National Library Week History

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. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.

National Library Week Honorary Chairs | National Library Week Themes

In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee's goals were ambitious. They ranged from "encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time" to "improving incomes and health" and "developing strong and happy family life."

In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme "Wake Up and Read!"

National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship.

The ALA Archives Blog published an illustrated history of the event on April 10, 2015, by Lydia Tang, National Library Week: “For a Better-Read, Better-Informed America”.

Hashtag: #NationalLibraryWeek

To download free National Library Week tools and resources visit

Wake up and Read. National Library Week, April 12, 1959. For a better-read and better-informed America. Simple illustration of a face, one side is purple and has closed eye, the other has text and an open eye.

National Library Week Themes

1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s


1958 Wake up and read

1959 Wake up and read


1960 Open wonderful new worlds...wake up and read

1961 For a richer, fuller life, read

1962 Read and watch your world grow

1963 Read -- the fifth freedom, enjoy it

1964 Reading is the key

1965 Open your mind -- read; Know what you're talking about -- read

1966 Read -- keep growing; Know what you are talking about -- read

1967 Explore inner space; Reading is what's happening

1968 Be all you can be -- read

1969 Be all you can be -- read


1970 Reading is for everybody

1971 You've got a right to read

1972 Reading makes the world go round; Books bring people together

1973 Get ahead -- read; Widen your world

1974 Grow with books; Get it all together

1975 Information Power

1976 Information Power at the Library? At the Library

1977 Use your library

1978 Info to the Library

1979 The Library is Filled with Success Stories


1980 America's greatest bargain...the library

1981 America, the library has your number

1982 A word to the wise, library

1983 Go for it! Use your library

1984 Knowledge is RealPower

1985 A Nation of Readers

1986 Get a head start at The Library

1987 Take time to read...use your library

1988 The Card With a Charge...Use your Library

1989 Ask a Professional. Ask a Librarian.


1990 Reach for a Star. Ask a Librarian.

1991 Read. Succeed.; Kids Who Read Succeed.

1992 Your Right to Know: Librarians Make it Happen

1993 Libraries Change Lives

1994 Libraries Change Lives

1995 Libraries Change Lives

1996 Libraries Change Lives

1997 Kids Connect @ the Library

1998 Kids Connect @ the Library: Connect @ the Library

1999 Read! Learn! Connect! @ the Library!


2000 Read! Learn! Connect! @ the Library!

2001 @ your library™

2002 @ your library™

2003 @ your library™

2004 @ your library™

2005 Something for everyone @ your library®

2006 Change your world @ your library®

2007 Come together @ your library®

2008 Join the circle of knowledge @ your library®

2009 Worlds connect @ your library®


2010 Communities thrive @ your library®

2011 Create your own story @ your library®

2012 You belong @ your library®

2013 Communities Matter @ your library®

2014 Lives change @ your library®

2015 Unlimited possibilities @ your library®

2016 Libraries Transform

2017 Libraries Transform

2018 Libraries Lead

2019 Libraries = Strong Communities

2020 Find your place at the library | Find the library at your place (pivot due to pandemic)

2021 Welcome to Your Library

2022 Connect with Your Library

2023 There's More to the Story

Many of these themes have been captured in philatelic cachets and meter stamps.

National Library Week Honorary Chairpersons

2023 Kelly Yang

2022 Molly Shannon

2021 Natalie Portman

2020 Maia and Alex Shibutani

2019 Melinda Gates

2018 Misty Copeland

2017 Julie Foudy

2016 Gene Luen Yang

2015 David Baldacci

2014 Judy Blume

2013 Caroline Kennedy

2012 Brad Meltzer

2011 John Grisham

2010 Neil Gaiman

2009 Jamie Lee Curtis

2008 Julie Andrews

Last updated: 1/2023