I’m a huge fan of the public libraries and have been a regular at my own for at least 25 years for both reading and writing. I believe if I didn’t visit my own library at least once a month, they would probably send me a get well card.
Much of my writing is nonfiction—articles, children’s books—which depends on research from the library. And when my children were young, we went to story time. What amazing people children’s librarians are, to introduce books to future readers.
It was on a visit to the library that I discovered mysteries. Up until that time, my fiction tastes ran toward classics and literary fiction. But as a new mother, I was exhausted, brain-dead. I was desperate for a good story that would engage my imagination. I wanted to be able return to my book after the one thousand interruptions in a mother’s day and be able to fall back into the story. Literary fiction wasn’t doing it for me any longer.
While perusing the new bookshelves at the library, a title leaped out at me. Southern Ghost. Now that sounded interesting. I picked it up and began reading the inside flap. A Death on Demand mystery. I didn’t know. A mystery. Not only that, it was a series and not the first. Reading within a series felt like coming into the middle of a movie. But I was intrigued by the plot. The protagonist was a bookstore owner, Annie Darling, who was investigating a murder because her husband was a suspect. One of my fantasy jobs (and of many readers) is owning a bookstore. I moved to the back inside flap and saw that the author, Carolyn Hart, was from Oklahoma. Exactly where I happened to be. More intriguing. I decide to check it out.
I was hooked. I loved the characters, the plot. I liked how Hart mentioned other mystery books and authors in the bookstore setting. I promptly returned to the library where I read the other Death on Demand mysteries. Those I couldn’t find, I bought at the bookstore. When I exhausted those, I moved on to other others. Hart had given me suggestions of where to start. Once I found an author I liked, I read everything she wrote. And they were probably 98% women authors. I liked strong women protagonists who solved the mysteries. These were almost always written by women—Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Julie Smith. Later, I added Laura Lippman and Karin Slaughter to the list.
The point is that none of this would have happened without the public library. Libraries are magical, wonderful places. And they are importants. Even in times of economic uncertainty and 99 cent e-books, we need to support our public libraries. You’ll find other authors who agrees at http://savethelibraries.com/.