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International School Libraries Month – October 2024

International School Libraries Month happens every October, and the International Association of School Librarianship (I.A.S.L.) chooses a topic for school libraries all over the globe to celebrate or find inspiration from. It’s a unique opportunity for students worldwide to recognize the value of school libraries. A library is a readily available assemblage of materials, books, or other media. It contains current information that suits the everyday needs of users and can be a physical location or a virtual space providing physical or digital access to materials.

History of International School Libraries Month

Before the emergence of online search engines, people with queries used to go to their local libraries, the most reputable sources they knew. Simply ask, and a reference librarian will answer your question or direct you to a book with the necessary information. The concept of a library can be traced back thousands of years. In the seventh century B.C., Assyrian ruler Ashurbanipal founded the first systematically organized library in Nineveh, Iraq, of the ancient Middle East. Similarly, the Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt is thought to have housed up to 700,000 documents from various regions. Other great libraries include Baghdad’s ‘Bayt al-ikmah’ (‘House of Wisdom’), founded in 830 A.D., and the library of Caliph Al-Hakam in Spain, which housed around 400,000 books in the 10th century.

The objective of ancient libraries was straightforward — gather information, extract knowledge, and improve life. People increasingly began to see the value of having publicly available information centers, and libraries became ubiquitous in cities and towns worldwide.

Many people predicted that libraries would become obsolete as the Internet’s impact grew in the 1990s and 2000s because all the knowledge in the world was suddenly at your fingertips. Despite this, community libraries have continued to thrive, becoming more popular than ever because the Internet does have some weaknesses.

International School Libraries Month timeline

World’s Oldest Functioning Library

The library of Merton College, Oxford, known as the world’s oldest continuously functioning library, is established.

Harvard University Library

John Harvard, a Massachusetts clergyman, founds the Harvard University Library (H.U.L.).

American Library Association

The American Library Association (A.L.A.) is established to allow librarians to work more efficiently.

Library Punching Cards

Librarians in the United States begin using punched cards in libraries and documentation centers.

International School Libraries Month FAQs

What is the importance of a library?

Libraries are bastions of knowledge and culture. They provide spaces for learning and allow individuals to learn about the past while teaching new perspectives.

What are the three elements of a library?

They are the books, the readers, and the staff.

What is prohibited in a library?

Cell phones, smoking, eating, sleeping, and talking loudly in the library are prohibited.

International School Libraries Month Activities

  1. Inquire about book suggestions

    If you’ve finished all the books in your favorite series and aren’t sure what to read next, ask a librarian for recommendations! They’ll use their knowledge to recommend a book you’ll appreciate.

  2. Read a short story to kids

    During the holidays, many public libraries host story-time sessions for preschoolers and lower school students. Volunteer at the library to read some of these stories to children.

  3. Get yourself a library card

    Make a habit of visiting the library, and get a library card to prove it! They’re usually free, so you can read all the books you want without paying a cent.

5 Interesting Facts About Libraries

  1. Benjamin Franklin’s lending library

    In 1731, Benjamin Franklin established a lending library.

  2. Libraries were also homes

    Many of the first libraries had apartments on their top floors.

  3. Librarians had their own writing system

    Librarians were once required to employ a certain handwriting style known as the ‘librarian hand.’

  4. The world’s largest library is in America

    The Library of Congress is the largest in the world.

  5. Walmart has a library

    A massive Walmart-turned-library is found in the state of Texas.

Why We Love International School Libraries Month

  1. Everyone is welcome in libraries

    Everyone can use libraries, and there is something for every type of reader. There’s no better place to learn about diversity in an age when individuality is celebrated than in a library.

  2. Libraries are about more than just books

    Sure, you think of books when you think of libraries. But these spaces have more than just books. You don’t have to be a voracious reader to like reading. Instead, you can borrow an audiobook from the library.

  3. Libraries have a long history

    The first libraries date as far back as 300 B.C. Libraries not only have a long history, but they hold a lot of information about the past.

International School Libraries Month dates

2024October 1Tuesday
2025October 1Wednesday
2026October 1Thursday
2027October 1Friday
2028October 1Sunday
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