It’s National Library Week. Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is encouraging residents to visit their local libraries, or what he calls, a “gateway to opportunity”. First sponsored in 1958 by the American Library Association, National Library Week is a national observance to promote all types of libraries, including school, public, academic and special libraries. And libraries are a lot more important than you’d probably think. Last year, Missouri’s libraries were host to 27.1 million visits, not including 17.6 million virtual library hits. That’s about a half million more visits last year than those made to Missouri State Parks and St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals games.