Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Traditions from Around the World

If we were celebrating New Years in England, it would be very important to be sure a good first footer entered your home before anyone else in the New Year. The most desirable first footer would be a young, good looking, healthy male, carrying a small piece of coal, money, bread, and salt, symbolizing wealth. The least desirable first footer would be a woman, and those people with blonde or red hair - I guess those would be considered trouble makers! I can't help but wonder if this is the source of the expression "put your best foot forward." The ancient first footer tradition is practiced to this day in England.

In Ireland, the direction of the wind at New Year is traditionally an indication of the trend in politics for the coming year. If it blew from the west, it would be a good year for Ireland; if from the east, England would gain the upper hand. I thought this interpretation of signs to be very typically Irish. Of course, after the year we've had politically, there's no telling which way the wind will blow after New Year's.

Many countries have traditions that involve large, even massive, amounts of food being served, invoking coming prosperity and surplus. The French feast customarily includes special dishes like foie gras, seafood such as oysters, and drinks like champagne. It can be a simple intimate dinner with friends and family, or a much fancier ball. I'm leaning towards the French approach!

I'm not so sure I'd want to celebrate in Denmark, where friends and family show their good wishes by throwing dishes at your front door. If you have heaps of broken dishes at your door, you can consider yourself blessed with many friends. Really?

Well, Happy New Year to everyone! I guess I'll be sticking with the Southern tradition of good old black eye peas and cabbage to ensure good fortune. Does cole slaw count?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas from Your Library!

We have had a busy Christmas this year. It started on Saturday, December 4, when the Library Drill Team made its debut in the Christmas Parade. Let me be kind and say we're not quite ready for prime time yet. But we had a really fun time, and we plan to do it again next year - but we're going to practice first. (Click on the link to see pictures and video.)

On Sunday, December 5, the Friends of the Library held their annual Christmas Tour of Homes, which was a huge success. We had the most attendees ever, and the Friends made a record profit. This is very timely, since your Library is suffering financially due to budget cuts. (Click on the link to see pictures.)

On Monday, December 6, we were closed for staff development, and we held our annual Christmas luncheon for the Board of Trustees and the Friends Board to thank them for all they do to help us. We also used that day to decorate for the holiday. Come by and see!

I was looking on the web for what other Libraries were doing for Christmas. Some had a Christmas tree made of books. One library in Memphis had a flash mob singing carols. Do you know what a flash mob is? I think they're so cool! It's a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform a brief act, and then disperse. The first one I heard of, and maybe the first in Mississippi, occured in the Student Union of Ole Miss right before spring break.

Remember that your library can help you celebrate Christmas. We have some new Christmas movies on DVD that you might want to borrow and share with your family: Babes in Toyland, The Christmas Blessing, Miracle on 34th Street, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Disney's A Christmas Carol. We also have lots of Christmas books on decorating, cooking, crafting, gardening - or just great stories.

Close on Friday, December 24 & reopen on Tuesday, December 28
Close on Friday, December 31 & reopen on Tuesday, January 4

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Library Staff in Christmas Parade

Book Cart Drill Team from a
public library in Indiana
This year the Armstrong Library makes its debut in the annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 4 at 6 pm. However, we were not sure what we could do, so we decided to follow the example of  other libraries across the country and pimp our book carts and do a book cart drill.


Pimp My Bookcart is a parody of MTV's Pimp My Ride and is an annual contest run by Unshelved, a hilarious webcomic by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes that is about a public library and is read by public library staff across the country. The purpose of the contest is to see who can best pimp, trick out, or otherwise improve a standard library book cart. The entries range from outrageous to clever. Check them out here.

But it gets worse. There is also a Book Cart Drill Team competition sponsored by Demco, a library supply company, that is held at the annual American Library Association conference. Your Library staff is going to try (and I do mean try!) to do a book cart drill.

The theme of this year's Christmas Parade is Broadway. So how many librarians are characters in Broadway plays? What a challenge! Then our Director remembered - Marian the Librarian from The Music Man. And what better music to drill to than 76 Trombones!

We may (will) make total fools of ourselves, but we will have fun. You don't want to miss this!

Pimping book carts and doing book cart drills are only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to putting a new face on libraries and their staff. Libraries are no longer as quiet as they used to be, and I can't remember the last time I wore my hair in a bun! We invite you to come downtown and get into the spirit of the season and see your local librarians in a whole new way!