National Library Week

melissa cardinali | May 9, 2011

Each April, the American Library Association promotes the celebration of National Library Week.  Officially, “it is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.” (From ALA)

Though we’re technically a bit late on the recognition  (it was April 10-16th this year) I thought I’d attempt a belated celebration  by breaking librarian stereotype and sharing something librarians love.  (No, not cats or clever quotes about the importance of libraries–though I’ll throw some of those in for good measure.)

I’m talking information, information about libraries specifically. The twist: this information is posted in an unlibrarian-ly way.  No peer-reviewed, scholarly or authoritative sources have been used to verify any of what you’ll read in this post, in fact,  I don’t even know if half this stuff is true!  Oh, and did I mention  Bruce Springsteen’s involved? And Keith Richards?  Oh yeah. All at the library. Go on, keep reading.

Largest library

Smallest library

Clever way to fit a library in an apartment

Most “fantastic” digital collection of  supernatural images from fiction and art.

Library of the world’s most unusual compounds

Strange(st?) library themed product

Library with border control
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House has a black line running along the floor to illustrate the U.S./Canada border. Check out the parking lot rules!

Largest collections:
-comic books
-world’s largest special collection devoted to the Boss and his bands
-cookbook collection
-national collection of underwear

Click to read this list of famous people who were librarians. (Laura Bush is just the tip of the iceberg people.)

Services: Fun Facts: from ALA’s Quotable facts about America’s Libraries

-Academic librarians answer 56.1 million reference questions each year—reaching almost 10 million more than attend college football games.

-College libraries receive just less than six cents of every dollar spent on higher education.

-There are 542 students enrolled for every librarian in U.S. 2– and 4-year colleges and universities in 2008, as compared with 4.3 students for each teaching faculty member.

-Reference librarians in the nation’s  public and academic libraries  answer nearly 5.7 million questions  weekly. Standing single file, the line of questioners would span from Long Island New York, to Juneau, Alaska.

-Americans go to school, public and academic libraries nearly three times more often than they go to the movies.

(Unlikely? )Quotes about libraries:

“I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book.”  (Groucho Marx)

When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is the great equalizer.”
(Keith Richards) (Imagine Keith if he hadn’t spent so much time at the library…)

Movies featuring libraries/librarians.
(Including “adult” movies; it is our professional responsibility not to censor.)