Friday, November 1, 2019

In Defense Of Decorating For Every Holiday

Perhaps it's just me, but between taking down the bats and pumpkins and putting up the turkeys and other pumpkins, I sometimes take a moment to consider: do I really have to decorate for EVERY holiday? But then I get back to work and tack up another cornucopia because: yes. You might not find it necessary, but I think it's worthwhile to decorate for everything. I've compiled a list of my thoughts on the subject, which I will share with you today. This does not only include wall art and decorations, but also displays and bulletin boards. (Please note that, while I believe this about the entire library, I am - to be fair - a children's librarian.)

We Want To Be Relevant

When many people think of libraries, they think of buildings full of dusty, old books. Of course, these people are incorrect, but what better way to prove that we are currently relevant than to be as current as this very week? Yes, we care about being up to date! Take away that Halloween candy, it's old news - it's Thanksgiving season now!

We Want To Be Friendly

It's hard to be angry when you're surrounded by happy things, and creating an environment full of cheer is helpful for those who tend to lean toward the grumpy side of life. Of course, some people will be stressed and unhappy no matter what you do, but for the majority of people, a cheerful, welcoming environment helps relieve some of life's tensions. According to scientists, "the nostalgia associated with festive decorations reminds people of when they were children with no responsibilities."

This same study mentions that people who decorate the outside of their homes for the holidays are seen as "more friendly and cohesive" than their neighbors who do not decorate. Our goal as librarians is to create an environment that people want to visit and use, and if sticking a pilgrim hat on the turtle tank will make that happen, I am all for it. As I tell patrons who are overly worried about a 25 cent fine, "this is a happy place."

We Want To Be Inclusive

Halloween is the most popular holiday in October in my part of the world, but it's not the only one. I had up a small display of books about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and every single book was checked out! Several parents were surprised we had any books about Diwali at all, and more than one family expressed gratitude that their holiday was represented.

Of course, it's impossible to celebrate every single holiday, but we can do our best to make sure that all of the most important celebrations are noted. The choice is yours: would you rather celebrate absolutely everything, or nothing at all?

We Want To Be The Third Place 

American sociologist Ray Oldenberg wrote in his book The Great Good Place that people in productive societies need to have a third place - not work, not home - "where you relax in public, where you encounter familiar faces and make new acquaintances." Whether this is the neighborhood coffee shop, the barber shop, the local park -- or, perhaps, the library! -- this place can be integral for people's mental well-being. The idea is that people have no obligation to be here, but they want to be. What better way than to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere?

What Do You Think?

Do you agree with Kat? Let us know here in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter.