The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is to launch the first Libraries Week, a seven-day celebration of Britain's "much-loved" libraries, in October 2017 to replace National Libraries Day.
During the week, libraries will showcase the "best they have to offer" and encourage people to discover what libraries can do for them. The celebration will take place from the 9th-14th October 2017.
The celebration will replace National Libraries Day, which was previously held in February. The countdown to the inaugural Libraries Week will launch on Saturday 4th February 2017 and libraries with activity already planned for 4th February 2017 are encouraged to continue with their plans as the transition to a new date gets underway.
Nick Poole, CILIP c.e.o. said: “Libraries Week is an opportunity to celebrate the very best that libraries have to offer across the UK. During the second week in October, we want to ensure that as many people as possible are inspired to visit a library, discover what's on offer and encourage their friends & family to get involved. I am delighted that we have been able to respond to feedback from the library community by expanding from a single day to a week-long celebration of libraries, enabling us to include more partners and develop a really exciting programme for the public."
Poole added: "CILIP and our national partners are committed to ensuring that Libraries Week receives widespread visibility and support. Whatever type of library you work in, we need you to join us and help ensure the success of Libraries Week."
More details about Libraries Week will be announced in February along with a call for UK libraries to sign up and commit to planning, delivering and locally promoting high quality co-ordinated experiences during Libraries Week.
This move by CILIP to increase support of and engagement with libraries comes in the wake of a government report which earlier this year revealed that there has been a "significant decrease" in the proportion of adults who engage with public libraries across all demographic groups for the first time since records began. The report found that 33.4% of adults had visited a public library in the year April 2015 to March 2016, down from 33.9% a year earlier, and down from 48.2% in 2005/06.
Many campaigners have argued that this decrease is due to the widespread closures of libraries that has occurred within the past decade which has seen 343 libraries close, 8,000 paid and trained library workers lost and a 93% increase in the use of volunteers in libraries.
This weekend will see campaigners come together at a national demonstration to protest the "crisis" in the library service. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged his “100% support” to the demonstration which aims to highlight the “clear and present danger” to Britain's public library service.