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Spreading Library Joy

Librarian Mychal Threets uses social media to encourage his followers to find joy at their local library.

Headshot of Mychal Threets next to map of Solano county with various icons representing books and learning.
Courtesy of Project15, www.project15.co, © Rainer Lesniewski, Ratch0013/Dreamstime.com; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Mychal Threets has become a library icon.

When Mychal Threets makes a video for his hundreds of thousands of social media followers, he usually talks about the place he loves the most: the library. Threets, a librarian himself, hopes to spread what he calls “library joy” by sharing uplifting stories and letting his followers know that the library is for everyone.

Threets was most recently the supervising librarian at the Fairfield Civic Center Library in Solano County, California, but his library journey started long ago. Beginning at age 3, he found magic among the books at his local library. When he got older, it made sense to carve out a career in public libraries. He got a job shelving books and then earned a master’s degree in library science. Today, he loves to see young people find the same library joy he did—children he refers to as “library kids.”

In one Instagram video, Threets tells his followers about a library kid who asked for chapter books about superheroes. Threets asked the kid if they were interested in graphic novels in addition to chapter books. The kid had never heard of graphic novels and was thrilled to find out there was even more to read about Black Panther and Thanos. They ended up borrowing two books and planned to return for more.

Threets is happy to see anyone return to the library—and hopes more people will make regular visits to their local public library. In addition to books, people at the Fairfield Civic Center Library can borrow musical instruments, baking equipment, and video games. There are audiobooks and resources in Spanish. There’s homework help, too. And in the bigger picture, the library is a place where everyone in the community can gather.

“The biggest resource is the library itself,” Threets told the Marin Independent Journal. “There is something for everybody.”

On February 23, Threets announced in an Instagram video that he would be leaving his job at the Fairfield Civic Center Library on March 1. Threets said he had made the decision in order to take care of his mental health, something he has always encouraged his followers to do. But Threets will keep a commitment to work with PBS as its resident librarian, a role he took earlier in February. Using social media, he’ll suggest books to read and continue to spread library joy.

Did You Know?

One of the earliest public libraries in the United States opened in Franklin, Massachusetts, in 1790. The people of Franklin had named their town after Benjamin Franklin. In return, they asked him to pay for a bell for their meeting house. Franklin gave books instead, explaining that “‘sense’ was preferable to ‘sound’.” Town leaders decided to make the book collection available to any resident.

Swampyank (CC BY 4.0)

The Franklin Public Library is the oldest in the country. Founded in 1790, it didn’t have its own building until 1904.

Read Across America

The book covers for Moonwalking, The Lost Ryū, and Aniana Del Mar Jumps In against a wavy, colorful background.
Penguin Random House, Levine Querido, Macmillan Publishers

March 2 is Read Across America Day. To mark the occasion, and to celebrate the power of books all year long, the National Education Association (NEA) posts book recommendations every month. Here are just a few of the NEA’s favorites.

Moonwalking, by Zetta Elliott and Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Two boys with seemingly different interests and backgrounds—punk rocker JJ and math geek/graffiti artist Pie—strike up a friendship and help each other navigate challenges at home and at school.

The Lost Ryū, by Emi Watanabe Cohen

Japan’s last big ryū—dragon—disappeared soon after World War II, long before Kohei was born. But Kohei somehow remembers the big dragons and understands the loss his ailing grandfather felt when they were gone. Kohei feels he must find the big ryū before it’s too late.

Aniana Del Mar Jumps In, by Jasminne Mendez

Aniana’s mother worries about the dangers of the water, but Aniana’s love for swimming is unshakeable. When Aniana is diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, swimming takes on a new meaning. Aniana faces a new future while her mother must rethink her fears.

Women’s History Month

An animated GIF shows portraits of prominent women from different fields and eras.
Addison N. Scurlock—Michael Ochs Archives, Stephen Shugerman, Andrew Burton, Clive Brunskill, Sasha—Hulton Archive, Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-ds-05052, LC-U9-25383-33, LC-DIG-ppmsca-23661); Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum; PRNewsFoto/XM Satellite Radio/AP Images; Sojourner Truth . . . From Her “Book of Life”; NASA;  Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (NPG.2009.36); © Tupungato/Dreamstime.com; Steve Petteway/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

March is Women’s History Month in the United States. The March 5 edition of “In the News!” will focus on women’s history. In the meantime, check out some related resources at Britannica!

WORD OF THE DAY

commonality

PART OF SPEECH:

noun

Definition:

: a shared feature or quality

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