Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Five Ideas for Library Holiday Programs

The holiday season is in full swing and we are all feeling quite festive, right? Here are five possible festivals or programs libraries could celebrate for various holidays. Some of these have already passed for this year, but it's never too early to start planning for next year! Maybe these ideas will inspire you to start a new tradition at your library.

Diwali Festival of Lights

CC Credit: Ravikiran Rao

Diwali is a Hindu festival celebrated in the fall that celebrates the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. The holiday, which can take place over a five day period, includes prayer, fireworks, and feasts. The library could host an event in conjunction with a Priest from a Hindu Temple that had a lecture about the holiday and/or traditional food and dancing. Children could be encouraged to use sidewalk chalk to create colorful designs, or Rangoli, like the one pictured above.

Here are some libraries that host a similar program:
Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz, NY, News Story here.
Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. News Story here.
Maple Ridge Public Library in Maple Ridge, BC. New Story here.

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the memory of the dead. This is a three day festival that takes place on October 31, November 1, and November 2. Families create altars and decorate the graves of loved ones. This holiday is filled with vibrant color and joyous celebration. Your library could have face painting, space for altars, sugar scull crafts and more to celebrate this holiday.

Here are some libraries that host a similar program:
San Juan Capistrano Regional Library in San Juan Capistrano, CA. News Story here.
Grand Rapids Public Library in Grand Rapids, MI. Website here.
Saint Helena Public Library in Saint Helena, CA. New Story here.

Fall Festival

CC Credit: Carrie Nelson

A fall festival is a celebration of fall and the harvest. Typically you will have pumpkin carving contests, fall comfort foods, and hay rides. Many libraries also include Halloween into their fall festivals with hunted mazes and costume contests. Ideally, the library could partner with the Parks Department to have the festival in an outdoor space.

Here are some libraries that host a similar program:
Dallas Public Library in Dallas, TX. News Story here.
Bowlby Public Library in Waynesburg, PA. News Story here.

Gingerbread House Competition 

CC Credit: Betty B

A great way to celebrate Christmas at the library would be through a Gingerbread House competition. Have families bring their own materials and build their houses at the library. Add a time limit of an hour to create urgency. The friends of the library could sell fresh baked gingerbread and hot cocoa to spectators.

Here is a library that host a similar program:
York Public Library in York, ME. News Story here.

Chinese New Year Festival

CC Credit: IQRemix

China and a few other East Asian cultures celebrate the New Year of the Lunar Calendar. The New Year is typically celebrated on a day in late January - mid February. In 2015, Chinese New Year will be February 19th and it will be the year of the Sheep according to the Chinese Zodiac. The library could do crafts, reach out to local Chinese markets, and host a Lion Dance.

Here are some libraries that host a similar program:
Harrison Public Library in Harrison, NY. Website here.
Los Angelos Public Library in Los Angelos, CA. Website here.
Harris County Public Library in Texas. Website here.

I hope this events have sparked ideas for your library. Find out what holiday your community celebrates and provide a space for the community to come together.


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