Celebrating Librarians: National Library Week

April 4, 2022 | 0 Comments

National Library Week week is being celebrated from April 3 to April 9, celebrating “our libraries and the contributions they and the many librarians and library workers who run them make to our communities.”

A spokesperson said, “This year we will celebrate National Library Week on April 3rd – 9th. We set this time aside to especially celebrate our libraries and the contributions they and the many librarians and library workers who run them make to our communities.

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“In recent years, it has become a running joke to act surprised that libraries still exist in a world of the internet, Google, and a myriad of devices that offer instant access to information. What need do people have for libraries and librarians when their lives are consumed by devices? And what do librarians do all day except read books? Many people stumble over stereotypes of what libraries and librarians look like.

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“But beyond the stereotype of the cardigan-wearing librarian who reads all day are the beautiful and wide-ranging variety of libraries, and the many different services they offer. The most familiar library for most is the public library; in Bermuda it is split between the Youth Library and the National Library, which offer services to the whole of the island. Even there you’ll find all manner of things happening on any given day.

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“There are librarians at the Youth Library who are creating programming for children ranging from birth to age 18, which on a given day might include everything from Book Babies, a musical program for the very youngest, to STEM and Chess clubs for the older students.

“But the demands of the library run the gauntlet of budgets, collection development, book repairs, cataloguing [a complicated process necessary to preserving a record of all the resources held in the library], display creation, and much more.

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“The National Library offers community programs, displays, cultural events, and a team of library workers able to help people access the library’s content, from the newest popular fiction, magazines, and a carefully gathered collection of Bermuda resources to a range of online options from newspaper archives to ebooks. The National Library even has a librarian dedicated to Bermuda resources in particular, who acts as an ambassador for the island to many people overseas looking for information on their family histories.

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“But people may not realize that there are other libraries on the island that are less visible, but no less important because they are operating behind the scenes. The field of Librarianship is more far reaching than most people imagine; indeed, if information is involved in some way, you can almost guarantee that there is a librarian managing things behind the scenes.

“A good example of this is the Hospital Library, which maintains a collection dedicated to up-to-date medical research to act as an aid to doctors and nurses who might need to quickly access that information in the course of their daily duties. When you’re relying on medical staff to help with your illnesses and injuries, a medical library helps them have the information necessary to do the best possible work for you.

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“Closely related to the Medical Library, are the Law Libraries maintained by several of our local law firms. The role of these libraries is to keep track of the latest case-law, keep lawyers up-to-date on amendments to legislation, and provide research assistance for ongoing cases as well as curating a collection of materials to support that work.

“Law librarians help ensure that lawyers have all the resources they need when they go to court with your cases.

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“Another place where you might run into a librarian is a school; many schools in Bermuda have school librarians. These librarians work hand-in-hand with the teachers to curate a collection of books and learning resources that support the curriculum, and offer students opportunities for leisure reading as well as materials that assist in personal and class research.

“Often these librarians fill a teaching role as well, showing students how to use the library and perform their own research.

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“Academic libraries, such as the Bermuda College Library, also share a goal of a curated collection tied to the learning and research goals of the institution. However, academic libraries need to have collections robust enough to support not only student learning and research but also the research needs of its professors and lecturers who publish work under the banner of the college.

“Due to its relation to an academic community, the librarians at the Bermuda College work to collect materials that reference courses offered as well as areas of particular local interest, such as the Bermudiana Collection, and a Portuguese language collection. Their librarians also act in a teaching role, helping students learn how to maximize their use of physical and electronic resources, and the proper methods of research and citation.

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“There are so many different kinds of libraries, and so many ways to be a librarian. Hopefully this National Library Week, you’ll take the time to think about all the ways libraries have made a difference in your life, and if it’s been a while, maybe take a trip down to the National Library, Youth Library, or even the Bermuda College Library [which is open to the public for a small annual charge].

“At the very least, when someone makes a joke about why libraries are going extinct, please let them know that libraries are very much around and providing invaluable services to their communities!”

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