On Presidents' Day, Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln stopped by Main Library Idea Box to sign the Declaration. View photos >

Sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, a national movement with local signing drives to support America’s right to libraries, and all libraries offer their communities.

Main Library Idea Box will showcase the Declaration from Feb. 4 through Feb. 26, giving Oak Parkers an opportunity to read, hear and support through their signatures its 10 tenets, which expound upon how libraries and library staff share in a community’s learning. A special signing event will be held on Presidents' Day, Monday, Feb. 17. Everyone is encouraged to attend, and sign the Declaration. Library customers may also visit Maze Branch and Dole Branch during the month to share their signatures, and take part in this historic event. All collected signatures will be presented to Congress during National Library Legislative Day activities in Washington, D.C., on May 5-6. You can also sign the Declaration online at ilovelibraries.org

American Library Association (ALA) President Barbara Stripling unveiled the Declaration last year in Nashville, Tenn., as part of her “Libraries Change Lives” initiative. Since then, libraries across the country have hosted signing ceremonies and thousands of people have signed the declaration, declaring their support for the role of libraries in every community. Stripling said: “Libraries provide services that inspire and empower their users to change their lives through education. The Declaration will serve as an advocacy tool to help communities take action and illustrate the value of their libraries and library staff. Our hope is that library supporters will take advantage of this tool and present collected signatures to local leaders and legislators throughout the year.”

How do libraries change lives?

According to the declaration: "we believe that libraries are essential to a democratic society. Every day, in countless communities across our nation and the world, millions of children, students and adults use libraries to learn, grow and achieve their dreams. In addition to a vast array of books, computers and other resources, library users benefit from the expert teaching and guidance of librarians and library staff to help expand their minds and open new worlds.We declare and affirm our right to quality libraries—public, school, academic, and special—and urge you to show your support by signing your name to this Declaration for the Right to Libraries."

The Declaration's 10 tenets are:

  1. Libraries empower the individual.
  2. Libraries support literacy and lifelong learning.
  3. Libraries strengthen families.
  4. Libraries are the great equalizer.
  5. Libraries build communities.
  6. Libraries protect our right to know.
  7. Libraries strengthen our nation.
  8. Libraries advance research and scholarship.
  9. Libraries help us to better understand each other.
  10. Libraries preserve our nation’s cultural heritage.

How has the library changed your life? We'd love to know! Let's get started.