Hygge @ the Library

By Nalatie

What is hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”)? A few years ago I read The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living By Meik Wiking. In the introduction to the book, Wiking describes this Danish concept: “Hygge has been called everything from ‘the art of creating intimacy,’ ‘coziness of the soul,’ and ‘the absence of annoyance,’ to ‘taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things,’ ‘cozy togetherness’ and my personal favorite, ‘cocoa by candlelight’” (p. vi). Wilking explains further that hygge is “about an atmosphere and an experience rather than about things” (p. vi). When I learned about hygge I felt I could easily create more hygge in my life. For me I think it is about making a conscious effort to take time for these cozy and nourishing practices and I love that this is something we can bring to the users of #hyperlib.

In Wholehearted Librarianship: Finding Hope, Inspiration, and Balance @michael highlights the connection of hygge to community, feelings of belonging, and celebrating the everyday (p. 63). In his book and his lecture this week @michael talks about different ways that hygge can be brought into libraries. In lecture he mentioned an adult hygge storytime at the Tea Tree Gully Library in Australia. What a cozy thing to do on a cold winter’s night! Before this week I had not realized that libraries were doing things to bring hygge into the library or having hygge themed programming. I decided to go looking for some other examples of how libraries have brought in hygge. These ideas are great for #hyperlib because they would be easy to scale up or down and do not necessarily need a lot of funding or extensive investment of staff time.

Here is some of what I found: 

Bismark Library in North Dakota: They created a Hygge Hangout for people to come to at the library where the library provides “board games, coloring, a reading nook, crochet supplies (or bring your own), puzzles, and a hot chocolate bar.”

Groton Public Library in Massachusetts: They went all out and had a Season of Hygge inspired by The Little Book of Hygge, they even had a group who read and discussed the book. They describe their season as a “positive joyful message, focus on natural products and experiences, encouraging small scale interpersonal connections, home grown events, and warm and cozy ideas for a winter month.” To create the right atmosphere they even constructed a cozy reading nook with orange string lights and a fireplace made from encyclopedias.

For six weeks they hosted “Cozy Hygge Cafés” every Friday afternoon, encouraging people to engage with each other in small groupings, eat baked goods, drink hot cocoa, and play games. This sounds like so much fun and pretty easy to do too! Other events they held included:

  • Warm and Fuzzy event with hot cocoa and visiting Alpacas
  • Melted Cheese for Comfort in the Cold
  • Family Board Game Days
  • Forest Bathing Walk with a closing tea ceremony
  • Science of Chocolate event (with samples!)
  • Hygge Bingo with cozy gift basket raffle
  • Creating Illuminated Houses with natural materials

Deschutes Public Library in Minnesota: Invited people to Hygge with the Library where they can “Join us for a quiet, cozy, hygge afternoon in the library!” This one is great because they specifically mention it is a multi-generational event and encourage people of all ages to come together.

La Crosse Public Library in Wisconsin: Hosted a virtual program called Mindful Makers: Hygge Home where “we’ll learn about Hygge, the Danish lifestyle of cozy contentedness and we’ll make a craft to embody the art of hygge in your home.” Participants picked up their craft supplies at the library and then joined on Zoom in the evening.

Take-Home Hygge kits:

A couple examples of this that I found include one from the Canton Public Library in Connecticut whose kits “contain a tissue paper candle lantern to make, a paper star kit, colored pencils and bookmarks to color, some suggestions for Hygge activities and a few packets of cocoa and tea.” Another library who did something similar is the Wells County Public Library in Indiana. They provided a take home kit with tea, cocoa, a candle, a mug cake mix, crocheted coaster, and a word search. Part of this program was also encouraging the checkout of items like movies, books, and jigsaw puzzles.

Interested in learning more about Hygge? Check these out:

Boost Social-Emotional Health with a Hygge Library Program By Gina Seymour

It’s hygge season: How to embrace the Danish lifestyle of rest and coziness By Andee Tagle

Hygge: A heart-warming lesson from Denmark

What do we mean by “hygge”?