'It's all about discovery': Inspired by Icelandic tradition, Coeur d'Alene Library offers free books until Dec. 23

<p><p>Get ready for the yule book flood. </p></p><p><p>Despite being closed last year amid the pandemic, the Coeur d’Alene Public Library received thousands of book donations. Now, they are putting some of those books to use through one of several free book giveaways.</p></p><p><p>JD Smithson, the library’s communications coordinator, organized a local version of Jólabókafló (pronounced something like “yo-la-bok-a-flodt”), an Icelandic tradition that roughly translates to “Yule Book Flood.”</p></p><p><p>Libraries are one of the few spaces “where you can just hang out and not be expected to spend any money,” Smithson said. “That’s important for the community, especially during the cold.”</p></p><p><p>In preparation, the library wrapped around 900 books and displayed them in the center of the library.</p></p><p><p>The covers are hidden, offering a chance for people to experience books they may have never read otherwise, Smithson said.</p></p><p><p>“And if you get a book that wasn’t really for you, you can always rewrap it and gift it to someone else who might enjoy it,” Smithson said.</p></p><p><p>Jólabókafló came out of an Icelandic “habit” where many books are published in the months leading up to the holiday season, according to a report from city of Reykjavik’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.</p></p><p><p>“It is no exaggeration to say that in Reykjavik, the time from early October until Christmas is dedicated to books in a massive way,” the report read. “Books are the single most popular Christmas gift item in Iceland and this is the time of year when books are quite literally the talk of the town.”</p></p><p><p>Smithson said the library has given at least 700 away since the promotion started Dec. 1. Last year was the first Jólabókafló held by the library, Smithson said, where they saw patrons take around 600 books through curbside pickup only.</p></p><p><p>Considering the success of this year, Smithson said, it certainly won’t be the last.</p></p><p><p>“It’s all about discovery,” Smithson said. “Everything we do here is to get people into the library and excited about the library.”</p></p><p><p>Books up for the giveaway span many varieties, labeled as being for kids or adults. Smithson said most of the people who have come for the books grab the adult novels, which she was happy with considering those make up most of the donations.</p></p><p><p>Anyone was encouraged to take a book until Dec. 23, but Jólabókafló will not be the end of free book giveaways, Smithson said.</p></p><p><p>At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, the library is set to host a paperback book giveaway of the latest installment in the “Mudgy &amp; Millie” series by author Susan Nipp, with hardback covers available for purchase.</p></p><p><p>Those interested in either promotion can visit the library at 702 E. Front Ave. in Coeur d’Alene. The library is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.</p></p>