Reflecting on National Library Week’s Theme

National Library Week was first sponsored in 1958 by the American Library Association (ALA). Libraries of all types (academic, research, special, school, public) across the United States recognize this special week in April. This year’s National Library Week took place April 4 – 10, 2021. The theme “Welcome to Your Library” focused on the importance of how we deliver library services beyond the traditional brick and mortar library.

While the MSK Library did not organize a celebration, I want to take a moment to reflect on this theme and how the MSK Library team (and other hospital and research libraries’ staff) respond to their user communities. 2020 changed how libraries interact with their users and COVID-19 pushed us to rethink how to best support our users and look for opportunities to continue to be part of their day-to-day work/life activities. Many libraries strived to continue to deliver a positive user experience with synchronous virtual reference and consultation services, moving training and orientation classes completely online, and creating safe areas where clients could drop by the library to pick up print materials. We have always offered online services, the pandemic amplified the need for ongoing promotion and awareness of how we can collaborate on information-intense projects, answer reference questions, or handle research requests, in a virtual setting.

MSK staff can learn more about our Virtual Services, but I also want to extend an invitation to our users to reach out directly to us to schedule a brief Library Orientation to better understand these services, and the digital resources accessible via the Library Website.

Finally, another way for users to gain insights and stay in touch with the MSK Library is through our social media presence, so don’t hesitate to start following us on Twitter or Instagram.  And feel free to send me your Twitter handle, so we can follow you!

Donna Gibson
Director of Library Services