Do you share our love of books? With the busy holiday season behind us, it’s a great time to stop, take a minute and delve into a great new book, thousands of which are available at the Library. And what better way to encourage us to pay attention, educate our ignorance and make a difference than commemorative months? There are plenty of month-long observances that honor, educate or promote awareness of specific heritages, health issues or historical events. Whether you’re an avid reader or literacy advocate, here is a list of commemorative months that you can acknowledge by checking out something from our collection.
February’s Black History Month started in 1926, evolving from the Negro History Week to a month-long recognition of the accomplishments of black Americans. In 1987 Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity to celebrate women’s contributions to history, culture and society.
National American Indian Heritage/Native American Heritage Month has been commemorated during November since 1990 and provides a platform to share culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance and histories, and to acknowledge the important contributions of indigenous peoples.
Some months are chosen because of a significant event that occurred during it such as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Pride Month. LGBT Pride Month is held in June to honor the June 1969 Stonewall riots, recognized as the first major demonstration for homosexual rights. Pride Month highlights a stance against discrimination and violence toward the LGBT community, while promoting their self-affirmation, dignity and rights. At the Library you can find novels with LGBT characters as well as books on philosophy, religion, politics, legal issues and biographies of famous and not-so famous people—all covering LGBT viewpoints and figures.
Other months help provide a needed spotlight on specific health or societal concerns: October for breast cancer, March for colon cancer and September for suicide prevention. October is also both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Month and Domestic Abuse Awareness Month while August is Grief Awareness Month. Targeting a specific issue on a large scale can encourage preventive testing and education.
But what about the other eleven months when a specific issue is not being highlighted? What if you need information about grief in March instead of in August? Or ADHD in August? What if you want to learn about leaders in the Native American community in July? Do you have to wait until the commemorative month? Not at all. The Library is here to help you year round by providing free access to materials covering all of these topics and more.
The health section contains books with explanations, treatment options and alternative medicine. How to find top doctors and questions to ask the medical team might be just the thing for a first step. Grief can hit any time of the year, and the Library stands ready with an excellent collection of books to help navigate this rocky time.
The shelves are heavy with biographies from many different backgrounds. Learn about Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Helen Keller, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Sacajawea all year.
But if you want to begin the year following a topic that has a national focus, January is National Soup Month. What better way to start the New Year than with a piping hot bowl of soup and a good book to read?
Kate Mutch is the Assistant Director at the Library.