International Hug a Librarian Day

Yesterday, Tuesday 1st March 2011, was International Hug a Librarian Day. It was well spread across the Internet, with many a mention on Twitter, many blog posts and even a Facebook event.

Responses to the whole concept of International Hug a Librarian Day ranged from “don’t touch me” to full on embracing (lol) of the idea.

Hug

Hug by jiunn kang too, uploaded to Flickr 2.1.2010, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The only people who knew about it at my library, were the ones I told.  We didn’t advertise it, because I didn’t want to see people getting injured trying to lean across our desks to hug a librarian, or have library staff running away trying to avoid a hug, lol.

The most common response I noted, both in person and online (at least from the Australians in general), was don’t touch me, but virtual hugs were welcome.

So the whole idea raises a couple of questions for me.

1. How did we get an International Day for this?

2. Why does someone think librarians in particular, need a special day for a hug?

1.  It is not an official United Nations event, not recognised on Wikipedia as a day belonging to any international agency and even Jane Curtis at the ABC who hugged three librarians, couldn’t find its source. But it truly was an international event, with librarians chiming in from all around the world on their thoughts and experiences.

There was even a Facebook event, International Hug a Librarian Day, created by Dinoslav Maganjicky So far, I have not been able to find out anymore than that. (the power of something going viral on the web!)

2. According to the Facebook event, the day was on  “Because librarians are cool and they help and love everyone!” Which we are and we do, but do we really need to get hugs, from mostly complete strangers?  I know a LOT of people who are very uncomfortable with that idea.

Librarians are people too and we need hugs like everyone else, but I would think that also like most people, we are choosy about who we accept them from. I am sure we have all had our share of experiences of having our personal space invaded by someone unwelcome!

Although I am unsure as to whether I like the idea or not, I can appreciate the desire to thank our wonderful librarians for all they do. We go above and beyond the call of duty, are not the best paid profession around, are very community minded and service-oriented, and are generally really nice and huggable people.

Although it was mostly only distributed by librarians to librarians, it was nice to see that some libraries advertised it to their users and that even places like the ABC picked it up.

Thank you flowersI didn’t get a hug for being a librarian yesterday. I got something better that had nothing to do with the day. When I came home for my dinner, in the middle of my late shift, my family presented me with flowers, chocolate raspberries and a lovely hand drawn card.  It was a thankyou  for working so hard for them, with their dad’s new food restrictions, cooking two meals a night, doing so whilst unwell and still caring and working hard for them. (summarised from the card) Needless to say, I cried.

But enough about me, what about you? Did you do anything in your library to celebrate International Hug a Librarian Day? If so, what and if not, why not? Would love to hear of your experiences and whether you think its a good thing or not and how to cope with the overwhelming need for others to touch you, if it continues to grow and become more popular.