The Gattis Logan County Public Library joins libraries of all types in celebrating the many ways libraries build strong communities by providing critical resources, programs and expertise during National Library Week.

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a proclamation on April 9, stating that the week of April 19-25 will be honored as National Library Week in Arkansas. National Library Week is a way to celebrate and highlight the valuable role libraries and library workers play in transforming lives and communities. Libraries are at the heart of their cities, towns, schools and campuses.

Gattis Logan County Librarian Amber Mikles said, "Amidst all of the disruptions due to the pandemic, it was pleasing to hear of the governor's proclamation regarding National Library Week. On April 9, with his proclamation, Hutchinson said he values libraries and recognizes the good that they provide for our communities and encourages others to "find their place" at the library. It is always nice to hear that someone recognizes and values what you do. I appreciate that."

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries across the country each April.

Library programs encourage community members to meet to discuss civic issues, book a session on computer help, or bring children to storytimes. Library staff also partner with other civic and service organizations to actively engage with the people they serve.

"When we see our patrons walk through the doors with a bright smile on their face, we know we are appreciated. When a story time kid says they loved the story, we know that we are making a difference. Every day we are blessed to see that our community loves us and recognizes what we do."

Gattis Logan County Library provides a safe, welcoming and neutral place for the free exchange of ideas and information, therefore, promoting literacy, imagination and life-long learning. The library also fosters civic engagement by keeping people informed and aware of community events and issues.

Proclaiming National Library Week in the middle of a pandemic might not allow for local libraries to share programs and activities with the community. However, the staff at the Gattis Logan County Library is using this time to be creative and provide programs that still offer social distancing, including sidewalk chalk art contests and virtual storytimes.

"Librarians are notorious for being problem solvers. In 1905, a librarian found a way to get books to the people by designing the horse-drawn wagon. Her resources were much more limited than ours. We are blessed that we live in a time where technology can help us connect with our patrons in times such as these. The library ladies care about this community and we want to help in any way that we can."

Mikles said that the door may be closed to the public, but the library staff has been inside the doors working diligently to find various ways to connect with our community.

"Social media has been helpful in providing us with a space to deliver storytimes, useful information, live interactive family trivia and quirky "Quaraoke."

The staff at the Gattis Logan County Library have also created TikTok videos to reach older teens and young adults.

"We also want folks to keep reading! Grab and Go bags are placed on the front porch and they are available for anyone to take, read and keep. While you are grabbing a bag of books, be sure to 'Take and Make' a craft."

Mikles said that printing services are also being provided. Patrons can send an email to the library staff of what they need printed, with a time when they will pick it up, and library staff will have it ready and hand it to them at the door.

"Many digital services are available through our website, (arvrls.com) such as e-books, homework help, downloadable music, and brain games."

The library will be adding various programs, to celebrate National Library Week. The programs and activities will be listed on the region's Facebook Page, Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System.

"One program that the whole family can enjoy will be Family Trivia LIVE on Tuesday, April 21, at 2:30 p.m. The topic will be books and libraries, so brush up on your facts now!"

For more information about upcoming programs, visit the Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System Facebook page or call (479) 963-2371.