“To build up a library is to create a life,” Argentinian author Carlos María Domínguez once said. “It’s never just a random collection of books.” When you take a look at the Orange County Library System and the communities we serve, you get some sense of what Domínguez means.
This month we celebrate National Library Week (April 7-13) and this year’s theme, Libraries = Strong Communities, has us thinking about the diverse communities that surround our 16 locations. Since our start in 1923, we’ve seen many changes and contributed to the growth of the Greater Orlando area. As our county has grown, our community become more and more of an exciting melting pot of diverse cultures and our staff has reflected that.
Orange County Library System works hard to make sure everyone has a seat at the table. Our diversity is key to the strength of our community.
With community engagement and diversity in mind, we invite you to participate in National Library Week with us! There are numerous ways to engage and below are just a few options:
1. Bring a friend, coworker or family member to sign up for a library card.
If you are reading this blog, it’s probably because you are an engaged and active library cardholder. However, a surprising amount of folks in our community still haven’t gotten their library card, so we encourage you to reach out to that new coworker who just arrived to Orlando. Ask your friend if they have a library card when they mention they want to read more this year or want to cut cable.
2. Share on social media the ways in which the library has enriched your life.
Using the hashtag #LearnGrowConnect, share with your followers the ways in which library services benefit you. Maybe we helped you avoid needing to purchase a book you had to read for work or continuing education. Maybe a staff member taught you a new WordPress technique that helped you elevate your blog. Whatever the impact, it’s important for community members to hear from real library customers about how we work to build up our community.
3. On Tuesday, April 9, thank a library staff member in-person or on social media.
Getting back to the earlier note on diversity, library staff come from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds. But a common theme you find in all library staff is the passion they have for their jobs and for giving back to their community. Tuesday, April 9 is National Library Workers Day. Thank a library staff member in-person at your favorite branch or share your message online and tag it with #LearnGrowConnect.
4. Make time during National Library Week to take a new class, use a new-to-you library service, or attend an event.
If your favorite and most-used library service is audiobooks, consider broadening your horizons during National Library Week. We offer countless technology and language learning classes, dozens of educational and entertaining events each week, and a seemingly endless amount of services to our customers such as Book A Pro, ePULP, DVD Vault and more. Chances are you’ll discover something you didn’t even know we offered.
5. Find us at an offsite event that week and promote the library with our new Learn. Grow. Connect. swag.
We love seeing and talking to our customers outside the library just as much as we do inside the library. The library will host special offsite events during National Library Week at local bars and breweries. Follow our Facebook page to find an event happening in your neighborhood. We’ll have our limited edition Learn. Grow. Connect. buttons and stress balls available to share with our customers. UPDATE: You can find us and the Library Ambassador Book Club at Roque Pub at 5:30 p.m. on April 10.
6. Become a Friend of the Library.
You can take your support for the library to the next level during National Library Week. Join the Friends of the Orange County Library System! Friends members advocate for the library when funding is threatened. Friends members are even the dedicated volunteers who work in our branch libraries and in our gift shop and used bookstore. Friends members also help provide funding for library programs that aren’t covered in the library’s budget with their annual membership.
7. Volunteer for the library in your spare time.
Volunteers are an integral part of any library system. Without volunteers it would be challenging to keep up with the daily tasks that help a library run efficiently. In our opinion, it’s no coincidence that National Library Week and Volunteer Appreciation Month both occur during April. If you want to give back to your community, consider applying to become a library volunteer.