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Library Shelfie Day – January 25, 2023

Every year, we celebrate Library Shelfie Day on the fourth Wednesday in January. This year it is celebrated on January 25. It is a day for book lovers to share their favorite books and library shelves with the world in a fun way. After all, the world belongs to those who read! On this day, readers are encouraged to take a selfie with their most beloved library shelf showcasing the books that stand out for them. Book stores, libraries, schools, and individuals from all over the world celebrate the day by sharing their favorite books or shelves on social media. So, make your shelf as pretty as can be, snap a shelfie, and share it with all who wish to see it.

History of Library Shelfie Day

The history of libraries is so vast that library history is an academic discipline in itself. The earliest forms of libraries were essentially organized collections of documents. The first-ever libraries date back thousands of years and consisted of inventories and transactions documented on clay tablets. Over time, these tablets covered a wider range of topics, including religious and administrative records, omen texts, medical diagnoses, astronomical and astrological texts, etc. The clay tablets served as an abundant source of information for historians and scholars.

Gradually, libraries contained written records and books and became common state and institutional entities. It was around the fifth century B.C. that the concept of private libraries came about. Personal libraries consisting of books first debuted in ancient Greece and were most commonly found in villas. The first-ever public libraries, on the other hand, appeared in the Roman Empire. Each emperor opened one (or more) in an attempt to outshine the previous emperor. Over time, libraries changed what they carried and how they functioned. For instance, some royal and institutional libraries in the Roman Empire were only accessible to the educated public. They didn’t even have complete access to the stacks. However, in the Early Middle Ages, most libraries loaned out books if paid a sizable security deposit. Through globalization, digitization, and an array of innovations and advancements, modern-day libraries were born.

The one common thread in every library is shelves! Whether you’re an avid reader or not, something is satisfying about cruising through library shelves reading different titles — and the world agrees. Started by the New York Public library in 2014, Library Shelfie Day enables us to conveniently cruise through people’s library shelves through our screens. An activity as fun as this from the comfort of our homes? Sign us up.

Library Shelfie Day timeline

5,000 Years Ago
First Libraries

The earliest libraries are discovered in Southwest Asia’s Fertile Crescent.

1454 A.D.
First Book Printed

The oldest mechanically printed book in the world, “The Gutenberg Bible,” is printed.

1839
First Selfie Ever

Photographer, Robert Cornelius, takes a daguerreotype self-portrait, a.k.a. the first selfie ever.

2014
First Library Shelfie Day

The New York Public Library introduces the world to Library Shelfie Day.

Library Shelfie Day FAQs

What is a “shelfie?”

A “shelfie” is a play on the word “selfie”; it stands for a selfie taken with a library shelf.

Which is the world’s biggest library?

The Library of Congress is considered to be the world’s largest library in terms of its catalog depth.

What is National Library Lovers Month?

The entire month of February is dedicated to those who love libraries with all their hearts. You can celebrate the month by visiting your local libraries, volunteering your time at a library, getting a library card, and sharing on social media with #NationalLibraryLoversMonth

Library Shelfie Day Activities

  1. Visit a library

    Whether you’re a frequent visitor or haven’t been to one in ages, plan a trip to your local library. Even if you don’t intend on checking out a book, just strolling through the stacks makes for a fun day.

  2. Take a shelfie

    Find a shelf with some great reads and take a shelfie! You can do this at a public library or even at your library at home. Just stack up some books and snap away.

  3. Post a shelfie

    Share your shelfie with other book lovers using the hashtag #LibraryShelfie. This makes you part of the community, and you can see what everyone else is reading by exploring the hashtag.

5 Interesting Library Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know

  1. A record of records

    The Guinness Book of World Records holds the record for being the most stolen book from public libraries.

  2. Human libraries

    There are over 100 libraries in the world that let you check out humans and listen to their stories.

  3. The library hand

    Historically, librarians had to use specific handwriting called “library hand.”

  4. A library of smells

    The Osmotheque in France is a library of smells containing over 3,200 scents, archives of perfume-making, etc.

  5. Forgotten library books

    The most overdue library book was returned approximately 122 years later.

Why We Love Library Shelfie Day

  1. It keeps physical books relevant

    Keeping some of the old charms alive can be a task in the age of digitalization, technology, and Kindles. Digital books may be more accessible, but the feeling of physical books is unparalleled.

  2. It encourages reading

    While most of us go through a reading phase in our childhood, it tends to fade away as life gets busy. A day like this can serve as the nudge we need to pick up a book again and rediscover the joy of reading.

  3. It introduces us to new books

    We all know the classics, but there are also innumerable other extraordinary books out there. Library Shelfie Day is a great way to get book recommendations and see what your favorite celebrities, friends, and family are reading.

Library Shelfie Day dates

YearDateDay
2022January 26Wednesday
2023January 25Wednesday
2024January 24Wednesday
2025January 22Wednesday
2026January 28Wednesday

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