This week was a big library week for me. As big as you can get without having a local library card. (I know, I know, I’m getting one. It’s on the to-do list. Shut up. Go home. You’re drunk.)
This week I contacted every library in the areas where I’ve lived. I asked if they would put my book into circulation, if I donated one. Many of them said yes, and a librarian in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, invited me to speak, and sign and sell my book at an Authors Day they’re having next year. This is the shiznit for me, people.
I have always said: “You can judge a town by its library.” There were intermittent years where I changed that to “You can judge a town by its teen Dunkin Donuts’s employees’ snarliness” and “You can judge a town by its teacher-coach ratio” but for the most part, it’s been all about the library.
I love libraries. And I’ve been lucky enough to have had some good ones. When I was growing up, the Hubbard Library was positioned to be the geographic Ground Zero. It was literally on the way to and from everything. So there was no excuse not to stop at the library. Two copies of Home Sweet Homes are now at the Hubbard Library and, again - shiznit.
When I got my first apartment in Coshocton, Ohio, the library was on my way home from work. I walked four blocks to and from The Coshocton Tribune, so most nights I would stop at the library and read until it closed. I spent so much time there, that my then-boyfriend (now husband) had flowers delivered to me there. (In actuality, the florist got the address wrong, but when I got a call from the librarian that there was a dozen roses for me there, I thought I was involved in the nerdiest romance in the history of the world. And I probably was, library flowers or not.) The Coshocton Library has also agreed to put my book on their shelves. Sh-sh-sh-shiznit!
When we started moving around, I used the library as the main gauge to a town’s worthiness. Whenever we were driving around with our Realtor, looking at houses, I would always request a side trip to the library. A-rated schools . . . mm-hmm . . . potable water, check . . . girl mayor, good . . . sinkholes, zero . . . What? The library is closed on weekends and doesn’t have a story hour? Keep driving. Get ready for a long commute, dear.
As I emailed back and forth with 18 libraries this week, I recalled memories of all the hours I spent in those places. Not a stroll down memory lane, exactly, but more of a lurching sprint, with overdue books, a screaming toddler under my arm, napping while waiting for Algebra Trig tutoring to be done, getting shushed by the librarian while I stifled laughter from reading Erma Bombeck, then Dave Barry, then David Sedaris.
Still, the library - wherever it was - was always a port in the storm. And as you know, moving can be a Cat 4 or more.
During our actual moves, the library became a safe haven for us. When we were leaving Springfield, Virginia, the boys and I all but set up tents and sleeping bags in the children’s section of the library while the movers were doing their thing. And when the Internet got shut off when we were moving from Sparta, New Jersey, the kids still had some school projects to turn in so we made a mini-move into the library, sucking up all the wireless, charging our devices and using up all the couches. Sparta Library will also put Home Sweet Homes into circulation. ‘nit!
I don't care that I won't make a dime of royalties from the books in the libraries. I'm just honored to be a part of the library system. And I hope, if some mom out there is in the middle of a move and is camped out in the library, she'll find my book and get shushed for laughing too loud.
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Labels: Coshocton Library, Hubbard Library, libraries, library, Mount Laurel Library