April 13 is Take Action for Libraries Day

Opinion: Columns

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By Jim Madigan

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This week, the Oak Park Public Library joins libraries in schools, on campuses and in communities nationwide celebrating the many ways libraries transform their communities every day through the services and invaluable expertise they offer. 

National Library Week, observed April 9-15, aims to highlight the changing role of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries are not only places of quiet study, but also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies, learn how to use a 3D printer or even record their own music. Libraries of all types are evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. 

Elected officials, small business owners, students and the public at large depend upon libraries and the resources they offer to address the needs of their communities. By providing such resources as ebooks and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or a safe haven in times of crisis, libraries and librarians transform their communities. 

On April 13, the American Library Association (ALA) will launch Take Action for Libraries Day, a first-time national library advocacy effort aimed at safeguarding funding for the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in response to President's Trump proposed budget cuts. 

According to the ALA, IMLS serves as a critical funding resource for every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories to support libraries and museums. IMLS funding helps support literacy programs for youth, small business service centers, services for veterans, and technological resources and services like 3-D printers. While Oak Park Public Library does not rely on IMLS funding, we support the libraries across the country who rely on this critical funding for vital services. According to the ALA, the loss of crucial federal funding will have a profound impact on library service and the more than 1.5 billion who rely on them. 

We ask you to join us in the fight for libraries and contact your local legislators to safeguard IMLS funding at www.tinyurl.com/ALAfight. 

As we celebrate National Library Week, we remain fully committed to our mission to share the information, services and opportunities that fulfill our community's aspirations — what you told us matters most to Oak Park: literacy, education, affordability, diversity, inclusion, equity, health and safety. Learn more about how Oak Park Public Library is transforming lives at oppl.org/about. 

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

Jim Madigan is the Oak Park Public Library deputy director.

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