WASHINGTON – In honor of National Library Week, U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) is introducing a resolution to honor library workers nationwide today.
“Libraries and library workers don’t just facilitate the public’s access to information, many stepped up during the pandemic to provide personal protective equipment and COVID tests – and are now continuing that public service by offering Narcan, a lifesaving tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “As book bans have become an inflection point of culture wars, libraries and library staff across the country have faced violent threats. Today, I am proud to reaffirm my support for these public servants and thank them for the critical work they do in our communities.”
Over 350,000 public servants work at an estimated 120,000 libraries nationwide, including 27 across Seattle. Library workers provide a host of critical services, from access to books, media, and the internet, to high-quality educational and cultural programming geared toward visitors of all ages, including linking visitors to social services. These services are often essential to meeting the needs of underserved communities, including low-income and unhoused individuals and families.
In 2022, over a dozen public libraries received threats resulting in canceled events and closures. While many of these were hoaxes, they underscore the heightened challenges being faced by libraries and library workers. Yet while libraries face this inflection point, the public highly values them. A Pew Research Center study found that 69 percent of U.S. adults age 16 or older felt their local libraries substantially contributed to providing a safe place for people to spend time, and 58 percent thought they substantially contributed toward creating educational opportunities.
The resolution is sponsored by Representatives Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Greg Casar (TX-35), Angie Craig (MN-02), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Summer Lee (PA-12), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Grace Napolitano (CA-31). Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Linda Sanchez (CA-38), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Hillary Scholten (MI-03), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24).
The resolution is endorsed by AFSCME and the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association.