December 7, 2009
More Things To Do With Books & Giftmas
If you, like me, have been banned from buying any more books for your family this Giftmas don’t worry – there’s still a way for a good bibliophile to push the printed form. This year the bee in my bonnet is all about bookish gift cards!
Libraries are a surprisingly good source of tasteful gifts. Fundraising has always been a major issue for libraries, though few of us seem to take notice outside of the occasional bake or book sale. Almost every library has, tucked in behind the front counter, a selection of items for sale like bags, publications, shirts or bookmarks available year-round.
Gift cards are probably a no-brainer for a good reference collection because so many of their books are beautifully photogenic and summon the aesthetic of Nutcracker Christmasses complete with giant fireplaces, trees trimmed with candles and leather-bound books being read to a clutch of excited children before bedtime.
Toronto certainly has no shortage of libraries with behind-the-counter gift shops, but ambitious gift-givers among you might enjoy looking further abroad. The J.P. Morgan Library in New York has a fabulous shop including a reproduction of the first known Christmas card, while the British Library has a huge selection including reproductions from the Lindisfarne Chronicles. Link madness here I come: see also the Huntington Library, the Library of Congress, the Bodleian, and the New York Public Library. But you don’t have to take my word for it – walk into your favourite library and just ask the librarian. I guarantee  they will have something cute you would never have expected.
 No actual guarantee available.