Librarians- Check Your Holidays at the Door

Every year, about this same time, youth services staff start asking the same kinds of questions. “Do you do a Hanukkah/Christmas storytime/program in your library? If so, what do you do?” or “Do you decorate your library for the holidays?” or “Is it important to represent ALL the holidays in the winter?” And so on, and so forth. And every year, I get ranty and ragy about this. Usually just to friends and colleagues, and this year, you are all counted as such. Lucky you!

 

Let me just cut right to the chase. I am vehemently against holding holiday programs in any library, especially when the holidays have religious foundations. Frankly, even if they are more secular holidays (think Halloween and Valentine’s Day) I believe in approaching them with caution. Even these holidays cannot be celebrated by some of your population (Jehovah’s Witnesses, to mention one group) and you are denying them access to your resources by holding a program based on a holiday of any kind. Try focusing on pumpkins and other festive, fall topics rather than trick-or-treating and Halloween. How about love and pink and red and glitter in February? No need to mention the holiday in order to satisfy your patrons’ desires for some fun festivities — if you really can’t stand to let go of the holiday celebrations, that is.

 

I’d like to challenge you to do just that, however. Let it go. There is absolutely no need to hold a holiday celebration in your library. You may say, “It’s fun! People want it!,I want it!” and I will say to you, “Lots of things are fun! People will get it for free in lots of other places! And I don’t care what you want–programs are for your patrons (ALL patrons), not for you!” If you love Christmas so much, use your programming expertise and plan something for your church, or friends and family–all willing participants who likely feel the same way you do.

 

Allow me to explain why you should not provide holiday programs this winter, or ever.

 

You are not an expert on holidays of all kinds. You cannot accurately explain the meaning behind Hanukkah, Christmas, or any holiday, when a young patron asks about them. If a young patron asks you to explain the birth of Christ, you would not sit them down and tell them what you believe to be true. Rather, you would show them the wide variety of materials explaining this from many points of view. You would do a reference interview to make sure you are answering their question as best you can with the resources you can access. Likewise, if someone asks you about a holiday, you should provide them with information and not share your personal knowledge, or lack thereof, of any holiday. Unless you plan on having someone come in to talk about the various holidays of their culture, and you plan on doing this all year round, just don’t go there. You run the risk of deeply insulting someone who celebrates a certain holiday if you present it inaccurately, and honestly, you just shouldn’t try to teach people about things you don’t know about.

 

In my opinion, this falls under the same category as offering medical or legal advice–just don’t do it! Even if you are an expert in some religion or another, you should present about your expertise outside of work time if you so desire, but not on the taxpayer dime. You are representing the library when you present a program on work time. And unless your library is coming out as Christian, you shouldn’t be presenting programs about Christian holidays (or any holidays; this is just an example).

 

Stop thinking from a traditional, privileged point of view. I sometimes get the impression that anglo tradition is screaming “It’s not fair! I want to do Christmas in the library!” in a Veruca Salt tone, stomping its privileged feet. It is not your right to celebrate Christmas in a public institution. It is your right to celebrate whatever you want on your own time and help patrons find places, outside the library, that offer celebrations or events around any holiday in which they might be interested. As Angie mentioned on the Storytime Underground Facebook page, those who celebrate holidays during the winter have plenty of places to go to celebrate (churches, etc.). They don’t NEED the library to help them celebrate. Conversely, those who do not celebrate Christmas, specifically, have very few places (basically just their own home, if they have one) where “holiday spirit” isn’t in their face constantly. The library should be one of these places.

 

We are NOT being diverse by including a holiday like Hanukkah in our themed programs for the winter. We are being narrow minded. Ask yourself, “Why Hanukkah?” Did Jewish patrons ask for this type of programming? Have you spoken with leaders in the Jewish communities? Muslim communities? Native Peoples? Indians? And on and on and on? Have you even connected with any of these groups in your community? If you answered no to any of these questions, maybe you should spend time building some relationships instead of planning Santa’s visit. Don’t ignorantly and selfishly pick holidays from these non-anglo cultures that happen about the same time as our precious Christmas. Not cool, people. Celebrate diversity by allowing ALL people to participate in ALL library programs. I really like what Angie (yes, I’m quoting her again, because duh) said in regards to inclusive, diverse programming:

 

There’s a lot I exclude from programming because of the simple fact I have limited time. Because here’s what it comes down to for me: do you have a Yule storytime for your pagan patrons? Do you have a storytime with no themes but lots of crafts for your atheist patrons? Do you have a Eid al-Fitr storytime? Last year I found out lots of international patrons, particularly those from Italy and Spain, were upset about all the holiday focus on Santa and presents, they wanted books and themes with more focus on the birth of Jesus. Where do I fit that in? If you leave out one of these, or a dozen others I could name, then, hey: why do you hate diversity?

OK, you say to yourself. But I have 10 pagan patrons and 100 Christian ones. Doesn’t it make more sense for me to have a program for the 100? But ya know? I don’t want to provide services and programs to the 100 people at the cost of 10. It’s that simple to me.

 

Still not convinced? Let me paint you a picture. It’s Wednesday and you’re 9. You come to the library every Wednesday for the library’s craft program. This Wednesday your mom says you can’t go. This Wednesday they are making Santas and Reindeer in the craft program and your family doesn’t allow you to participate in such activities due to your religion. The one place in the world that is still supposed to be open and inviting FOR ALL has just excluded you. And as librarians, we have all failed for allowing this to happen.

 

Step outside yourself this year, get creative, and offer programs in which everyone in your community can participate. And if you are having a hard time explaining to some patrons and staff why you are leaving Santa out of the library this year? Channel Angie once again: “I have books for everyone, I’ll be happy to help you find them and even recommend some favorites. Please feel free to share them with your families and children and in your churches and ceremonies. But we are a public institution and we’ll be programming around snow so that every kid can feel welcomed, not just the majority.”

 

I’ll leave you with this quote from Mark Twain. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

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19 thoughts on “Librarians- Check Your Holidays at the Door

  1. Profile photo of Angela ReynoldsAngela Reynolds

    This is a hard one for me here in Canada: a country where we get Easter holidays and Christmas holidays as paid days off. We do Santa-type programs in coordination with recreation and towns, and often we do programs like Gingerbread Houses or pumpkin painting. But yeah,. we do Halloween storytime, too. I completely agree with you Kendra, but I also see the other side here in small-town rural Canada – though I am going to encourage our libraries to think carefully about holiday programs this year and try for more of the Winter thing instead. This Rant comes at a difficult time– I am in the midst of creating a “Twas the Night Before Christmas” StoryWalk. Conflicted emotions and ethics are swirling around my head, like sugarplums dancing the night away. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    1. Profile photo of Kendra JonesKendra Jones Post author

      Angela-

      I think you hit the nail on the head as far as where the pressure comes from to do these things. Christmas is a federal holiday. So it only makes sense that everyone get on the celebration bandwagon. It can be really difficult to not get caught up in all the hubbub, especially when it’s a holiday you love. Glad I gave you something to think about, but sorry it wasn’t actually sugarplums. :) Thanks for commenting!

  2. Profile photo of orangerfulorangerful

    In a weird way, I was very fortunate when I started working as a library associate and my manager was Jewish. She would not let us do any winter holiday themed programming unless we could guarantee that everyone was included. After thinking about this statement, I realized that was impossible. And I also realized most of the FUN books were winter themed, not holiday themed, so why the heck would I want to attempt to do a program with those dull stories anyway?

    I feel like Halloween and Valentine’s Day are so commercialized, most people don’t even remember they have any connection to a religious event so it doesn’t pop up on their radar as being a “holiday” the way that Christmas and Easter would be.

    Like most things, I think the issue will be the people who have “always done that.” I have no problem not holding holiday themed storytimes, but for others who have done it for years and years, it’s an event they look forward to.

    Great post and a lot to think about!

    1. Profile photo of rhollerrholler

      I agree- great post. It’s an interesting contrast for me getting used to the library world.. having come from an urban undergraduate school that prided itself on being “the most diverse university in the country,” I was required to take courses like “Mosaics” and “Embodying Pluralism.” In my previous job as an early childhood music teacher, our curriculum was based around learning a different country’s cultural songs and dances each week. I was surprised to learn that the general consensus with libraries (in my very limited experience) is no holidays as opposed to all holidays. Your argument certainly makes sense, I can’t disagree with it! I guess it’s just a different school of thought than what I am used to. I also struggle with the gray areas of this issue.. Especially when it comes to Thanksgiving. I personally think the use of campy Indian poems and crafts could be seen as offensive but I think I might be in the minority on that.. How do you decide where to draw the line?

      1. Profile photo of Kendra JonesKendra Jones Post author

        There is SO much gray area. I agree with you about Thanksgiving. There’s a whole other rant on Thanksgiving alone! But that’s for another day, another platform. I think where you draw the line depends on your community. It is easier for me to stay away from personally presenting any holiday programs. Some libraries do things for completely non-religious holidays, like Veteran’s Day and Martin Luther King, Jr Day and can see the value in those types of programs. These holidays have historical importance in our country and are not, in any way, based on religious beliefs or values. So, that’s where I draw the line. And I stay away from Thanksgiving (ok, I do like to read books about being thankful but don’t talk about the holiday at all) because there is still a lot of debate about that holiday and it’s has been misunderstood for so long, it’s sad. But, you have to decide where you are comfortable drawing the line. My advice to you, is if you feel, even in the least little bit, squirmy about a theme, don’t do it. Thanks for your comment! Sorry for the novel in response. :)

    2. Profile photo of Kendra JonesKendra Jones Post author

      Thanks for your comments!

      And I think you are right. Those who have done it forever will likely continue to. But hopefully we can slowly convince them to change things up and look forward to an even more awesome winter program every year. :)

  3. Profile photo of Jennifer WJennifer W

    I live in a small town. The Christmas Card town, to be precise. If it were left up to me, I wouldn’t bother with holidays – the kids get plenty of that in school and elsewhere; do they really need yet another handprint turkey? However, I don’t get that choice and I have to celebrate holidays. I try to do seasonal/general things that are a little different. Like for Halloween we do “monster boxes” at Messy Art Club – basically decorating kleenex boxes. They can turn it into a monster/trick or treat basket, or they can just decorate it. We do a lot of stuff around Christmas – this year we have our annual Santa’s Kitchen, Toddler Cookie Party and Messy Art Club holiday ornaments. I also have a Gingerbread Boy special storytime. But honestly, not celebrating Christmas is kind of pointless in our town – we’re in the center of town right on the Christmas Parade route. You can see the town square lined with Christmas cutouts from our windows (they did move the manger scene from front and center into the sideline last year). The Reindeer Run is advertised on our front lawn. And our library houses the 23 and counting Christmas Card paintings year-round. So….yeah. I have more thoughts on this, but I’m not going to post them because Santa’s elves might come after me. Probably that creepy jerk who stalks kids at night and then sits on the shelf and stares at them.

  4. Profile photo of Tess PrendergastTess Prendergast

    I appreciate that you are asking people to think beyond what they have done for years and to think beyond what they personally like to do. I agree that librarians MUST do both of those things to make sure that they are offering responsive programs, services and collections for our community members. And, as others on the facebook discussion noted, sometimes participation in cultural holiday events is a non-negotiable job requirement (for better or for worse – from our positions as frontline workers we cannot control everything we are asked to do can we?).

    I have consulted with many other librarians, educators and parents on this topic over the years and have received a range of opinions. One parent agreed that her kids’ schools’ decorations for Christmas were totally over the top and they needed to tone it down, big time! Another parent told me she was outraged that she wasn’t able to sing Christmas carols during a before school singing circle at her child’s school, saying “That’s MY culture – I want to share it!”. One teacher (btw, she is an award winning teacher who works in a neighbourhood where most students speak another language at home) told me that she believes that the sharing all cultural traditions, including those that are practiced by the mainstream majority culture (in this discussion it was about Christmas carols too) is actually an opportunity for diverse students to build their cross-cultural competence. She said she knew some students who simply do not get the many Western cultural metaphors that appear in popular culture, media, and yes, our precious Children’s and YA literature.

    I believe then that the sharing of “holidays” via programs, collections and services CAN serve that purpose – to share in and help develop cultural competence/literacy for everyone who chooses to attend. I am not arguing against the fact that it can also exclude and/or alienate and/or embarrass people because I agree that it can. However, so can many of the other things we all do. For example, we constantly promote one-to-one reading with young children as “the best way to support your child’s future reading skills” because we as Westerners believe that. It is true for us. It is however, not a universal practice, nor is parent-child reading valued the same way across cultures. Family literacy research has demonstrated this again and again. The same goes for the notion of play. We as Westerners value childhood play – we elevate it, we acknowledge its role in child development and we strive to protect it because we believe it provides the foundations on which children learn best. These are Western concepts and not universally held ideas at all. I am not going to apologize for believing that play is important, are you? All this to say, just because someone might be made uncomfortable by something that is vaguely attached to a cultural practice they do not practice or are not familiar with is not actually a good enough reason not to do it.

    It is absolutely true and I acknowledge that I might one of these days offend someone who wanders into a”Shamrock Shenanigans” program because for context, I mention that this day is named after Saint Patrick, who is the Patron Saint of Ireland – a largely Catholic nation, which I then point to on the map. I might offend them, not by praying or promoting Catholicism (which I agree is inappropriate in storytime!) but for mentioning that a country exists and this is the majority religion there. I might offend someone. I then get on with the program about leprechauns, shamrocks and Irish food. In exactly the same way, I might offend someone by reading And Tango Makes Three at any regular storytime because they disagree with same-sex parent families. I am sure none of us are prepared to police our program material choices or indeed our early literacy promotional asides for anything that make someone uncomfortable or offend them.

    Actually, I have always viewed library programs as very clever ways to lead people directly to library materials. So, in toddlertime, I introduce what I believe to be absolute best books to read with under threes. In a “seasonal / holiday” program I showcase the material on the events being presented and the cultural stories related to them. In my example about Saint Patrick’s Day I trot out the entire Irish folklore collection and fail to see how that can possibly be a negative thing.

    All this to say – I wholly and strongly agree that privileged Westerners such as myself MUST check in with our motivations for doing what we do – not just around holidays but also around the messages we send out about literacy and education all the time. We must do that to make sure we are accessible, welcoming and open to our diverse communities. I think one of the most important ways we can gauge how our communities feel about our programs, services and collections is to ASK THEM. If you are not sure how a Festivals of Light program will go over – start ASKING people, and not just the folks who come to everything. Ask the people you meet on your outreach visits . Ask and keep asking – and moreover, be open to feedback about what you have done and adjust accordingly. It is possible (not inevitable and I agree in some communities the decision to do no holiday programming is the correct one) that a balanced approach to holiday programming, i.e. one that offers plenty of kid-focused, fun and developmentally appropriate cultural references to several different cultural traditions will be valued in your communities throughout the year, not just in the winter. Libraries are cultural institutions and for that reason I think it is appropriate to consider ways in which our communities’ diverse and beautiful cultures are thoughtfully reflected in all that we do, all year long.

    1. Profile photo of Amy KoesterAmy Koester

      I find the rationale for holiday/etc. programs “to share in and help develop cultural competence/literacy for everyone who chooses to attend” extremely problematic. Whether that is the conscious motivation or not, these types of programs don’t promote education; they promote assimilation. When we talk about sharing the traditions of the dominant culture or paradigm, even for general education, what we’re really talking about is assimilation. When library users in the majority (a.k.a., those with the most cultural power) attend programs about diverse aspects of their community (a.k.a., those with the least cultural power), the dynamic reinforces the dominant cultural norms and otherizes everything else (The very language that we imply when we talk about holiday programming–“Look what OTHER holidays we’re exploring, too”–emphasizes this point). When we offer programs surrounding the dominant culture, however, we are reinforcing the power of the norm and the majority–with the implication that if everyone understands how WE do things, it’ll be easier to be part of the community. Textbook assimilation. And again, I’m not saying that anyone’s conscious intent is to promote assimilation. It’s a byproduct of being socialized in the majority of a society whose norms are inextricably linked to a history of manifest destiny and colonialism.

      Additionally, I think it is a false equivalency to say that sharing tips for one-on-one family reading, for example, can be alienating in the same way that having a holiday-themed program can be alienating. First, literacy is generally a part of the library’s mission; holiday celebrations and cultural education generally are not. Also, the literacy components of our services are based on research, not cultural practice. It is important to recognize that our motivations for sharing these two types of services are wholly different, and it follows that they each deserve a specific type of reflection, consideration, and research before implementing them.

  5. Profile photo of Tess PrendergastTess Prendergast

    Amy, thank you for replying with such intelligence to my comments and I do love a good debate with my intellectual peers. Your culture and my culture, being different, are playing into this conversation, that much I think we can now agree on. As a Canadian, I see culture and all things tied to it a bit differently (or even a lot differently) than you do. You may know that Canada was the first nation in the world to adopt a federal policy of multiculturalism, thereby asserting the fundamental rights of all Canadians to their unique cultural identities, no matter where they are from. Although it is far from a perfect utopia up here, we really don’t do the “melting pot” thing here. We don’t believe in assimilation because we mainly seem to really like how multicultural we are – as Canadians are aware of our multicultural society and its intrinsic value to all Canadians. For this particular topic, as a Canadian, I just don’t respond to the notion of sharing holiday traditions as if it might be othering or assimilating as you describe it to be. I don’t believe in that on a fundamental level so I guess that don’t recognize, for better or worse, the potential for that to happen at all in the course of what I do, how I live my life and how I work. You all might shake your head at that and say “A white, middle-class woman is saying what!??” but it is true. Come live here, get to know me, how I live my life, how I do my work in my community with my diverse peers, friends and neighbours and you will both understand and believe that statement . We just don’t think “assimilation” we don’t. Okay, I will admit that some Canadians are racist jerks but still – most of us just don’t think like that at all – it is one of the things our education system does pretty well actually (unlike and very ironically teaching us how to speak both official languages fluently, but that is rant for another day). We get multiculturalism. As I live in an extremely and increasingly diverse community (which I love for so many reasons) , I have noticed a recent groundswell of community interest in and support for really diverse cultural expressions, festivals (including religious holidays) and languages and I have a really hard time seeing anything threatening to be remotely assimilating about those experiences for anyone, majority or minority. Maybe I am just less cynical about how culture is embraced here. Maybe as an educated and fairly (okay, extremely) left-leaning white person I think that Canada is a pretty good place for ANYONE to end up, whether you arrived with your impoverished Kiwi parents at age 5 like I did or you arrived as a UN Convention refugee from somewhere else yesterday. You could do a lot worse.. Honestly, you have to trust me when I say that generally speaking, Canadian public libraries really do get community – Canadian librarians literally wrote the book on community-led library work, free for all to read right here. http://www.librariesincommunities.ca/ so we do know how to check our privilege and work with our community members as well as anyone.

    Amy, I think I knew I might hit a nerve with the comparison between alienating people via holiday stuff and alienating people via mainstream early literacy discourse. To clarify, I never said nor meant “alienate in the same way” and of course there are differences in the mandated way we as libraries would approach these two things (holidays/cultural education and early literacy). I can count on you to point out that difference to our readers to probe in as you say so clearly “wholly different” ways, which I hope they do. While it may have been provocative of me to seem to conflate the two issues, the fact remains though, that Western, English language literacy education notions (many of which are echoed in Canada despite our different orientations to culture!) inform our early literacy learning messages to a very large extent and the implications of such messages need to be both critiqued and addressed by our profession. I think that should be broached as a whole other topic and I do regret muddying the waters. I should not have made such a comparison and expected to get away with it. This has been such an interesting discussion and I have had such fun ignoring my other work to engage with you guys on it!
    Cheers,
    Tess

    1. Profile photo of Amy KoesterAmy Koester

      I will readily admit that I do not have knowledge or background that equips me to speak definitively about cultural norms and diversity in Canada, and so any specifics of my argument are necessarily subject to those limitations. My continued assertion, however–and it sounds like on this point we strongly agree, Tess–is that every program, especially those with with potential cultural implications or connections, is deserving of careful consideration. It is not a sufficient litmus test to apply one’s own personal experience, even combined with that of one’s peers (who, statistically and sociologically speaking, are more like oneself than not), as a means of assessing whether one’s lived experience is representative. Canada may very well “get” multiculturalism–but I maintain that research and the perspectives of statistical minorities must be the determiners of any such an assertion. Too much cultural undermining has happened across the globe and across history because the perspective of those with power and privilege was trusted as definitive.

      And I, too, am enjoying this respectful discourse. :)

      1. Profile photo of Tess PrendergastTess Prendergast

        Exactly, we agree that personal experience or those of peers is NOT enough to decide what we do and how we do it in our unique contexts and communities. Never mind that this entire conversation has been totally dominated by people (like me) who represent aspects of the North American mainstream culture (even with the cultural differences between Canada and USA)- who are we to be speaking for others? We MUST work with our communities to understand this and engage in the kind of intensive community-led work that will lead to responsive library services for everyone as an end goal. I am fully in favour of all efforts to avoid the undermining of culture and I get the danger of assuming that my or anyone else’s power and privilege is at all an excuse to speak for others and/or make decision for and about others; it isn’t. But here is the thing: what I definitely did not see reflected in the initial facebook conversation and this (absolutely awesomely interesting) thread were the voices of the “statistical minorities” whom some seem to fear may be offended or excluded by actions, programs or whatever. What I read several times over was what I saw as a kind of attempt to defend or protect others (various religious groups mostly) whose voices were absent from the conversation. Speaking for/on behalf of minorities is also a type of “othering” and I encourage you all to reread some of what has been written on this topic with that framework in mind: who is speaking for whom? I think we need, as a profession that cares about all people and wants all children to find success and happiness in their communities, to work towards a world wherein we won’t need to wonder or worry or be tempted to speak in defense of or on behalf of or for anyone we think/fear/wonder/assume might be disenfranchised by our library programs or whatever else we do. This will be because we will have someone, or ideally, many someones to ask who are our actual peers who will be able to speak authentically from that perspective to inform truly collaborative and community-led decisions.

  6. Profile photo of Jill Eisele

    I really agree with so many of the points you raise here (and I love the Mark Twain quote!). Personally, I am uncomfortable holding holiday programs in the library, and I concur that patrons do not need the library to help them celebrate-especially winter holidays. I would also add that for many reasons, winter holidays are often an extremely difficult and lonely time for the many people who suffer from mental illness. I would rather not contribute to that suffering. That being said, I feel that while the point being conveyed in your piece is very important, I wish that the message wasn’t so centered on knocking down one particular holiday (Christmas). When writing about the narrow mindedness of including holiday themed programs in the winter as a claim of being diverse, you include this statement: “Don’t ignorantly and selfishly pick holidays from these non-anglo cultures that happen about the same time as our precious Christmas.” I get the sarcasm, but “our precious Christmas” comes off as taking a shot. And why? I know I speak for myself, but as a librarian and as a person I’m not into making derisive comments about any holiday, because that holiday is important to someone and that’s all I need to know. A point can be well justified-and I would argue more effective-without doing that. Kendra, I appreciate that you have brought more attention to this subject, and I truly hope that more librarians will at least consider letting go of the idea that we NEED to have holiday celebrations at the library. But I also think that the greater message can be made in a manner that is respectful to all.

  7. Profile photo of Valetta CValetta C

    Your arguments for why we should not celebrate holidays at the library are well-thought out and logical. However, I have a few for why they may possibly be a great idea. As you said, it should most of all be about giving the patrons what THEY want.

    Last year, as a public library’s youth librarian, I provided a fall party story time instead of Halloween. We made fall wreaths as a craft, and I had thrown a few ghost foam shapes in amongst the selections for things to glue to the wreaths. One parent leaned close to me and said, “Thanks so much for including those. I was beginning to think we would have nothing related to Halloween this year.” Many parents heard her and nodded enthusiastically.

    I should point out that I personally grew up not celebrating Halloween, and had already asked the families about their preferences. All but one family amongst all our story time families did not celebrate it, and the one that didn’t happened to be absent that week. Many of the moms knew she was absent, and openly conversed about how much they loved Halloween at that story time. I wished I had represented my patrons’ wishes better.

    This year, I private-messaged the mom who doesn’t celebrate it, asking whether she would be comfortable with her family attending a Halloween story time, so long as I provided a neutral, fall story, and alternate craft, since most of my themes are based on patron favorites and suggestions, and several had asked for Halloween-related things. She said no, that would not be a problem. She attended the Halloween story time and her family had a blast! All the other families were very appreciative that the theme had been provided.

    To a preschooler who can perhaps recall all of two or three of the events related to the same holiday from their lifetimes, each one is magical and awesome. To point out the fact that so many other places provide these things, is to perhaps ignore how different and special each event will be for the children attending. For a big city library with a wide variety of patrons, it makes perfect sense to avoid such things. From the perspective of a small library with few patrons who mostly share similar ideals, representing the patrons’ desires is, I suppose, a bit easier. To call the holidays Christian, when more and more families celebrate them from an entirely secular perspective, is also to be a bit close-minded, in my opinion. I have many friends who never attend church or read a Bible but still participate in most typical, American Christmas traditions.

    I will always have another option on hand (for example, snowman and winter books for Christmas or fall books for Halloween) in case a new family shows up for story time (so easy to do), but have found the best way to avoid offending anyone is simply to ask everyone (again, easy to do with a small town library group). Anyway, that’s my take.

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