So, we’ve ranted about a lot in the past year. Giving credit for other’s ideas. Not giving yourself enough credit for amazing work. Privilege. Imposter Syndrome. All of these topics provoked numerous reactions, both in agreement and disagreement. Then, Kendra decided to rant about the holidays. Not even the holidays themselves, simply holiday celebrations in the library. Are we atheists? Communists? Do we hate Santa? The answer is that it doesn’t matter.
The holiday rant has provoked some intense reactions. SLJ picked up the article. Someone from Horn Book wrote a response. Blogs reacted. Rude things were said on social media. Some people had extremely intelligent arguments that made us examine the issue again. Others made us shake our heads in disbelief. Some of the comments took our collective breath away with their ignorance.
We started asking ourselves, “Why did this strike such a nerve in our library community?” Then, we starting asking, “Why is this such a big issue at all?” Frankly, why can’t we get people this riled up about more issues? Serious issues. Issues that affect a child’s development and education. Issues that affect an entire community. Issues like literacy, poverty, racism, hunger. All very HUGE issues. REAL issue. (Maybe people feel they’re too huge for “us” [children’s librarians] to talk about? Maybe people think their community is exempt from these issues? Maybe people simply want to ignore them?)
Why are people willing to get so publicly upset about someone asking them to rethink their holiday celebrations?
But, really, our bigger point is: why is this even an argument? Does someone believe they will be recognized as Librarian of the Universe because they defended or fought against holidays? Do they think new ALA policies will be written because of holiday action? Do they think their community is being served to the best of their ability right now while they’re talking about Santa? This is an example of a time it’s easy to dismiss Children’s Librarians. While the world around us is being burned, we’re arguing about Santa Claus.
NOT EVERYONE. Not by a long shot. Look to Angie Manfredi. She saw a huge issue and tackled it the best way she knew how. The whole country is seeing this amazing thing Angie is doing and continues to do every day. She’s just one example of many. However, not as many as there should be.
So please, let’s have meaningful discussions about holidays when we need to, but let’s save our outrage and shock for things that truly matter.