National Libraries Day – join the celebration

How you can take part in the fifth annual National Libraries Day on Saturday 6th February? Catherine Kearney, Director of CILIP in Scotland, explains.

“Public libraries are the most popular civic resource that local government offers” Martyn Evans, CEO of Carnegie UK Trust, commented on the launch of Ambition and Opportunity, Scotland’s National Strategy for Public Libraries at CILIPS Conference last June in Dundee – that city being the location of Scotland’s most visited public library.

Saturday 6th February marks the fifth annual National Libraries Day, when libraries throughout the UK participate in a day of events and activities in celebration of a national resource. Scotland’s network of over 500 branch libraries facilitate over 24 million loans each year and accommodate 28.5 million visits and 8 million virtual visits. The national celebration is an opportunity to run events offering the public a taster of what they do.

Our libraries are free and accessible spaces for everyone to enjoy for learning, information, reading for pleasure and fun activities. They connect people to the information and resources they need to succeed in learning and gain new skills, to improve general wellbeing, healthy living and encourage community cohesiveness.

National Libraries Day is being celebrated across the UK. The event has its own hashtag #librariesday, twitter handle, @NatLibrariesDay and website featuring an event map showing what’s happening up and down the country. From Aberdeen to Hawick local library services are hosting events including ipad drop in sessions, author talks, family storytelling sessions and even a mini comic con.

Previous campaigns have encouraged users to answer the question ‘what did you do in your library today? ‘ CILIPS records activity taking place in Scotland and this year is no different. If you’re participating in an event or activity or just enjoying a visit to the library tweet about it, add a photo and included the hashtag #NLDScot to any social media posts. That way, we can harvest these for a unique view on how Scotland celebrates this special day which we publish on our website.

Alongside the fun activities and events let’s not forget that support for reading, literacy and education is part of the library core offer. Consequently, this National Libraries Day, as part of the ‘Read, Write, Count’ campaign over 300 libraries will receive a share of £90,000 to pay for new book stock and display equipment to support the use of reading, writing and counting in everyday activities among families of P1-3 children. The campaign, being delivered in partnership with Education Scotland, SLIC and the Scottish Book Trust builds on the Scottish Government initiative to tackle educational equalities and raise attainment.

As the Scottish arm of the professional body for library and information staff, CILIPS will be using the National Libraries Day celebration to raise awareness of our election campaign strategy as we head towards the Holyrood elections on May 5th. That strategy aims to ensure that all the political players are apprised of the role of the library in contributing to wellbeing in the public policy areas of social, economic, cultural and education and encouraged to set out how, if elected each will continue to ensure that libraries empower communities.

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