Thanksgiving may be one of the least controversial of closed days that most American public libraries take. It's the civic occasion that is more likely to find public support for workers who are required to forfeit their own holiday at the demand of employers; life support service providers--fire fighters, police, hospital staff--choose to take the holiday shift at increased compensation, or to forego the extra compensation and take the holiday.
But we're in the information business and that comes right to the edge of those life support duties--and some of these we can serve well in spite of taking the holiday. Today's the day to prepare your library's Web page so that the public can avert some holiday difficulties. At least offer the following:
Mashable's How to Cook a Complete Thanksgiving Meal Using You Tube provides access not just to specific mainstream holiday dinner dishes but also how to set the table and even some appropriate holiday music.
Free meal service contact information for your specific geographic area--whether at a regularly functioning soup kitchen or as a special once-a-year program--should be available at first glance at your site as well. Thanksgiving is one of the days that even residents who have the least empathy for homeless neighbors may feel the urge to get such information to the guy who asks for change.
Local public transit information, including the name of the provider, fares and links to routes and schedules can be a much welcome grace note for out of towners who have a place to go for dinner but lack personal means to get there. Don't just put up 511.org, but drill down to provide a link to the specific information for your community. And if there is no public transit scheduled for the holiday, note that and save the guy who is pulling out his hair trying to locate it; give him an idea of local cab fares instead.
For those with access to vehicles, be sure to provide one-click access to local, live traffic information, if your library's community is impacted by busy highways or severe weather possibilities.
For out of town travelers, or residents who for whatever reason will be spending the day on their own, make sure you offer some options for public places where they can celebrate without the pressure of family or in spite of absent friends: locations and Website links of local cinemas, public houses, and/or gyms.
And before you lock up for the day, home yourself or traveling to that feast, be sure to email the link to the library's now Thanksgiving-ready site to local hotels and other agencies you know will have residents in need of one-stop help on the holiday. And happy Thanksgiving to you, and thanks for once again giving your community the guidance it sometimes doesn't recognize is needed until the library's closed.