Gov. Roy Cooper named the week of April 23 to 29 as National Library Week across the state of North Carolina.
In the proclamation, Cooper described libraries as "pioneers" that support democracy and effect social change. Libraries throughout the state have used the week to celebrate their importance.
Judith Panitch, the director of library communications at UNC, explained the significance of National Library Week.
“It is, as the name indicates, celebrated across the country, and it originates with the American Library Association," Panitch said. "So it's a chance for all libraries — school libraries, public libraries and academic libraries like ours to celebrate what libraries contribute to our communities."
Throughout the week, the libraries at UNC have been celebrating by giving out stickers, buttons and snacks, setting up outdoor tables for people to share their thoughts about the library and having chances to win raffle prizes.
Along with finding a favorite study space, Panitch said libraries on campus are also useful for finding archival resources, 3D printing, podcasting and more.
“Whether you're working on a creative project or need to track down a last-minute resource for a project that is due, we're here to help, and we just like to use National Library Week to remind campus about that,” Panitch said.
Hannah Olson, the marketing and communications coordinator for Chapel Hill Public Library, said that although the library is not doing much to celebrate National Library Week, there are plenty of events happening to garner a visit.
“We're not really doing anything publicly special for library week just because we have so much already happening at the library in April,” Olson said.
Events like poetry month and community history programs, along with their normally scheduled activities, have left the library schedule packed. Olson also said the services the library has to offer are important.
“Libraries are such vital community resources," Olson said. "I think a lot of people, unless they frequently interact with libraries, don't realize all of the things that we offer beyond books."
Some of these things include Wi-Fi hotspots, camera equipment, computers, science kits, and sensory kits — all available for free.
“I think National Library Week is really great opportunity to highlight some of those things,” Olson said.
Daniel Lawrence, a library assistant at the Orange County Public Library, said Orange County residents have shown appreciation for the library during National Library Week.
“All week has kind of been a time for people to show appreciation for library workers, for the library as a community space, as well as the personal ways it's made a difference in their lives,” Lawrence said.
Orange County Public Library, similar to the Chapel Hill Public Library and the UNC University Libraries, has informed library users of what they have to offer.
Lawrence explained that libraries can be quiet study spaces, community gathering spots and resource centers.
“I think libraries are such a valuable public service because they're there to be whatever the community needs from them,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence also encouraged those who haven’t taken advantage of their local libraries' abundant resources to stop by.
“I would say it's never a bad time to get a library card and to check out what we have to offer,” Lawrence said.
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