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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The Night Before Christmas

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, December 23, 2007



"The Night Before Christmas" is a Christmas classic, in the form of a poem, book, and variety of media productions.


First written as a poem and published anonymously on December 23, 1823 in a Troy, N.Y. newspaper, the work has been republished and reissued countless times.


In 1844, the poem was attributed to Clement C. Moore.


The original title was "A Visit from St. Nicholas," although it is more commonly titled by the first line of the poem.


This year, David Davis and illustrator Jim Harris have delighted the library world with their new book, "Librarian's Night Before Christmas," published by Pelican Publishing Co.


The author has published other similar books using other occupations as the basis for the book.


Due to low staffing in the library, the overworked librarian must work Christmas Eve restocking the library shelves.


The books were worn, "Our books numbered few and were falling apart, and I sat mending pages with a crestfallen heart."


"Still I answered the phone with Christmas good cheer."


The reference desk answered a question about the names of Santa's reindeer.


We usually are asked if Montgomery Ward really invented Rudolph, which they did.


"...Out of the sky cruised a red Bookmobile ... with a portrait of Shakespeare airbrushed on the side."


Elves emerged from the flying Bookmobile to begin filling the library shelves with books.


The Bookmobile, by the way, has two jet engines attached to its roof.  As a library administrator, can you imagine the fuel consumption?


Santa emerged from the Bookmobile and asked the librarian, "Need Interlibrary Loans?"


Santa is described as "crimson and bodyweight challenged, grinning like a writer with a New York Times bestseller."


The elves stocked the shelves of the library with Hawthorne, Austen, Steinbeck, and Millay, as well as the romances of Molly McNast.


Santa then read from the Newbery and Caldecott award winning books to all who would listen.


Elves rolled out new carpets, patched the library's plaster, fixed the leaking roof, and hung a portrait of Mark Twain in the hallway.


Everything was organized by the Dewey Decimal System.


Santa exclaimed, "Happy Reading, you bibliophiles, the best gift of all is a library card."


The Red Bookmobile lifted off from the library yard, and he did a figure eight in the sky as he exclaimed,


"Do one more good deed.  Have a real Merry Christmas-teach someone to read!"


Holiday wishes to everyone, our library system is closed Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.