Hygge at the Library
In the past year, this concept of Scandinavian coziness has made inroads with an international audience. At least six books about hygge were published in the United States, with more coming in 2017.
“The Little Book of Hygge” claims that ”the happiest place on earth isn’t Disneyland, but Denmark.” Why is Denmark the happiest place on earth? The answer, says author Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is Hygge. Loosely translated, Hygge (pronounced Hue-ga) is a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience,” Wiking explains. “It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.”
There are many elements to hygge, all of which encourage coziness and togetherness: candle-lit dinners on a snowy night, warm cookies from the oven, intimate conversations, family game nights, a handmade afghan folded over the bed. Hygge isn’t about having or doing more, but rather focusing on activities and objects that offer a sense of gentleness and quiet contentment. Its broad definition means you are free to interpret as you see fit, and engage in elements of hygge and daily activities that are meaningful to you. To me, it’s about connections, conversations, and comfort, about building sanctuary and community.
So I would argue that the happiest place on earth is THE LIBRARY! When walking through the Library’s 1904 fireplace room recently, I realized how the Library could be hygge too. Snow was falling heavy out, but inside, the fire was crackling and folks were curled on couches with a book, tapping away on their laptop, or browsing the latest New York Times, steam rising from their cups of “free-coffee-Friday” libations. This brought a wonderful warmth and sense of hygge to my librarian heart. These were my peeps – my tribe. And THIS is my happy place.
If you’re in pursuit of hygge…. Our suggestion? Grab a friend and head to the library. Strike up a conversation with one of our friendly staff members, and grab a book while you’re at it. Snug up fireside and read. Fuzzy slippers optional, but encouraged!
To help get your hygge on, check out these books:
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking (2017).
How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen (2017).
The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell (2016).
The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen (2016).
The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection by Louisa Thomsen Brits (2017).
Scandinavian Gatherings by Melissa Bahen (2016).
Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte (2015).
Slow Family Living: 75 Simple Ways to Slow Down, Connect, and Create More Joy by Bernadette Noll (2013).
The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of A Neglected Pleasure by Catherine Blyth (2009).
The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts and Other Homemade Adventures by Adrianna Adarme (2015).
Tea & Cookies: Enjoy the Perfect Cup of Tea— with Dozens of Delectable Recipes for Teatime Treats by Rick Rodgers (2010).
Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar (2013).
“The Year of Hygge: the Danish Obsession With Getting Cosy,” by Anna Altman, New Yorker, December 18, 2016.
“‘Hygge’ at Home: 5 Ways to Cozy Up to the Trend” by Vicky Hallett, The Washington Post, January 30, 2017.
“The Art of Hygge” by Hannah Baker, Director, December 2016/January 2017.
“Move Over, Marie Kondo: Make Room for the Hygge Hordes” by Penelope Green, New York Times, December 25, 2016.
“I Practices Hygge and It’s Kind Of the Best Thing Ever” by Anne Rodrique-Jones, Self Magazine, January 21, 2017.