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Rutgers prepares to celebrate libraries with week's worth of events

<p>The several Rutgers libraries are gearing up for “National Library Week,” which will occur from April 10 to April 14. There will be several events during the week, as well as opportunities for students and student workers to discuss their experiences with the facilities.</p>

The several Rutgers libraries are gearing up for “National Library Week,” which will occur from April 10 to April 14. There will be several events during the week, as well as opportunities for students and student workers to discuss their experiences with the facilities.

Whether you are cramming for an exam or borrowing a book, the libraries are useful. And for National Library Week, which spans from April 10 to 16, Rutgers Libraries will be celebrating their existence as a resource for students. 

National Library Week is a program that was started in 1958 by our parent organization, the American Library Association (ALA), said Jessica Pellien, Director of Communications at Rutgers University Libraries.

"It’s essentially a week for us to celebrate what libraries, librarians and library workers do. And how we serve the communities,” she said.

Student workers will have the opportunity to tell the school how they feel about their jobs at the libraries, Pellien said.

This year, Rutgers Libraries are collaborating with student employment for National Library Week. 

"We’re going to be featuring our student workers on our website through some profiles and questions about what their experiences are like, working here at the libraries,” Pellien said.

The event is open the public who want to raise awareness for libraries, whether they be first-time library goers or dedicated fans of the quiet space, Pellien said.

“If you’re someone who uses a library, then you will benefit from National Library Week," she said. "Libraries are really important and you don’t realize how important they are because they’re just always there. They’re reliable and reliable sometimes means that you don’t get the observance or the celebrations that you should get." 

Pellien said they want it to be a big event and for everyone to participate, but cannot say for certain how many individuals will participate and avidly show how much they care about libraries. 

“I don’t know if (students) will participate in National Library Week per se. I hope everybody celebrates National Library Week," she said. "I think that the libraries are a really key part of what makes Rutgers a really phenomenal place to study and a really phenomenal University in general." 

Boris Klimushkin, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said he goes to the libraries at Rutgers but has never heard of National Library Week before. 

“Truthfully, I don’t know why National Library Week was created," he said. "I don’t know if students here will participate in it either. I feel like if people hype it up though, and bring attention to it, then people might want to get involved." 

It is not that students are indifferent about libraries, but rather, the issue of concern may come down to an understanding of the event as a whole, said David Blyd, a Rutgers Business School first-year student student.

“I honestly think it could be a crucial (event) but it isn’t advertised as much," he said. "I felt if I had more information about the (event) I would care more but honestly, I don’t know much about it because of lack of awareness." 

Regardless of advertising, Klimushkin said libraries are still vital to studying and schooling and should be appreciated.

“There are definitely a lot of benefits to being at a library. I mean, it’s quieter. It’s more of a work environment and if you see other people working, then you’re going to want to work too. It’s just peer pressure in a good way,” Klimushkin said.

Libraries are so under appreciated, Pellien said. If students care about libraries, they should not be ashamed to show that and let others know how they feel about them. 

“I think that if you are a student and you use the libraries, you should let people know that you use the libraries and that you support what they do," she said. "National Library Week is a good time to show that support. So I hope people will follow us and participate in whatever we have going on."

Without student support, Pellien said there may no longer be libraries to go to, whether it be for books, computing services, or even aid from a librarian. 

“Everybody expects libraries to have whatever resources they want or whatever they need. But libraries are very challenging and complex organizations. They need support or services that they offer are going to be diminished. We need to make sure that libraries get their dues,” Pellien said.

Libraries have been around for years upon years and although they may just seem like a place for studying or reading, they are so much more, Blyd said.

“While libraries may seem outdated, I feel that (they) are still crucial to this generation, both in an educational and social aspect," Blyd said. "I feel that students gain the ability to focus more in a library setting while interacting with new people as well." 

Libraries at Rutgers expand their carrying capacity to allow for more students to access their resources, Klimushkin said. 

“I do like the idea of going to a library with a group of friends and studying. I think that it’s very beneficial. So if they had more rooms where we could book, I think that would be better. We all want our quiet space,” Klimushkin said.

At the end of the day, whether National Library Week is largely celebrated or not, students should just recognize the value that libraries hold, Pellien said.

“Libraries are more than just books. They should be celebrated as the contributors to culture and the contributors to their communities. We always make sure that people have the resources that they need. And that says a lot about what libraries represent,” Pellien said.

Nicole Osztrogonacz is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in English. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. Find her on Twitter @nikki_osz for more.

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