National Library Workers Day

How Did Your Library Celebrate?

National Library Workers Day worked because you did! Not only did ALA-APA receive twice as many Stars submissions than last year (a record 593!), we also received dozens of emails describing ways that libraries around the nation celebrated employee contributions on Tuesday, April 17. Below are ways many libraries chose to make merry. Whether NLWD is a time-honored tradition at your library (this is the fourth celebration year), or whether you would like to initiate a NLWD celebration at your institution for next year, we hope these stories will inspire you. ALA-APA thanks Gold sponsor the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Silver sponsor DEMCO.


Decorations

From printing out the free NLWD poster to arranging show-stopping balloon bouquets, there are festive decorations forevery budget and every library.

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. There were 39 Arizona Stars!


Tucson, AZ


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. It worked – 16 of the 39 Virginia Stars were from Newport News!

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. Colorado sparkled with 10 Stars.

Nametags

Customized nametags 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.

Legislation

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 Congresspeople 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.

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.

Food

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

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: Assistant Director Elizabeth K. Speigle mentioned that the Newport News Public Library held a random drawing on April 17; the lucky worker received a hotel package.

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 co‑workers. “We will be able to see just how we all come together while working at the State Library! Staff [were] given a chance to complete a word search featuring library words. The first to complete receive[d] a gift card,” says Ashlee.

Seattle, WA: Susan Veltfort, President of Local 1857, WSCCCE, AFSCME, AFL‑CIO, 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 star‑themed e-mail to all 405 employees to express her appreciation for the staff’s “stellar” work.

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.

It’s time to start planning for next year! We’ve given you plenty of ideas on the NLWD Web site. NLWD will be on Tuesday, April 15, 2008, and National Library Week is April 13–19, 2009.