Office Hours: The Hygge State of Mind

Will “hygge” guide our services and interactions?

Scandinavian countries have introduced libraries to some wonderful things in the past few years. Nordic Noir fiction, some beautiful new buildings to gather inspiration from, and perhaps the most interesting of all: the concept of hygge. Pronounced “hoo-ga,” it loosely translates from the Danish as “coziness,” but bloggers, news reporters, and folks sharing #hygge-tagged images are quick to say it is so much more. Some might argue that it’s a feeling, a vibe, a state of mind. Others say it’s about connections, conversations, and comfort.

This definition shared on an Instagram post by Joe Pickard resonated deeply with me: “[I]t can be defined as the art of building sanctuary and community, of paying attention to what makes us feel alive. A feeling of belonging to the moment and celebrating the everyday.”

How might this concept inform our practice and services? Futurists, horizon scanners, and library prognosticators often look for the next “big thing.” I’d venture to say hygge may figure prominently in how our services and offerings evolve over the next few years. Perhaps it’s another example of the cyclical nature of most things.