Welcome to winter, when it is normally cold outside, people spend more time with families, and businesses make most of their yearly profits. No matter what faith you are, this is the time of year when many people celebrate various holidays.
Libraries are institutions for information. The resources belong to the community and reflect their interests as much as their needs. So how does an informational institution celebrate the holidays? Do you put up a display of all of the various religions balanced to equally represent all faiths, do you decorate with commercial symbols, or do you in fear of offending someone simply ignore the time of year.

This is an issue faced by every library, school, and government organization. Teens are also caught in the midst of this, not allowed to openly celebrate Christmas in many schools but rather it is called Holiday or winter celebrations. Teens are also the ones who will be working in the retail shops as well as possibly requesting all of the latest high tech gadgets as gifts from family and friends.
So what programs do we offer teens at this time of year? What books do we display for them to read? Moreover, how do we develop relationships with our teens?
I encourage you to focus on kindness. This time of year traditionally is about thinking about others. Stores and other commercial organizations made it more over the years, but giving without receiving(little things like time, candy, or trust), thanking and complementing for what they have done, and even smiling are all things you can do outside of a religions faith to celebrate the holidays.
I guarantee you will offend people during the holidays by something you did or didn’t do, and that is the hardest part of this time of year many times. Like with everything else you do in your job your strength will always be the support of your director and board, the reasons behind your policies, and your goodwill towards your community.

About Jami Schwarzwalder

Currently a teen librarian with the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA.She is passionate about technology, making, and learning. See what I'm up to at https://about.me/jamischwarzwalder

One Thought on “The Holiday Spirit

  1. Gerry Quinn [Visitor] on December 8, 2006 at 9:46 am said:

    Picking up on the kindness theme-for many of our teens, this is a difficult time of the year. The “Rockwell” Christmas will not be theirs and we need to be ready with a discerning heart to guide them to resources which can bolster sagging spirits.

    Gerry Quinn
    Librarian
    Notre Dame High School

    St. Louis, MO

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