HOLLIDAYSBURG -?At their April 1 meeting, the Blair County commissioners issued a proclamation declaring April 13 to 19 as National Library Week in Blair County.
This year's theme - "Lives Change at Your Library" - highlights the unique role libraries play in people's lives.
The eight county libraries will celebrate National Library Week with programs that help people improve their literacy skills in five knowledge areas - basic, information, civic and social, health, and financial literacy - essential to meeting the demands of life in the 21st century.
Blair County commissioners Diane Meling, Terry Tomassetti (center) and Ted Beam Jr. encourage children to read “Stripes of All Types” by Susan Stockdale, during National Library Week in Blair County.
For all eight libraries, basic literacy mainly means promoting the love of reading through storytimes for pre-kindergarten children and their parents.
During the week, all the libraries will have storytime, including "Jungle Animals" at the Roaring Spring Community Library and "Colors" at the Williamsburg Public Library.
To promote the importance of financial literacy, the Altoona, Bellwood, Claysburg, Martinsburg and Tyrone libraries will hold sessions from the "Piggy Bank Tales" program.
This is a storytime program based around children books with the themes of earning, saving, spending and sharing. The program aims to convince parents of the importance of starting to talk to their children at a very early age about managing money.
Information literacy is the key to digital society. A Nook and Kindle instruction session will be held at the Roaring Spring Community Library.
At the Altoona Area Public Library teens will be invited to create poetry and to learn how to code to be able to program their own stories, games and animation.
Health literacy will be promoted by the Altoona Library hosting a Red Cross blood drive.
Social literacy will be promoted with an Independent Film Festival showing films from the program "Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue."
Films include "Twenty Feet From Stardom," a film which won an Oscar for the best documentary feature.
The Roaring Spring Community Library and the Williamsburg Public Library will offer "Food For Fines" - a chance to help those in the community who need food and at the same time erase any money owed for overdue materials.
National Library Week begins a few days earlier with the reading of "Stripes of All Types," this year's Pa. One Book.
The county libraries will also be participating in the activities held at Penn State Altoona to celebrate the Week of the Young Child.
"In these difficult economic times, the eight libraries in Blair County are experiencing a tremendous increase in usage," said Jennifer Knisely, director of the Altoona Area Public Library.
"During the first three months of 2014, the eight county libraries have issued over 900 new library cards. What makes the library unique is access to trained professionals - librarians - to help people find and interpret the information they need to make a difference in their lives."