Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is it the cold that makes Finns such cool people?

Hooray for Finns! They love books and they love their libraries, and are awesomely supportive of them.


I got this image from the Designer Librarian's blog. She took a recent vacation in Finland and says when she looked through the windows of this library in Turku, she was bowled over to see scads of people inside the library in the middle of the day, JUST READING.  Ah yes, THIS is my dream land. Except for the cold.

A society where people value books and libraries and reading. Where people are visibly reading books and not just clicking their lives away like rats following a maze to win pellets. Did I mention that people there READ and place an importance on books and libraries? Am I repeating myself? Oh yes, and though they are the size of Minnesota, they have more libraries and check out more books per person than in Minnesota, which has one of the highest literacy rates in the U.S.

What is it about the cold and books and literacy? Is it all that time spent indoors? Maybe the cold makes people humble and vulnerable, and therefore more mindful of how little they know. I do think there is something about tropical climes that can lull people into a state of mind that is more idle and pleasure-seeking. You don't see Dostoyevsky on a list of books to take to the beach. I once had an English professor warn me that my moving to Miami, which I was preparing for in the fall of 1986, and which I undertook in January 1987, would be bad for me as a writer, because sunny places do not engender literary impulses. He said the arts flourish better in places like Seattle, with caliginous skies and atmospheres.

And libraries seem to flourish in places that are cold. Well, maybe not Idaho and Alaska. And I'm not sure about okay, maybe there are holes in my theory...

And maybe the Finns aren't even that cold. In the video below, from the pro-library site Finnish Libraries Now! bookworms in Finland tell why they like to read. And not one of them wearing a coat! Brrr!!! Or maybe I'm wrong about their climate too.

1 comment:

  1. Awww, we aren't so anti - reading here in the U.S. - if I'm not mistaken, several states have adopted the same slogan as your video - Finnish libraries now!