This week, The Seattle Public Library joins libraries in schools, campuses and communities nationwide to celebrate the many ways libraries transform their communities every day through the services and invaluable expertise they offer.

April 9-15 is National Library Week and, this year, libraries across the nation are highlighting the changing role of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren't only places of quiet study; they are also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate with coworkers or neighbors, learn to use innovative technologies such as 3D printers and programmable robots, or even practice and record their own music.

Libraries of all types are evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Elected officials, small business owners, students and the public at large depend on libraries and the resources they offer to address their needs. By providing resources such as e-books, technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seekers or a safe haven in times of crisis, libraries and librarians transform their communities.

The Seattle Public Library, one of the top-rated libraries in the nation, is transforming the way Seattle accesses information, and residents have shown enthusiastic support for the Library's efforts with the 2012 passing of a $123 million Library levy. The seven-year levy has funded more open hours, more materials, improved access to technology and improved building maintenance through 2019.

"The Library embraces the entire community, offering unlimited opportunities for personal growth and lifelong learning," said Marcellus Turner, city librarian. "Libraries level the playing field for people of any age who seek information and technology access that improves their quality of life."

The Library's collection of more than 2 million items for children, teens and adults includes books, audiobooks, large print books, music on CDs, movies on DVDs, magazines and newspapers. The Library also has free digital resources available 24/7, including e-books, movies and music, audio books, language learning apps, news publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Seattle Times and more -- all ready to access with or download to your computer, tablet, smartphone or other portable device. This collection is well-loved by patrons; the circulation of physical and digital materials at the Library reached nearly 11.7 million in 2016.

In addition to offering free Wi-Fi access at all 27 Library locations, the Library lends SPL HotSpots -- Wi-Fi hotspots that can be checked out for 21 days and can connect up to 15 devices.

The Library also offers a number of resources available outside of its buildings. The wildly-popular Museum Pass program enables card holders to check out free passes to local museums and theaters. You can even rent a boat for free! Throughout the spring and summer, the Library's Open Air pop-up library goes to community events and festivals to bring books, charging stations and information about Library services. The Library uses pedal power and customized bicycle trailers with the Books on Bikes program to bring services to popular community events around Seattle.

All of these services are available when you pick up your free Library card. You'll find more to do at the Library, too -- including author readings, hands-on skills classes, film screenings, story times for children and adults, opera previews, language groups and more. There's something happening at your Library every day.

Libraries also offer something unique to their communities: the expertise of librarians. Librarians are information experts who help patrons sort through overwhelming volumes of information and guide patrons through the use of unfamiliar technologies, both of which are critical in the digital age. Librarians at The Seattle Public Library are ready to help you with reference questions, book recommendations, technology assistance and more at any of our 27 locations. If you can't make it to a branch for assistance, call 206-386-4636 or visit Ask A Librarian online to get help from a librarian.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.