Libraries are one of the best places to connect - connect to technology by using broadband, computers and other resources, connect with media, programs, ideas, books, and classes, and connect with other members of the community (both human and animal, but more on that later!). April 3-9, 2022, is National Library Week, and this year's theme couldn't be more fitting: Connect with Your Library! This year's theme is an invitation for communities to join, visit, or advocate for their local libraries.
When we think of libraries most of us think of borrowing a book, but libraries have so much more to offer than just the thousands of books they house.
Local libraries such as York County Libraries, the Cumberland County Library System, the Middletown Public Library, the Dauphin County Library System, and the Lititz Public Library, just to name a few, have programs where kids can read to specially trained therapy dogs (and even cats!). Sharing books with furry friends can help kids sustain concentration and focus, increase reading comprehension and fluency, expand their use of vocabulary and language, boost confidence and pride in their reading abilities, cultivate a higher motivation for reading and learning, enjoy the experience of reading, and more. Reach out to your local library to find out what programs they offer!
Another, more unconventional, type of library that has been making headlines recently is the Human Library. The Human Library, created in Copenhagen in 2000, is exactly what it sounds like - a library of people. The Human Library hosts events all over the world where readers can borrow human beings serving as open books and have conversations that they would not normally have access to. The concept of a library made up of human beings may sound a little bit odd, but these conversations, sometimes uncomfortable, can help challenge prejudice, help rid racial discrimination, prevent conflicts, and contribute to greater human cohesion across social, religious, and ethnic divisions. Long story short, human libraries can help us meet some pretty cool people we might not have considered approaching before!
Although we can celebrate our libraries year-round, National Library Week gives us an extra good excuse to connect with our local libraries. Check out a book or two, attend programs, volunteer, or speak to your local librarians to learn more about all your library has to offer!