National Library Week – April 2020

April 19–25

National Library Week, from April 19 to 25, allows us to promote our local libraries and their workers. From Harry Potter and Matilda, to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, we’re sure at some point you’ve dashed to the library to borrow your favorite book. Then comes studying. Haven’t we all spent endless hours in the library revising for our exams, borrowing textbooks, free journals and using their online resources? Do you remember that feeling of getting a brand-new library card – of whipping it out when you borrowed a mountain of DVD’s? Of course, times have changed since the millennium, but aren’t the staff always so professional and kind? Libraries are pivotal to society to both universities and to schools. Celebrating them, means celebrating silent reading, our communities and getting into college. Therefore, it’s an obvious good deed. This National Library Week, let’s look back on our love for the smell inside an old book, and wholeheartedly thank our local public libraries.

History of National Library Week

Research has revealed that by the mid-1950s, Americans were spending significant amounts of time listening to the radio, watching TV and playing musical instruments. Through concern that people were not reading enough, in 1954 a non-profit book committee was established by the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Book Publishers. National Library Week was first sponsored in 1958, and the weeklong event was developed with the intent to motivate people to read as well as to support and show appreciation to their local libraries. 

The yearly affair is also doubly sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) who decided that this week be observed every April. When first set out, the aims of this week were described as ambitious. Some goals were thought to be overzealous. Things like, expecting this week to improve American household incomes and health, and helping to develop strong and happy family lives. 

National Library Week also occurs during Support Teen Literature Day, School Library Month and National Bookmobile Day. The first theme ever in 1958 was ‘‘Wake up and Read!’’ The libraries expected to observe National Library Week are non-specific and much broader. This includes school libraries, local libraries, academic libraries, university libraries, and much more. 

Ironically, 2020’s theme for National Library Week is ‘‘Find Your Place at The Library’’ but due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, libraries are now closed amid a nationwide lockdown. However, many libraries are virtually open, providing services and digital content to your heart’s desire.

National Library Week timeline

2018

ISBN thinking about you

This year, the theme was ‘‘Libraries Lead.’’

2015

Many happy returns

Lydia Tang’s illustrated history of the event this year is published in the ALA archives blog.

2014

Just as long as we’re reading

Children book author, Judy Blume is the National Library Week honorary chairperson.

1961

Can’t help my shelf

The theme this year is ‘‘For a Richer, Fuller Life, Read.’’

National Library Week FAQs

What is the purpose of National Library Week?

During National Library Week, we celebrate all that libraries and librarians contribute to our society and promote the use and support of public libraries.

How is National Library Week celebrated?

Usually, National Library Week is celebrated by going to the library, but since libraries are closed this year due to Covid-19, celebrate by utilizing your library’s online resources and encouraging your friends to do the same.

Is there a National Library Day?

National Library Workers Day is celebrated annually on the Tuesday of National Library Week.

National Library Week Activities

  1. Use their online resources

    Due to Covid-19, this year, let’s celebrate by showing our appreciation for libraries and librarians around the world who are still making content available to us this week. Let’s use the online services they’ve made readily available to us and continue supporting them as a community in this strange time of crisis.

  2. Support your local library on social media

    Show your support on social media. Follow the American Library Association and I Love Libraries, make sure you're using the correct hashtags. They’re #LibrariesTransform and #NationalLibraryWeek. Follow these accounts and interact with other library lovers. ALA: Twitter: @ALALibrary, Facebook: @AmericanLibraryAssociation, Instagram: @americanlibraryassociation. Follow I Love Libraries: Twitter and Facebook: @IloveLibraries.

  3. Re-read your favorite books

    In honor of this week, sift through your book collection and revisit the classics. Try and pick the books you first read by borrowing from the library. Relish in the moving corridors of Hogwarts, walk in the snow in Narnia or skip down memory lane by reading a great novel that makes you reminisce and that can also transport you to another place and time.

5 Facts About National Library Week

  1. Overdue-ing it?

    The 2020 National Library Week honorary chairs are Olympic medallists Maia and Alex Shibutani.

  2. You have fine written all over you

    On April 21 every year, it is also National Library Workers Day.

  3. Turn the page

    In Jamaica, National Library Week is held on March 6 to March 12.

  4. Make shhh happen

    Melinda Gates was the honorary chair of National Library Week in 2019.

  5. Mind if I check you out?

    The library of congress is the biggest library in the world.

Why We Love National Library Week

  1. We love librarians

    National Library Workers Day also falls on National Library Week. It celebrates library staff, administrators, library groups, users and all who work in libraries all over the country. This special day also recognises the valuable contributions made by these library workers.

  2. Books! Books! Books!

    Every day is a book themed revelation! Each day during the week are book and library themed, a haven for book junkies out here. On Monday there is a ‘‘State of America’s Libraries Report’’ released which includes a list of the ‘Ten frequently Challenged Books’’ of the year list. On Thursday, we are encouraged to share our library stories including which books we’ve read there.

  3. Free stuff

    The American Library Association (ALA) plans for each year in advance. They reveal the theme around January and offer free promotional tools to promote the week. These materials include press releases, ready-made graphics that can be shared on social media and PSA’s. They also plan a webinar where they share creative ideas from the public on how libraries can use National Library Week to reach communities even further. Email campaign@ala.org to contribute.

National Library Week dates

YearDateDay
2020April 19Sunday
2021April 19Monday
2022April 19Tuesday
2023April 19Wednesday
2024April 19Friday