Canberra, February 16: Library Lovers’ Day, on 14 February, was one of the most anticipated and widely celebrated events for libraries around the country and the world.
This year’s theme ‘Show the Love’ was a timely one. Coinciding with Valentine’s Day, it was not only a chance to share and show our love of books, stories and reading, it was also a call for people to re-engage with their libraries after a tumultuous period of lockdowns and restrictions in the Eastern states, and support our libraries entering into restrictions in WA.
Social media was abuzz throughout the day with photos of the celebrations and displays. The ‘blind date with a book’ idea proved popular, with Paramatta Library, Fairfield Library and many others offering patrons the chance to read a book carefully selected by their knowledgeable librarians and to ‘rate the date’. Trivia events, quote competitions, even ‘take a compliment, leave a compliment’ initiatives were also on the agenda for our public libraries, along with photos of library staff celebrating and being celebrated by their communities.
Our State Libraries, too, came out in force to ‘show the love’. State Library NSW, National Library Australia and State Library Queensland all took the opportunity to showcase their collections, with everything from botanical reference books, books on the architectural history of libraries, and 1950s romance comics on display.
The staff at State Library of Victoria were keen to honour the bookworms in their lives by putting together a visual ‘love letter’ of some of their favourite spaces in the building, much renowned for its magnificent reading rooms.
With this year’s Library Lovers’ Day design aimed at capturing a sense of childlike joy and wonder, it was no surprise to see schools and students all over the country using our posters, colouring sheets and heart templates to note what libraries mean to them. Universities libraries also participated in the day, with staff from Federation University sharing their favourite quotes on love.
Digital inclusion and literacy was also a powerful theme, with both the BeConnected Network and Digital Science paying tribute to the ways in which libraries support communities of all ages to build their digital literacy and help to increase the confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians.
A key part of the day’s festivities was the testimonials from authors thanks to Australia Reads. Some of the country’s leading figures from the literary world including Andy Griffiths, Claire Wright, Kaz Cooke, Mem Fox, Anita Heiss, Catherine Jinks, Lian Tanner, Hazel Edwards, Dimity Powell to name just a few shared reminiscences and thoughts about their relationships with libraries: everything from igniting that first creative spark, to providing a safe and welcome refuge in an often noisy world.
With Library Lovers’ Day now a global event, it was also wonderful to see individuals and institutions from around the world showing their love for libraries. Historical societies, community colleges, international schools, sexual health clinics, hospital libraries and many more all leant their voices to the campaign, everywhere from Lagos to the Florida coast.
We wish to thank everyone who participated in this year’s Library Lovers’ Day and helped us to celebrate and acknowledge everything that libraries bring to our lives and communities.