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Labor Day: Black Friday for Libraries?

Updated on June 27, 2014

Labor Day weekend is a time for people to kick back, relax, and not think about work or why we have this holiday in the first place. However, not everyone gets to take this holiday off, and those that do may overlook that fact as well. Libraries do take this day off, and for some reason the day after Labor Day is their busiest day of the year. Go figure.
As we all know, Black Friday is a sales day for retail outlets to be "in the black," or make a profit. As a result of these huge discounts, on that day the stores are at their most crowded. Three-day weekends like Labor Day also rank among the top-selling for the industry. While libraries are not retail outlets and are most likely closed on Labor Day weekend, they are at their most crowded on the day after with people returning their materials. Some of those people even crowd the stacks looking to borrow more. It's a phenomenon I have never seen before in my life on any other day of the year. While the people in these crowds aren't unruly and trampling over each other, it's just as busy as a retail outlet after Thanksgiving.
Why these massive circulation numbers around Labor Day? Perhaps it's because this is the most popular time for people to go on vacation and enjoy themselves at the end of August. The United States has Labor Day in September to differentiate from that of the former British empire, which is May Day (also, Memorial Day is already in May to mark the beginning of summer, but not the solstice any more than Labor Day marks the equinox). While everyone's summer recreational activities have no bearing on the timing or history of Labor Day, I am pleased that library visits are among them. Now if only some of them would use these visits to look up the true meaning of Labor Day and the sacrifices associated with it.
Perhaps once again the secular celebration of a holiday would be best in this situation; ignorance really can be bliss, can't it? Everyone leads stressful lives, so why bother learning outside of school that the holiday was established because of labor unions fighting for their rights in response to various abuses. As long as we recognize how far we've come since then or at least appreciate those who have no choice but to work on Labor Day in order for society to function, why think about it too much, right? This is a time for turning off our brains, right? Otherwise we start having ridiculous conversations about communism (seriously, look it up).
It's a funny ol' world, idn't it?



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