National Library Week runs from April 4 through April 10, 2021, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has timed the launching of its Bookmark the Town campaign to coincide with this special week for all lovers of libraries. Like political campaigns, the Bookmark the Town campaign involves the planting of yard signs, but these specially designed signs provide space for everyone to recommend a favorite book. These signs can be obtained by making a $15 gift to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. This campaign, however, is about more than raising much needed funds for the public library. It is also about building a sense of community and starting conversations about books.
In order to find out more about the Bookmark the Town campaign, I contacted Melanie Baron, the Marketing and Communications Specialist with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation. I asked her for a statement about the campaign, and here is what she sent to me:
This week is National Library Week, an annual celebration of the critical role of public libraries in our society. This year’s theme, “Welcome to Your Library” promotes the idea that Libraries are for everyone – and extend far beyond the walls of a building.
This was demonstrated over the past year, when your Charlotte Mecklenburg Library adapted to a quickly changing worlds by expanding digital resources, providing access to Wi-Fi and technology for those who need it, and partnering with parents, teachers and students navigating virtual schooling. Throughout, your Library never wavered from its mission to improve lives and build a stronger community.
Building a stronger community is what Bookmark the Town is all about. Books and stories inspire us, teach us, entertain us, and bring us together. Bookmark the Town yard signs support your Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, celebrate National Library Week, and share your favorite books – all at once! Plant a (physical or virtual) sign with a gift of $15 or more and help our community grow.
Opening a book can open a conversation…together, let’s build a stronger community and #bookmarkthetown! What’s on your sign?
Well, my wife and I agreed right away to support the Bookmark the Town campaign, but deciding what book to recommend on our yard sign took a bit more time. We briefly considered recommending books that we have written or books that our friends have written, but we rejected this approach in favor of recommending a classic book, a book that has touched both of our lives. After some discussion, we agreed to recommend To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It’s a book that we have both read on multiple occasions. It’s a book that speaks to social problems and injustices that are as relevant today as they were when the book first appeared in 1960. It’s a book that reflects and honors the intelligence of children. It’s a book that extolls the importance of treating all people with respect and dignity and of standing up for one’s core principles and values. In the words, of Oprah Winfrey, “To Kill a Mockingbird is our national novel.”
The conversation that my wife and I had about what book to list on our yard sign is an example of how the Bookmark the Town campaign can open conversations about books. For those of us who are served by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, this campaign is but one of many ways that our public library encourages all of us to participate in the cultural exchanges that are such an important part of life in Storied Charlotte.