A Very Different National Library Week for 2020

Today begins a very special and, given the current times, very different week here at the American Philatelic Research Library. First observed in 1958 and sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), today marks the beginning of the 61st anniversary of National Library Week (April 19-25), a week commemorating libraries and librarians. All across the country the annual event recognizes the important contributions that libraries have within the fabric of society and the role that librarians play as the organizers and facilitators of knowledge, resources and research.

This year’s theme of “Find Your Place at the Library” can at first seem a bit ironic given the world we now live in and could almost be reimagined as “Find the Library at Your Place.” During this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place, the role of the library and its ability to reach out remotely to its patrons has never been greater. During this unprecedented time, librarians have taken up the challenge of transforming their libraries to meet the needs of their now remote users by providing more virtual resources and avenues for research, and the APRL is no different.

When COVID-19 forced the library to close and the staff to work from home, we decided to open up the resources of the library to all to allow everyone to “Find the Library at Your Place.” APRL Digital, the APRL’s digital collections database is now accessible to all, member and non-member, until the end of May. Members, wherever they are, can now freely access its resources while those unfamiliar with all that the APRL has to offer through the database can use and experience what the resource can provide in aiding them with their philatelic research.

Further to this, we also decided to allow free access to the latest editions of the library’s quarterly journal the Philatelic Literature Review. Again until May 31, member and non-member alike can access all of the 2019 issues and the third and fourth quarter of 2018 from the bottom of the library’s webpage.

Finally, the staff of the APRL took part in three very informative videos as part of the ongoing and very popular APS Stamp Chat series being produced by the APS Content Department during this time. The first APRL Stamp Chat presented by Scott Tiffney, Director of Information Services / Librarian took viewers on a virtual tour of the library and described the library’s collection and services. Up next, the second APRL Stamp Chat concerned the APRL’s digital collections database APRL Digital and was again presented by Scott Tiffney. Finally, the third APRL Stamp Chat was an “Ask the Librarian” session involving Scott and Marian Mills, APRL Technical Services Coordinator.

So in keeping with the theme of “Find Your Place at the Library” during this unique National Library Week, the APRL will do its part to assist members and non-members alike to “Find the APRL at Their Place” reaching out with remote access to the library’s digital collections and virtual resources.