Library, families celebrate National Library Week

Area youth and their families celebrated National Library Week with a party chock full of activities on Saturday at the Manistee County Library. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Area youth and their families celebrated National Library Week with a party chock full of activities on Saturday at the Manistee County Library. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Even the weekend’s unseasonably wicked weather didn’t dampen the celebration at the Manistee County Library.

Local officials held a party on the top floor of its main branch in Manistee on Saturday to culminate its observance of National Library Week. Area youth and their families braved the cold conditions to attend and join in on the fun.

“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 theme to Saturday’s party was “Libraries Lead,” and it featured cake, treats, games, crafts, book giveaways and a scavenger hunt.

“We want people in Manistee to know what a strong resource and community center we are, and that they can ‘follow the leader,'” Herringa said. “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.

“And we are proud to be a community leader.”

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!”

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