Wall Street has managed to create a new holiday tradition around the world. It’s called “Black Friday.” It’s not an official, but some employers actually do give the day off as if it were a holiday. The term refers to the day after Thanksgiving which marks the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season.
Recognizing the start of the Christmas shopping season on the day after Thanksgiving goes back to the beginning of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924. The term “Black Friday” came into being in the 1970’s and originally referred to the heavy traffic that occurs on that day. Most people today recognize the term though as referring to the period in which retailers are in the black or turning a profit as opposed to being in the red or showing losses. I personally always think of “Black Friday” with images of my two sisters standing outside department store doors in the pitch-black dark waiting for the doors to open up.
I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when a friend of mine in Argentina mentioned “Black Friday.” Apparently, the term is known around the world as the American economy and the spending of Americans influences the world economy in general. The news media and Wall Street look closely at “Black Friday” as an indicator as to how well the economy is doing. I also think of “Black Friday” in connection to the depression that usually follows the holidays as people realize how much they have spent while being of “good cheer.”
One of the best bargains around though is at the public library. I was at a Barnes and Noble bookstore recently and the salesclerk was trying to get me to buy a Barnes and Noble discount card. I told her, “Listen, you guys need to do what we do at the library in Statesville. If someone comes in and sees a book, movie, or CD they like we give them a free card and then tell them to take the item home and bring it back in three weeks when they are finished.” She smiled and said she didn’t think the store manager would go for it.
Making money is what business and “Black Friday” is all about, but Malcolm Forbes once said, “The richest person in the world – in fact all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.” In fact, we provide services to our patrons 24 hours a day and even when they are unable to come to the library.
The Iredell County Public Library has recently added to our online informational services by subscribing to a reference database for life long learners. “Credo Reference” is an online site that library patrons can access for free with their library card number. With Credo you have your own reference collection at your disposal through your Internet connection 24 hours a day. Credo Reference provides access to over 3,036,712 million entries from over 290 titles and 57 publishers with full-text articles covering every major subject.
The library provides free access to a number of databases that would cost you thousands of dollars if you were to subscribe directly. “Value Line” and “Morningstar” provide stock and mutual fund information on over 8,000 stocks, 13,000 mutual funds, and 80,000 options and other securities. “World Book” and “Britannica Online” are online encyclopedias that have thousands of articles and biographies along with maps, web sites, animations, videos, audio files, special North Carolina sections, and even a Spanish language encyclopedia.
Other databases available are “Rosetta Stone” which is the top language learning software in the world and “Learning Express Library,” a comprehensive interactive site providing practice tests and tutorial courses on tests such as the ACT, SAT, GED, ASVAB, Firefighter, Police Officer, Paramedic, EMT Basic, US Citizenship, Postal Worker, Cosmetology, Real Estate Agent, and many others.
“HeritageQuest” will allow you to see the actual census records to research your ancestors and conduct genealogical research. “NC LIVE” provides access to articles from over 10,000 newspapers, journals, magazines, and access to over 24,000 electronic books. “NetLibrary” e-books offers easy access to over 22,000 reference, scholarly, and professional full-text books online while the e-Audiobook collection includes unabridged versions of the latest best sellers, book club favorites, and the Pimsleur language study courses.
These can all be accessed with your library card number at www.iredell.lib.nc.us. The latest edition of the library’s newsletter “Bookmarks” is also now online. For information contact us at 704-878-3090 or 704-928-2400.
The Iredell County Public Library will be featuring “Movie Days” for adults at the library in Statesville during December. Holiday movies will be shown on Dec. 1 starting at 3 pm, Dec. 4 at 10 am, Dec. 17 at 6:30 pm, and Dec. 18 at 20 am. For a listing of the movies scheduled go the library’s webpage at www.iredell.lib.nc.us.
Joel Reese, Local History Librarian
Iredell County Public Library
This article appeared in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “Forget ‘Black Friday’; the library offers the best deals” on Nov. 28, 2007.