By EVPL Staff

This year, National Library Week is April 7-13. This national initiative is an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities.

How to celebrate National Library Week with EVPL

The best way to celebrate National Library Week is to utilize your library’s resources and services. Attend a program, check out materials, research using library databases, and more.

Libraries provide a unique space where people can connect with one another, gain new knowledge and skills, and focus on what matters most.

During National Library Week, EVPL is launching our new initiative: Honorary Librarian!

Evansville Mayor Stephanie Terry will serve as EVPL’s first Honorary Librarian, sharing titles from EVPL’s collection that resonate with her interests and favorite genres.

And during National Library Week, search the EVPL website for our bookworm. When you find it, click on the image to enter to win a giveaway!

History of National Library Week

In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee’s goals were ambitious. They ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing strong and happy family life.”

In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!” The 2023 celebration marks the 65th anniversary of the first event.

Diverse Perspectives on Libraries & Literacy

Over centuries, authors have championed reading and literacy as ways to build empathy, embrace learning, and celebrate freedom. Learn more about these diverse authors and discover some of their works right here at EVPL.

The EVPL Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee provided this content.

Pura Belpré

Pura Belpré was the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. As a children’s librarian, storyteller, and author, she enriched the lives of Puerto Rican children in the U.S.A. through her pioneering work of preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore. 

“To appreciate the present, one must have a knowledge of the past…to know where we go, we must know from where we came…”

Find Pura Belpré in our catalog

April Pulley Sayre

April Pulley Sayre was a Hoosier author, scientist, and photographer.  Many of her children’s books feature her own nature photography as well as her poetry.   She was “endlessly curious” and “loved to explore beneath the surface of things. Sayre was on the ALA Notable lists three times during both the 2000s and 2010s.

My life goal is to share wonder.”

Find April Pulley Sayre in our catalog

Neil Gaiman

As an author of both fiction and nonfiction for children and adults, Neil Gaiman’s work has been honored with many international awards, including the Newbery and Carnegie Medals.

“…[L]ibraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.”

Find Neil Gaiman in our catalog

Maya Angelou

Author and poet Maya Angelou was an activist and library champion; she remains one of the most frequently challenged authors (and authors of color) of the 20th and 21st centuries, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

“Information is so important, and it must be open. Information helps you to see that you’re not alone. That there’s somebody in Mississippi and somebody in Tokyo who all have wept, who’ve all longed and lost, who’ve all been happy. So the library helps you to see, not only that you are not alone, but that you’re not really any different from everyone else. There may be details that are different, but a human being is a human being.”

Find Maya Angelou in our catalog

Stuart Dybek

Known for his renowned short stories and poetry, Stuart Dybek now teaches the next generation of writers as an adjunct professor of English at Western Michigan University, a permanent staff member of the Prague Summer Program, and as the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University (source) (source)

“The public library is where place and possibility meet.”

Find Stuart Dybek in our catalog

Jason Reynolds 

Reynolds is the author of numerous bestselling books for young people, and is the recipient of a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and multiple Coretta Scott King honors. He also served as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature from 2020-2022.

“Ultimately, because if we don’t see ourselves in books, it’s like someone saying you don’t exist, period…Everyone’s story and identity and culture deserves to be seen and celebrated and valued and praised, especially as young people.” 

Find Jason Reynolds in our catalog

Rita Dove

Rita Dove is an author and poet who has received many awards including the Pulitzer Prize. She is the only poet to ever receive both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts. She continues to influence the literary world as the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

“The library is an arena of possibility, opening both a window into the soul and a door onto the world.”

Find Rita Dove in our catalog

Malorie Blackman

An award-winning author of children’s and young adult works, Malorie Blackman was the UK Children’s Laureate from 2013-2015.

“Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.” 

Find Malorie Blackman in our catalog

Frederick Douglass

Born to an enslaved mother, Frederik Douglass was able to escape slavery and became an abolitionist leader. Part of his work fighting to end slavery was the publication of his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” 

Find Frederick Douglass in our catalog

Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson is an award-winning author who has created works for all ages and in many formats and genres including short stories and a self-help guide.

“Books and doors are the same thing. You open them, and you go through into another world.” 

Find Jeanette Winterson in our catalog

Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan was an American astronomer and science writer. Sagan received numerous awards and honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1978 for his book The Dragons of Eden, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Distinguished Public Service Medal (1977 and 1981), and the Ørsted Medal from the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1990. 

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.” 

Find Carl Sagan in our catalog

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Poet, essayist, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson was a staunch supporter of community libraries and often wrote of them in his works. 

“Some books leave us free and some books make us free.” 

Find Ralph Waldo Emerson in our catalog

EVPL Staff

EVPL Staff

With 8 locations throughout Vanderburgh County, EVPL is ready to discover, explore, and connect WITH you! We encourage you to uncover new things, revisit old favorites, and to engage with us along the way.

HL: Stephanie Terry
Financial Literacy