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National Notebook Day

First held in 2016, National Notebook Day is celebrated by notebook enthusiasts, who write in notebooks or planners and share pictures of their notebooks on social media using the hashtag #NationalNotebookDay. Sweepstakes are also held each year, sponsored by May Designs—the company that came up with the day—and other companies involved with office supplies, notebooks, and stationery.

In our twenty-first-century digital age, notebooks sometimes seem like a throwback to a time of the past, although they are more popular than ever, being used for numerous purposes, like writing, note-taking, drawing, and scrapbooking. This is good news, because it has also been shown that they may benefit cognitive function more than their digital counterparts. They are stacks of paper pages that are bound together and often ruled. Some common bindings used today includes spiral, comb, sewn, clasp, padding, disc, perfect, and padding. The first of these is usually cheaper than the others, and the last of these uses glue to hold pages together. Notebooks generally have a cover that is made from a different material than what is inside.

Notebooks and variations of them go by names like legal pads, drawing pads, and writing pads. Different types may be used for specific purposes. "Blue books" or exam books are used for essay exams. Composition books are sewn into a pasteboard backing. Journalists use small notebooks called "reporter's notebooks," scientists use "lab notebooks," land surveyors use "field books," and police officers use "police notebooks."

Notebooks date back to the fourteenth century when paper was drawn on and then bound into books afterward. As paper was not lined at the time, lines had to be made on it by hand. These early notebooks were used by children in school. Legend has it that Thomas W. Holley of Holyoke, Massachusetts, invented the legal pad around 1888 when he came up with the idea of collecting leftover paper scraps from factories to stitch together to make affordable pads. The first legal pads that resemble the yellow legal pads of today debuted around the turn of the century after a local judge wanted a margin on the left side of the paper. The margin, or down line, is 1.25 inches on true legal pads and is used for notes or comments. The first notepad came soon after, being attributed to J.A. Birchall, who had Birchalls, a stationery shop in Australia. He glued a stack of half sheets of paper together and supported them with cardboard. His notepad became known as the "Silver City Writing Tablet."

How to Observe

Celebrate the day by writing in one or more of your notebooks. Do some journaling or scrapbooking, write a poem or a story, or find one of many other ways to utilize a notebook. If you don't have a notebook, go out and buy one. Share pictures of your notebook or notebooks on social media while using the hashtag #NationalNotebookDay. You could also enter into the National Notebook Day sweepstakes or check out Sketchbook Project.

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