Reasons to Love Libraries. Image of Mychal the librarian on a phone screen talking to the camera.

Got a Reason to Love Libraries? Share your story

This blog post is by Kathy Ishizuka, Editor in Chief of School Library Journal, a Unite Against Book Bans partner.

A library story. It’s said that everyone has one. And now there’s an exciting opportunity to share yours and encourage others to do the same, sparking a constructive national dialog around libraries.

Launched by School Library Journal and Library Journal, “Reasons to Love Libraries” is a yearlong editorial project and campaign to engage the public in reflecting on libraries to consider their impact on people and communities.

Reporting on libraries has been our business for decades. We were inspired to spearhead this effort because so much of the current public discourse around libraries does not square with our journalism, what libraries do, and what they are about.

As Emily Drabinski, American Library Association president, observed, writing in American Libraries: “We find ourselves confronting a loud and angry narrative about libraries, library workers, and, yes, our library association, that runs counter to reality.”

Meanwhile, ongoing efforts to ban books and the associated targeting of libraries nationwide, are all too real and show no sign of abating. The current tenor—fed by a steady stream of vitriol, disinformation, and personal attacks—threatens libraries as an institution and in so doing endangers equitable access to content, the First Amendment rights of students, and so much more.

The library is a “place for everybody to exist,” Mychal Threets told the New York Times in January. “Without the library, many people wouldn’t survive,” added the librarian/social media phenom. “Many people wouldn’t be in the position they’re in to better their lives and have the ultimate future that they’re capable of.”

Public participation is an important component of “Reasons to Love Libraries,” providing an opportunity for people to consider, document, and share their experiences, and enabling reflection about these institutions and their role in contemporary life. For our part, LJ and SLJ will continue to report on libraries in the context of this project and beyond.

As I’ve written previously, “Telling the fuller story about libraries will shed light on larger issues. Working to serve their communities, libraries are encountering great need, from food insecurity and mental health support to critical access to information and services: universal, human issues that should have us coming together to help resolve.”

Ready to share your own story? Post with the hashtag #ReasonstoLoveLibraries and add campaign graphics, available here. For Canva users, there are templates pre-populated with the campaign branding. Simply add your image or text and post. And feel free to let us know at @sljournal and @LibraryJournal.

Need inspiration? Here are two “Reasons to Love Libraries”:

Library programs are part of a national strategy to combat a major public health epidemic: loneliness.

Jessie Storrs wants to bring SEL to incarceration facilities throughout California, including in Sacramento, Alameda, and San Diego.

If you represent an organization interested in partnering with the Reasons to Love Libraries campaign, please contact me.