Idina Menzel and John Lithgow talk children’s books during National Library Week – The Hollywood Reporter

Libraries and the connection they provide through their vast print and multimedia collections, technology services, programming and courses exist far beyond the confines of National Library Week. But the American Library Association’s 2022 event, which runs April 3-9, is a particularly timely celebration of these spaces as centers of culture, community, information and imagination, especially for the children.

For actor John Lithgow, who has written many children’s books, libraries have remained important places for him as a person and as an author. “I really like old libraries,” he said. The Hollywood Reporter before the week-long event of 2022.”They attract you and you enter another time, another space.

All the bright places author Jennifer Niven also said THR that for her, libraries were a gateway to the world – and beyond. “In libraries, I discovered that the world was possible,” she said. THR. “Books were doors to magical worlds.”

These are sentiments likely shared by many teenage and children’s authors and their young readers, who may find it difficult to access these books and their libraries, whether due to financial, geographic, transportation, or legislative. Without this preserved connection, an assertive and essential source of personal or community connection, refuge and exploration may be lost.

This year’s National Library Week considers this, arguably, even more deeply than in previous years. He launched with #UniteAgainstBookBansa campaign that coincided with the release of 2022 State of America’s Libraries Report, a revealing look at, among other things, the state of book challenges and bans. Not only did this confirm that the majority of the 10 most challenged books of 2021 were for children and teens, but it also revealed that the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked the highest recorded number of challenges from books since they started recording censorship data.

This year’s annual celebration is therefore a reminder that despite new and persistent barriers to access, libraries are a space that still deserves to be celebrated and protected, both for what they offer and for the people who are there to offer it.

In the middle of a month of ALA events celebrating children’s books, national library workers, school libraries and the preservation of stories, actors and musicians turned children’s and YA authors – alongside YA and children’s authors whose works have been adapted for the screen – spoke with THR participate in the week of celebration and awareness.

From sharing stories about working in libraries to the direct impact their books can have, Chris Colfer, RL Stine, Ciara and Russell Wilson, and many more, spoke about the impact of literature and places that contain stories, both about themselves and their young readers. .