Officials encourage public to celebrate National Library Week

MANISTEE COUNTY — National Library Week has been observed annually across the country for 60 years, and on Saturday the Manistee County Library will celebrate the occasion with the public.

Dedication to serving its community, however, has been displayed daily at the local library for well over a century.

“For us, it’s Library Week every week,” said Julie Herringa, assistant director of the Manistee County Library, “but National Library Week is a good reminder of the dedication our staff has for its community, because, really, that’s who we’re here for.

“It’s also a good excuse for even more of the community to come see what we have to offer, and how much we have to offer,” she added. “We’re so much more than just books.”

The public is invited to attend a celebration of National Library Week from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday on the top floor of the library’s main branch, located at 95 Maple St. in Manistee.

“It’s a party around a central theme of ‘Libraries Lead,'” Herringa said. “We want people in Manistee to know what a strong resource and community center we are, and that they can ‘follow the leader.’

“From free access to books and online resources for families, to library programs that help support engagement and learning, we offer opportunities to all ages, from babies to adults,” she said. “And we are proud to be a community leader.”

The free event will feature cake and other treats, as well games, crafts, book giveaways and a scavenger hunt.

“The activities are geared toward the family, but anybody can come in to say ‘hi’ and have cake,” Herringa said. “We’re more than happy to answer questions anytime, but certainly at this event.

“We’re encouraging anybody who hasn’t been to the library in a while, or ever, to come in, take a tour, and sign up for a library card.”

The library and its satellite branches (Arcadia, Bear Lake, Kaleva, Onekama and Wellston) will be business as usual this week, leading up to the event, providing the ever-evolving list of offerings to patrons.

“Of course everything we offer is free, which is the most important thing,” Herringa said, “From books to computers, internet access, printing, faxing and a variety of programs.

“We’re always open to new ideas too, so we encourage our patrons to tell us what they would like to see here,” she said. “We really strive to be a library of the people, so we want to provide what we hear the community wants.”

Herringa said library officials are especially focused on outreach of late, in hopes to bring more and new faces through its doors.

“We have a really great relationship with our patrons, but we feel there are still a lot of people out there that could be reached who aren’t currently library users.” she said. “We really want the library to be the hub of the community, and what that means to us is being a place where everyone can come and engage in something they are interested in, whether it’s internet access, research for a project, computer help from our tech guy or socializing by joining a craft group, for instance.

“There’s just so much we have to offer, and unfortunately our library is probably underutilized.”

The idea for National Library Week began in the mid-1950s, when research showed Americans were spending less time reading books and more time listening to radio or watching television.

Concerned about this trend, the American Library Association and American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization in 1954, named the National Book Committee in 1954.

The committee’s goals ranged from encouraging reading to improving incomes and health. The organization’s National Library Week was created to encourage Americans to support and utilize their local libraries.

The first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme of “Wake Up and Read!”


Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or

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