The legend of Jólabókaflóð is a slightly romanticized Christmas tradition translated to mean “Christmas Book Flood”. Icelanders give and receive books every Christmas Eve, and then spend much of the day reading as a Christmas ritual. Publishers purposefully release new titles before the holidays, and the four months around Christmas account for half of the country’s book sales each year.
Storytelling is a winter tradition everywhere, but especially in the north where darkness prevails. Long ago, telling stories and reading aloud during the cold winter months was common while some family members worked the wool into clothing and prepared the dried food and grain for storage. Iceland is not the only place that has reading rituals around Christmas time.
In Norway, public libraries called Bibliotek have scheduled programs such as film viewing. Litteraturhuset, The House of Literature, is also a popular place for people who wants to read. Inside it is a cafe, a restaurant and a bookshop, all in one place! It´s often crowded because it has a bookshop and a café which are open until midnight and weekends.
In today’s Iceland, the coming of winter starts a series of book events, authors book signings and new material being introduced in anticipation for the large amount of book sales that occur around Christmas. According to Smithsonian magazine, Icelanders read an average of 2.4 books per month. Iceland is consistently ranked among the most literate countries in the world, based on metrics like achievement tests as well as characteristics like average total years of schooling and publications and libraries per capita.
In Alaska, winter programs are very popular in public libraries because outdoor activities for everyone are limited. A public library is a perfect place to have events and to provide a social outlet for kids and grown-ups alike.
Snuggle up with a good book this holiday and enjoy the dark cold days of winter!
Thank you for your end of year donations to the Craig County Public Library! We depend in our people for support of such an essential part of our county infrastructure. Every little bit helps us to provide more for our community.