Libraries strengthen their communities: celebrate National Library Week April 7-13
This editorial was written by Laurel Best, Executive Director of the HMCPL.
This week, the Huntsville Madison County Public Library (HMCPL) joins libraries of all types in celebrating the many ways libraries build strong communities by providing critical resources, programs and expertise.
April 7-13, 2019 is National Library Week, an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians and library workers play in transforming lives and communities. Libraries are at the heart of their cities, towns, schools and campuses. They have public spaces where people of all backgrounds can come together and connect.
The Huntsville-Madison County Public Library is Alabama’s first public library and has been a part of this community for over 200 years. We have remained number one in circulation and program attendance across the state. Last year, over 2.1 million items were checked out and over 1.1 million people visited our 12 branches. We far surpass Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery in library usage. A big part of this success is you. You value your library and it shows.
Libraries have evolved from being a place to check out books to a piece of the social fabric of the communities it serves. From cradle to grave, we impact every resident through literacy, workforce development, art and STEM activities and enrichment programs. The library is a gathering place for all residents, where free services and information are guaranteed. With over 500,000 items in our collection and almost 5,000 yearly programs, your library has something for everyone in our community.
Our library programs encourage community members to meet to discuss civic issues, work together using new technologies like 3D printing or learn along side one another in English language classes. Library staff also partner with other civic and service organizations to actively engage with the people they serve, always striving to make sure our community’s core needs are being met.
The HMCPL has enjoyed partnerships with LearningQUEST, the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville, the North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless and the Huntsville Ballet Company, to name a few. And this summer, as the City of Huntsville celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11, your local library will be celebrating in tandem, with engaging programs and exhibits that highlight our area’s role in this part of our nation’s history.
We are also evolving to better meet the needs of our communities. This year, we are finalizing plans and beginning construction on two new, state-of-the-art libraries in Huntsville: the North Huntsville Library, which will replace the Bessie K. Russell Library on Sparkman Drive and the South Huntsville Library, which will replace the Bailey Cove Library. Both libraries will be a welcome addition as our area continues to grow in record numbers.
I encourage you to visit one of our 12 branches this week to celebrate with us. Sign up or renew your library card; join us for one of our many story times and programs; check out a book or look into one of the many digital services we offer.
For more information on the Huntsville Madison County Public Library, please visit hmcpl.org