As part of a national celebration and recognition of libraries and librarians in America, today begins a very special week for the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL). Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), today marks the start of the 63rd anniversary of National Library Week (April 4-10, 2021). First observed in 1958, the annual event recognizes the important contributions that libraries and librarians across the country play in their role as organizers and facilitators of knowledge, resources and research.
This year’s theme for National Library Week is “Welcome to Your Library” and nothing could be more appropriate at this time for libraries and for the APRL. With the initial introduction and then the hard reality that COVID-19 brought to all of us in 2020, this year and the start of 2021 has been both a challenge and an opportunity for libraries, especially the APRL. The real challenge of “Welcome to Your Library” came when the American Philatelic Center (APC) was forced to close to the public in March of 2020 due to Pennsylvania and CDC guidelines making the task ahead daunting for both APS staff and APRL staff.
Initially, even with being closed for two months from March to April and without having access to the resources and collections of the library, the APRL staff “welcomed” library requests continuing to respond and answer them as they were received. In May once the library was opened again to a limited number of library staff (one staff member at first, followed then by no more than two) library requests were still welcomed” continuing our service to our members and our patrons.
In addition to this it was decided to "welcome" patrons and researchers everywhere to the digital resources of the APRL. Normally an APS member benefit, in May 2020 the Robert A. Mason Digital Library, the library's digital collections database, was opend to the public providing worldwide access to the resource of the APRL for both members and non-members.
Fast forward to today and now we are finally able to again truly say, in keeping with this week of celebration and recognition, “Welcome to Your Library” as we open the doors of the APRL to our members on a limited appointment-only basis during this initial phase (read more about the library re-opening HERE).
Also as this week begins we want to sincerely thank our members and all those who have supported the APRL and its staff during this time with their thoughts and contributions and we truly appreciate the patience and understanding you have shown over the past year. As the theme of this week clearly states, this is a “welcome to YOUR library” and we are both privileged and honored to be the custodians of this remarkable repository of philatelic resources.
So as we begin National Library Week, we look forward to the opportunity of “welcom(ing) to your library” more and more of you.