District of Columbia Public Library Labor-Management Partnership Council Co-Chairs, Francis J. Buckley, Jr., Interim Director of the District of Columbia Public Library, and Toni White-Richardson, Union President of AFSCME, Local 1808, sent a special message to all DCPL employees expressing thanks and appreciation for them as individuals and for all the work they do to make the system work.

Baltimore, MD:
Each staff member of the Enoch Pratt Free Library received a thank you postcard which featured “thank you” in different languages on one side and a thank you message from Dr. Carla Hayden, the Board of Trustees and Directors of the Library.

Portland, OR:
Multnomah County Public Library reminds us of our role in the first and last impressions our customers form of the library so we must monitor the ratio of “strokes to pokes” that are distributed to staff. A kind word can make a big difference in how a staff member feels about the work and how a customer is then treated. Much of NLWD is focused on extrinsic rewards, but what must not be forgotten are the intrinsic values that motivate each person.

Young Adult Library Services Association:
The ALA Division of the Young Adult Library Services Association sent the following welcomed message of encouragement to its membership:
April 4th is National Library Workers’ Day! Here’s a little something from YALSA, which we hope makes you feel appreciated:
Five Reasons Why YA Librarians are Better than Google:

  1. Google locates only web sites, while YA librarians find all types of resources in any format.
  2. Google requires you to design your own searches, but YA librarians help you plan an effective search strategy.
  3. Google leaves it up to you to sort through the mountain of results, while YA librarians assist you in selecting information to meet your specific needs.
  4. Google provides no quality control, but YA librarians always have a Plan B if your search yields no results.
  5. Google is an inanimate web site with no ability to offer moral support, but YA librarians are real people who can dispense things like encouragement, high fives and even hugs.

Thanks for all the hard work you do to ensure that teens get the best library service!

Cleveland, OH:
The Cleveland State University Library News Web site encouraged people to “stop by the University Library and tell your favorite librarian or staff member how much you appreciate what they do.”

Wheeling, IL:
Each staff member of the Indian Trails Public Library District received a handmade thank you reading “You’re a Treasure to the Library and the Community.” The card had a clever silhouette of a treasure chest with a Sacagawea gold dollar coin affixed and signatures of all the managers.

Belcamp, MD:
The Harford County Public Library Director sent an email out early in the morning wishing everyone a happy National Library Workers day and thanked them for making HCPL the great system it is.

Tempe, AZ:
A committee the Arizona State University Library encouraged those on campus to “come by Fletcher Library and meet those people who make your library’s services possible” and to nominate your favorite worker to the National Library Workers Day Stars web site, sponsored by the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association.

Liverpool, NY:
Dorothy Morgan, Business Manager/Administrative Assistant at the Liverpool Public Library, sent the following letter to the New York State Library Assistants’ Association Discussion List:
“I personally thank each and everyone of you for making a difference for library assistants, support staff, clerks (whatever we call ourselves) throughout your state (mine being New York), as well as for the entire country. Sometimes I don’t think you realize how even the small things you do in your very own library in your very own state can impact, change, and make a difference for others. You continue to show proof that this happens all the time. You may not even be aware of how much you make a difference, but you do!
“The involvement and work you do with your professional associations have helped to motivate change with everyone all library workers, other state associations, as well as on a national level with the American Library Association. You should be proud of yourself for ways that you have impacted not only your life but others as well.”

PR Materials

Materials for Día Nacional del Empleado Bibliotecario available in Spanish!

Customize these materials to send to your local media.

National Library Workers Day Proclamation
English / Spanish

National Library Workers Day Sample Radio PSAs
English / Spanish

National Library Workers Day Sample Letter to the Editor
English / Spanish

National Library Workers Day Sample Editorial
English / Spanish

National Library Workers Day Sample Press Release
English / Spanish

US Representative Major Owens (NY) submits a resolution on National Library Worker Day (H. Res. 597)

Send the NLWD committee your ideas to info@ala-apa.org