If you were around, near or - even better - in a library on Saturday, you might have noticed a bit more activity than usual. Well, it was National Libraries Day, and it turned out to be the biggest one yet!
There were 857 events all over Britain, making it the biggest National Libraries Day in the event's history. How can that be measured? Well, there were 137 more events than last year, and the day was far more engaging too.
Nick Poole, COO of The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CLIP) - which helps organise the day - has reported, "more conversations on social media celebrating our wonderful public libraries". Adding, "the outpouring of love for our national network of libraries on Saturday was truly inspirational".
For our part, the most inspiring may have been the Arts Council's collection of library love letters. They're marvellous, do have a quick look. The idea is exemplified in the video below,
Enthusiasm around the day was, quite simply, brilliant. As was the support of those behind its occurrence: CLIP, The Reading Agency, the Society of Chief Librarians and the School Library Association were all involved in and did wonderful jobs. Refreshingly, it seems that publishers paid a larger part this year, too.
Kudos must also go to those who voiced or showed concern for their own libraries, Barnet Borough's excellent #ShowUsYourLibraryCard campaign, and everyone who attended and enjoyed one of the 800+ events!
Poole calls "the outpouring of love for our national network of libraries...truly inspirational". And make no mistake, it's inspirational because libraries are incredibly important in the community, and in increasing amounts of danger.
Frankly, it's a tragedy that so many are undervalued and under threat. National Libraries Day, then, provided a crucial boost to our knowledge of what libraries offer, what they are, and what can mean to each of us. As well as reminding us all about potential - ours and that of the space. As Poole says.
It’s an important moment to celebrate all the creative, transformation and unexpected things that happen when you step into a library. The vital importance of modern libraries to families and communities across the UK came through over and over again.
Absolutely. What a wonderful event, what a big impact this year. And - hopefully - what a timely boost for libraries all over Britain.