Join Milner Library in celebrating National Library Week from April 19 to 25. This observation week, initiated by the American Library Association in 1958, highlights the importance of libraries as well as encourages support of all types of libraries around the country.
Initially, the 2020 theme was Find Your Place at the Library. However, with many library physical locations currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s theme has been altered slightly to Find the Library at Your Place. Even though physical spaces are closed, libraries locally and across the country have worked hard to ensure that people can still find what they need through electronic resources, virtual services, and digital content.
Although this shift in how services and resources are temporarily delivered is necessary, no one misses the physical presence of Milner Library more than its staff. And this loss isn’t felt just on campus, but in communities across the nation.
“While Milner Library primarily serves researchers and students, we are part of a wider network that includes public libraries. Libraries are places for both curiosity and refuge, where no one asks for your money or your politics to serve you,” said Milner Dean Shari Zeck. “People are missing our physical spaces, but they are missing them for the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual support they provide. There is much we can do to loan electronic resources, but that does not take the place of the feeling of home one has in a library.”
Even though not physically in the library, employees are working hard carrying out Milner’s unofficial motto of Here to Help. “Milner’s staff has worked hard to move reference services, which prides itself on one-on-one direct support, into a virtual environment,” shared Zeck. “Additionally, we have a number of staff who are working behind the scenes with partners across the state on transitioning to a new state wide library information system. This work has been going on for a couple of years, but we are in the final stages, and staff is taking this time to do deep dives into training modules and into preparing our data for transfer. We are also quite proud of the work our Library Information Technology Services department has been doing in assisting with fabricating personal protective equipment with our 3D printer and coordinating campus efforts.”
This level of service is not something new due to the current pandemic. The University’s beloved first librarian, Angeline V. Milner, set a high bar for serving the campus community. For almost 40 years, Ange advocated for student needs and built library services that quickly outgrew the University’s first library location: a single 160 square foot room in the original Old Main. She created a library integrated into the curriculum and research needs of the University while always considering the needs of future students. The ideals Ange held and practices she introduced have served as a model to successive generations of librarians and laid the strong foundation for what is her now namesake.
While many in-person events originally planned for National Library week had to be cancelled due to closure of the building, join Milner Library on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram every day this week to celebrate the importance of libraries.