(PHOTO: Cindy Jamerson, librarian at Itawamba Pratt Memorial Library)
By MICHAEL UPTON
Although it's normally known as a very quiet place, there will be plenty of commotion at the local library later this month.
The Itawamba County Pratt Memorial Library will be celebrating National Library Week on April 18-24.
“We invite everyone to come by and support the local library during National Library Week,” said Cindy Jamerson, librarian. “If you have not visited the library lately, we encourage you to visit us!”
“People need to come by and get to know their library and see what services we have that they may be unaware of,” she added.
Some of those services the library now offers are an automated system with easy checkout, children and adult card catalogues, Internet-accessible computers, e-mail capabilities, more than 50 periodicals, two newspapers and rows and rows of books.
A number of activities are planned for the week beginning with the annual Elected Officials and Business Luncheon on Monday, April 19, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The free event is for all Itawamba County elected officials and businesses and is sponsored by the library, Friends of the Library, Itawamba County Homemaker Volunteers and the Fulton Pilot Club.
Carry-out plates will also be available that day for businesses that do not close for lunch.
On Friday, April 23, two events will cap off the week. First, Pre-School Story Time will be held at 10 a.m. featuring Romona Edge, MSU-Itawamba County home extension agent, as the guest reader.
At noon, Tom Childs will review John Grisham's “The Last Juror” for Lunching with Books. Sponsored by the library, Friends of the Library and the Fulton Civic Club, the event costs $2, which goes to help fund the Friends of the Library group.
Jan Willis, the new director for the Lee-Itawamba Library System, will be present on both days to meet with library visitors.
In addition to these events, refreshments will be served throughout the entire week at the library.
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.
It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries Ð school, public, academic and special Ð participate.
In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954.
The committee's goals were ambitious. They ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing a strong and happy family life.” In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries.
With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!”
National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship.
Anyone interested in joining the Friends of the Library needs to see a library employee and pay the $5 membership fee. For more information on National Library Week or activities planned at the Itawamba County Pratt Memorial Library, call 862-4926.