Saturday, April 18, 2009

Library Heritage Day

Today is the last day of National Library Week 2009, and if I had my way libraries across the country would be celebrating Library Heritage Day. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me that libraries would take one day a year to focus on their heritage. However, for some reason librarians seem to be adverse to acknowledging their past. It is true that on significant anniversaries some libraries do make an attempt to highlight their heritage, but such an effort once every fifty to one hundred years is not that noteworthy. I am of the strong belief that we are the beneficiaries of the legacy of those library workers and supporters who have gone before us, and we should acknowledge that prior contribution to our libraries. For those pragmatists who see acknowledging our library heritage as a diversion from the problems of the present, I would argue that library history can be used to help make the case for the value and importance of libraries. I like the "I Love Libraries" campaign of the American Library Association because it appeals to those who value libraries the most and who are the most likely to stand up and support libraries when times are tough. People who love libraries are also the people who are most likely to appreciate and value library history. My point is that incorporating library history into an overall marketing plan for a library or libraries is a smart, practical thing to do. Setting aside one day during National Library Week each year as Library Heritage Day would be a step in the right direction. For more specific ideas about a national library heritage day click here.

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