Monday, April 14, 2014

Welcome to National Library Week! #nlw14 #liveschange

My selfie at the library

When I was a kid growing up in the '70's, I loved going to the Library. The Manchester (NH) Library had 3 or 4 floors and not just books, but albums, paintings, and flags. My favorite books had to do with space, dinosaurs, or the Hardy Boys. Years later, I still love libraries, but I find I'm hanging at the Castaic, CA Library with my boys.

14-18 APR 2014 is National Library Week this year. The week was first sponsored in 1958 by the ALA (American Library Association) because young kids back then were listening to too much radio, watching too much TV, and playing musical instruments. Go figure! (Those young people are probably our grandparents, now) I chuckle because you could say the same things today.
Judy Blume
This year's honorary chair was one of my favorite authors growing up: Judy Blume. My favorite book of hers was "Are You There, God, it's me, Margaret," and the book was so timely, dealing with issues I was struggling with, too. It's a book that still appeals to young readers today because the same pre-teen issues are still there. I loved how easy Blume's books were easy to read, too. Her writing is crisp, concise, and honest.

This year's theme is "Lives Change @ Your Library." And they do. Learning is knowledge and knowledge is empowers the reader to forge a better life for themselves.

Libraries have changed since the '70's. They offer ebooks, audio books, and DVD's. They still have books and magazines, but most of the card catalogs are gone, replaced with computers that can look up books in a flash. Libraries still host author readings, but now offer arts and crafts, games, and science shows.

A great online place to discover library activities is here:
In fact Pinterest has several boards that feature library activities.  

When I was a kid, I had a paper with a metallic insert as my library card. Now my boys have a plastic card! Libraries will always be needed – the challenge is their ability to change and adapt to modern technology.

So, how has the library changed my life? I got to visit space, discover the past, and solve mysteries with the Hardy Boys. I had the opportunity to explore different places without ever leaving living room. Reading books from the library expanded my mind and made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to. The library nurtured my love of culture and of different cultures. It taught me to respect others and take responsibility for my books. The library made me believe I could write my own books.

My co-worker, Amy Tariq is a big supporter of libraries.  This is what she had to say:

I was raised by books and by extension, libraries. This really isn’t an overstatement. One of my earliest memories is of visiting the Los Angeles Central Library (before the 1986 fire) and reading a biography of Marie Curie, narrated by a talking test tube.
Amy Tariq
School breaks were spent in various local libraries watching movies, making arts and crafts, and reading. Libraries taught me about worlds far away from my home, stretched my imagination, and indulged all manner of questions. I checked out dozens of Babysitters’ Club and Sweet Valley Twins books, needlework books written by hippies, historical fiction, and genetics textbooks. The library didn’t judge.
After the rebuilding of the Central Library, I found cozy nooks all over the place. There’s a magazine just about chili peppers! Who knew? Audio tapes for actors to learn foreign accents beckoned to me as I passed to get to the sci-fi. And there was a new space called TeenScape.
TeenScape was designed for teens with multiple copies of LA Unified School District required reading, scholarship guides, Clifs Notes, graphic novels, and computers with internet access! In 1994! The librarians were kind and kept children and adults out. There was a weekly improvisational acting workshop run by one of the librarian’s husbands. A small group of us promptly moved in, took over the computer sign in sheet and started kicking the little kids back to the children’s dept across the hall ourselves. I spent more waking hours at TeenScape than at my house that summer. I also met my current fiancĂ©. We’re getting married at the Los Angeles Central Library, in front of TeenScape.
Over the years, as adult responsibilities and the event of e-readers, I’ve declined my library usage, but I am a huge cheerleader for libraries against the constant threat of budget cuts. My best friend is a librarian. I’ve visited local libraries when traveling. I proudly carry a library card and always will.
Steph: That is so cool that you and your fiancĂ© are getting married at the library! Thanks for sharing your story, Sweetie. 

QUESTION FOR ALL:  Do you still go to your library? Give your library a shout out and tell me what you like about it! What was the last book you got at the library?

For more about National Library Week visit:

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. She's published with Desert Breeze, 4RV Publishing and Victory Tales Press. She adores chocolate, loves coffee, and is never without a book.








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  2. I loved reading Amy's story! I don't know what our library offers for teens, but they have excellent programs for younger children. I spent much of my maternity leave there with the girls. The last book I took out was a Nevada Barr book. I'm not sure if she would be your cup of tea or not, but she writes mysteries that take place at national parks. There is even one that takes place at Yosemite! The last movie we took out was the Magic School bus.

  3. A word of warning from Over the Pond:: "Use it or Lose it!"
    I imagine you all know that here in the UK we're all cheerfully riding along as the economy takes us all to H*** in a Handcart ... government cutbacks in ALL areas mean that there's a very real chance my beloved Liverpool could be facing the nightmare scenario of losing AT LEAST 30% of our public libraries, possibly in the current financial year which ends March 2015.
    I also grew up with libraries. I'd read the childrens' library from end to end before my 12th birthday, and the Head Librarian gave me my 'Adult' card 3 years before I was "entitled" to one because she got fed up with refusing me ...

  4. We have a wonderful library here in Franklin, Tennessee with a very forward looking director. I volunteer there one morning a week and can't imagine not having a library to feed my book habit! The last book I took out was 'Lost Lake' by Sarah Addison Allen
    Angela Britnell