When I was sixteen I elected to take a library science course in high school. It was one of the few classes I remember well from those years. Our teacher, Mrs. Fields, was one tough lady who ruled with an iron whisper, but we learned so much. In those days we still had the physical card file and I almost managed to master the system. My favorite duty was in the book shelves where returned books were put back into place. I could bury myself in the stacks so to speak. And then didn’t forty minutes fly by and I had to leave for algebra. Blech.
Believe it or not, one of the reasons I took that class was because of The Music Man. When Robert Preston sang “Madame Librarian” to Shirley Jones I was enchanted. And Shirley played the role of Marion the Librarian so well I just knew it was my destiny to do so, too. Okay, I didn't get there, but I never lost my love for libraries.
To my delight, since I’ve become a published mystery writer, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking in several local libraries this year. Book lovers and writers are great people. They cherish the written word and the worlds they pull forth. And they want to know so much. Do you have an agent? How long did it take you to write your first book? Who’s your favorite author and what are you reading now? I love it.
When you walk into a library you are greeted by life. The world is there in those books waiting for you. Narnia is in that corner and so is King Arthur. Pooh Bear crooks his finger at you as he pulls Pippi Longstocking’s braid. And look out for the murderers waiting to scare the pants off of you in Mysteries! So, where to begin? Your choice. It’s impossible for anyone, ever, to experience all things. But, psssst, those titles you’re staring at? They can get you closer. Maybe you already know that. Maybe you’re a bibliophile from infancy. Bravo! Or maybe you’re lost in an iPhone somewhere and you’ve forgotten the library that loves you.
Never fear, you can go back. Walk through the door with your eyes wide and yell – er – whisper, “Come to Papa!” And all of those books? They’ll love you for it and rush into your waiting arms. As long as you whip out a library card. There is that.
Go – re-kindle your love. And come to hear me and fellow author and sister Maven of Mayhem, Donna Lagone, at the Kinderhook Library this coming Saturday, March 7th. Four o’clock. We'll be reading from our masterpieces and can’t wait to see you!
Photo: Me at the Schenectady County Public Library speaking on Homicidal Humor.