Every year, on December 26th, you can count on one thing: the retailers will move the Valentine's merchandise out onto the sales floor. In the six weeks that follow, our eyes and ears are bombarded by advertisements for cheap rose bouquets, not-so-cheap diamond jewelry, spa packages and candlelit dinners. All you need, apparently, is love.
And in the good times, the comfortable times, we buy into it with great glee. Why not? If you're fortunate enough to have a sweetie that you love, or want to share some heart-shaped happiness with your kids or friends, go for it. All the bad news in the world can wait for a day. Right? I wonder if Valentine's Day will be different for people this year. These are difficult days, uncomfortable times, when splurging on that five course meal or diamond pendant just won't swing it for most folks. But how can you disregard a day, a week, to celebrate love, to lift up the people you love, if love is all you need?
Maybe Valentine's 2009 is an opportunity to reach out in love but in a less commercialized way. By all means, spend if you can - our economy needs it! But how about spending on some canned goods for the Self-Help Food Pantry that you and your kids pick out together? That could be your "valentine" to the whole community. How about writing your spouse a heartfelt love letter on an attractive card, then spending a date night at the Library, where an armful of books, music and movies will cost you nothing? Stop for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine on the way home, and you'll never miss all the expensive fuss. Expand your definition of "love" and shovel an elderly neighbor's driveway, drop off a pile of Valentine's cards at a local care facility for the disabled, call up that family member you haven't spoken to for years because of a now-forgotten disagreement. You can get your money's worth out of Valentine's Day without spending a dime.
I say all of this to invite you to experience "Love in the Library," a month-long salute to many-splendored love, love of every kind: romantic & familial, love between friends, between strangers, between lifelong companions. The celebration began a few days ago, when we unveiled our lovely new "Romance Pavilion" on the third floor. Close your eyes and you'll be in a Parisian salon, filled with objets d'art and nothing but the best romantic literature, music and film. Go ahead and chuckle - romance is the most popular genre in Des Plaines, so you're not fooling us with that cynical smirk! If you haven't seen the new Romance Pavilion, stop by, take a seat and relax for awhile - and then pick up some books or other items to take home.
Next up on our calendar is a Valentine craft day for Kids, this Saturday, 2/7/09, from 1-4 PM. You know your kids want to make you a Valentine, so drop them off and they'll get free supplies and instructions on a treasure they'll create just for you. The drop-in craft will take place in the second floor Storytime Room.
Stay tuned and in a few days, I'll give you the scoop on our HUGE Valentine's Day event, complete with chocolate tastings, romance book authors, contests and a movie marathon! No doubt about it, we all need love to get us through bad times and to make the good times that much sweeter. So come out to DPPL and feel the love!