For the shortest month of the year, February is jam-packed with reasons to celebrate. At Book Riot, we’ve been busy celebrating Black History Month. But another thing we love to celebrate in February is Library Lovers Month! It’s a time to celebrate libraries of all kinds, whether in schools, open to the public, or even in our own homes. The month may already be halfway over, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding a way to celebrate and support your local library.
It’s been a really tough year for everyone, including libraries. Librarians have had to adjust to serve patrons during a pandemic, from offering take-home kits for quarantined readers to supporting virtual learning for students, all while fighting to keep themselves safe at work. With all of the ways public libraries have supported us this year, we thought it was about time we thought of ways to support them. Whether you’re able to support your local library with your money, your time, or your voice, we’ve got a way for you to show your love during Library Lovers Month.
Ways to Support Your Local Library
Donate, Donate, Donate
If you’ve got the funds, donating money to your local library is a great way to help them keep their doors open. Check with your local library to find out how to donate, or join a Friends of the Library group to support your library year-round. If your employer has a matching non-profit donation program, see if you can take advantage of it and double your library donation.
Donating books and other supplies to the library is a bit trickier during the COVID-19 pandemic. Libraries have different policies about what they are and aren’t accepting at this time. If your local library is accepting book donations, be sure you follow all posted policies to keep your librarians safe. If your local branch isn’t accepting books right now, check out these other ideas for donating used books.
Check Out Books and Resources
Many public libraries rely on government funding and private grants to keep their doors open, and the more library patrons utilize their resources, the better argument they have for needing those funds. COVID-19 made a big impact on how libraries get books and other media into the hands of their patrons, and that may also change the narrative on services libraries provided in 2020. Getting a library card and checking out books can make a big difference for your local library.
In order to keep yourself and your beloved librarians safe, consider checking out materials virtually. Digital books, audiobooks, and streamable video content are great options that may be available from your library. You can also contact your local branch to see if they offer contactless or curbside pickup.
Participate in Virtual Events
Libraries have adapted many of their most popular programming to virtual events, and even started new programs to engage patrons from the comfort of their own homes. A quick glance through my local library’s calendar shows events this week for all ages, including virtual story times, ESL conversation circles, author events, and even yoga. Joining these virtual events helps libraries show that they’re supporting their communities, which can in turn help them secure funding to keep offering these services. Supporting your library while also entertaining and educating yourself? That’s what I call a win-win.
Libraries rely on the support of volunteers for many different services and events. While it may seem like the pandemic makes it impossible to volunteer, libraries have adapted their volunteer programs to meet the virtual needs of patrons. Check with your local branch to see how you can volunteer or if there are virtual opportunities to support your library with your spare time.
Advocate for Your Library
Public policy and government funding play a huge role in how your public library operates. As a grassroots advocate, you can use your voice to ask federal, state, and local policymakers to protect and support libraries. Contact your local lawmakers and encourage them to fund and support your library. Send a letter to the editor of your local paper about how libraries support your community and why it’s important to fund them. Write to your members of Congress and ask them to support the Build America’s Libraries Act, and join the American Library Association’s grassroots network to stay up-to-date on how you can advocate for public libraries across the country.
Support Libraries on Social Media
At a time when more and more library services are going virtual, what better way to support your library than on social media? Follow your local library on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and help promote their events and campaigns. Share your great experience at a virtual event on social media, and if you’re donating to your local library, encourage your friends to join you. And if your library shares new ways to support them, you’ll be the first to know.
We hope this article helped you find new ways to support your local library during Library Lovers Month! But let’s be real, every month is the right month to love and support your library.