National Library Week!
Growing up, we lived out in the county and my biggest contact with the Erie Library was the bookmobile. It parked around the corner of our dirt road (later tar and chipped) at the auction house. I remember taking my youngest brother with me sometimes. But what I remember the most was the feeling of coming home. The smell of books, the shelves and shelves filled with them... That was home to me...the books.
The staff learned my tastes in reading (sci fi and fantasy) and frequently had something tucked behind the desk for me.
Later, I made trips to Erie's Main Library and it gave me that same feeling of coming home. At the time, the library was on Perry Square. It's a Federal Courthouse now and the main library building moved down on the bay, next to the maritime museum. You can look out the back window and see the Brig Niagara. If you're ever visiting Erie, it's worth the trip to visit both.
Over the years, I've spoke at a lot of libraries and each and every one of them felt like coming home.
That makes sense. I grew up in books. When I realized I might need a grownup job, I thought about all the jobs in the world and realized the one I really wanted to try was writing. But saying those words—I want to be a writer—was one of the scariest things I ever did. I mean, what if I tried and failed? But I told Himself (my husband) and he jumped on board. When I was having doubts, he never did. One of the moments that stands out to me was my daughter casually saying, "When you sell a book..." I don't remember what she wanted, I just remember she believed in me as well.
I had a speaking last weekend in Philly and realized, once again, that I'm living my dream. I've got to write my stories and have been so fortunate that you all have supported me by reading them! And that libraries have supported me by putting my books on their shelves.
Lucky. I'm so very lucky.
So on Library Week, I want to say thank you to all those librarians who brought me books. I want to say thank you to "Miss Kitty" who was the storytime lady at that Main Library when my kids were little and really served as an inspiration for me when I volunteered as a Kindergarten Story Lady and later Pip who did the same in Carry Her Heart. I want to say thank you to all the other librarians who work so hard to inspire a love of reading in kids and support that love in adults.
For me, I still remember walking into that bookmobile and that feeling of coming home. And now I have books living in libraries all over the country. I think that's one of my proudest accomplishments.
I hope you all "come home" to the library this week. And when you do, I hope you'll look for me—okay one of my books—on the shelves!