National Support Teen Literature Day takes place on the first Thursday during National Library Week. This year, it takes place on April 18. The Day has been celebrated every year since 2007 during National Library Week throughout the U.S. Since then, the initiative has focused strongly on getting teens back into books and out of trouble. Typically a love of reading, if not established by the age of 15, greatly reduces the chance that you will develop a passion and regular reading routine in your life. National Support Teen Literature Day is not just about getting access to books but also about combating the stigma that young adults like to attach to reading, that it isn’t cool and it’s not worth the effort.
History of National Support Teen Literature Day
1958 was the first year that America celebrated its first-ever National Library Week, sponsored by the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers. The aim was clear, get people back into libraries and back into reading books. As a national civic asset, libraries are an essential service offered to the general public. If libraries, librarians, and the books they keep lose popularity, an entire industry suffers as well as a generation of people who have no interest in books.
For centuries, thousands of years even, literacy and the ability to read were reserved for a select few in societies of old. If you were able to read, you had power and wealth — you were educated, but the rise of the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press allowed everyone to read. Since the 1900s, literacy rates have steadily climbed globally to a point where they are no longer a cause for concern.
However, in 1958, the general popularity of radios, televisions, and musical instruments meant that books and literacy were not getting the level of attention they had enjoyed only a decade earlier. To curb the growing concern that Americans were losing interest in books and libraries, a week was dedicated to raising awareness and appreciating the public institution that our libraries are. Fast forward to 2007, when smartphones and social media have begun to take off globally, and The U.S. now finds itself in the same predicament that it was in back in 1958. So in 2007, as part of an initiative to specifically target the youth and reinforce positive reading behavior, National Support Teen Literature Day was included in the weekly celebration.
National Support Teen Literature Day timeline
German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg invents the printing press.
Massachusetts passes the Early Compulsory Education Laws in the U.S., making it compulsory for every child to attend primary school and learn grammar alongside basic arithmetic.
Philo T. Farnsworth applies for the first patent on a television set and is known as the ‘godfather of television.’
Combining two of America’s favorite pastimes — music and television, M.T.V becomes a massive success.
The very first smartphone is invented.
National Support Teen Literature Day FAQs
What happens if I don’t read?
Nothing really! Reading is about self-improvement and expanding your horizons, both in your vocabulary and your imagination. If you don’t read, you will be poorer, as a human, for it.
Why is reading so difficult?
Like all things in life, starting something new can be difficult but the more you train your brain and find books that you connect with the stronger your reading muscle will become.
What is the best book for me?
Reading is an extremely personal and taste-based practice, all books are for you, and you have your whole life to try and read them all.
How to Observe National Support Teen Literature Day
Visit your local library
Be an active community member and visit your local library. Get a card and take out a book.
Read, read, read
Lead by example and actually read a book. But, don’t just read in isolation, encourage others to read too, especially the youth.
Gift someone a book
Finding the right book, or making a book a priority can be an excuse, so give a book as a gift and expect it to be read. They will thank you later.
5 Facts About Teen Literature
It's worth a lot of money
Children and young adult book ranges, combined, generated over 18 billion dollars in 2021.
The popular “Harry Potter” series
The “Harry Potter” series is considered the best book series for teens to read since the language isn't too challenging.
Young adult is not a genre
One of the most rapidly growing book genres, ‘Young Adult,’ is not a genre but an age range.
Dystopian novels we relate to
Young adults and teens seem particularly drawn to dystopian novels.
New books every year
In the U.S. alone, between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books are published each year despite the competition that is in the writing industry.
Why National Support Teen Literature Day is Important
Its focus is education
This day is about getting teens interested in reading again. We need to promote powerful imaginations and vocabularies in our future leaders if we want them to imagine a better future and lead us there.
Books deserve more from us
Books are sacred and an important symbol of our accumulated knowledge over millennia. They should not need campaigns to drive interest and reignite popularity.
Literature is where we can find out about humanity
Reading is where we learn about others and their unique stories. We see things from different perspectives and are exposed to complex social issues from a safe vantage point. Literature is where we find our compassion and empathy.
National Support Teen Literature Day dates