For several weeks I have been looking forward to a holiday trip back to North Carolina. Amid many visits with family, friends and library colleagues (and lots of appropriately chilly weather and many snowy scenes along the roadsides), I have done quite a bit of library visiting. In fact, I’ve had many more library holiday experiences than retail ones this holiday season. This has been satisfying on many levels. These past several days, what I have seen clearly in libraries large and small is a certain, unique sparkle libraries put on during the holidays. From book and media displays brimming with personality to full-on decorations worthy of remark, the public libraries I have visited remind me of the simple genius and creativity libraries bring to communities. So what are the ingredients behind this special blend of library holiday magic? Here are three that I can easily identify:
1. Heart. This can been seen in the personalized touches that staff bring to even the smallest of spaces created with depth, humor and the human touch.
2. Expertise. From local history to customized reader’s advisory support, there is nothing like the library touch on information and service.
3. Hospitality. Bustling with activity from all ages, the public library welcomes, encourages its visitors to be a part of the experience while still offering a respite from the busy-ness of the season all at the same time.
…there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol