Open House New York is a program here in New York City that encourages cultural institutions to open their doors to the public for learning and discovery. This year, I visited the Center for Book Arts and the New York Society Library. To say that my total book nerd and New York City history obsessed heart is full is an understatement. It’s so full it might just burst right out of my chest. I can’t stop smiling. To be surrounded by books and the people who love them as much as I do was such a treat. It feels good to find your tribe and discover they are your neighbors.
Getting into libraries can be a conundrum for authors. That’s why I’m so grateful to my friend and reader, Shakti, for going to bat for me at the Arlington Public Library in Virginia. Shakti sent an email to them before my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was even published (isn’t she wonderful?!)
To their credit, they wrote her a note and said that in order to be considered, the book needed to be available through one of their vendors and had to have favorable reviews in one of the professional review journals that their selectors use to make decisions about what to purchase.
Yesterday, they wrote Shakti again and said, “The book is now available from our book vendor and has a positive review from a review journal (Kirkus, 4/1/18) so we will add it to our next order.”
I’m absolutely thrilled to hear this news and immensely grateful to Shakti and the Arlington Public Library. Now I need to get to work contacting every library in the country. Be right back…
I’m giving you a tissue warning with this post…
This article from Atlas Obscura piqued my interest, as an author, a community member, and a person who cares deeply about providing inspiration and encouragement for others, particularly to our most vulnerable neighbors.
A library in New Zealand was experiencing a strange circumstance – books would vanish and then reappear. They did a bit of digging and found out what was happening – the homeless who used the library as a place to go during the day would read books and hide them in place where they were unlikely to be found so that they could continue reading them the next day. If that doesn’t make your eyes tear up, I’m not sure what would. I’m happy to report that this library in New Zealand got to work providing new programs for the homeless in response to this situation.
Stories and books matter to all people in all walks of life. They carry us away. They teach us. They help us see the world through a different set of eyes and walk in a different pair of shoes. That kind of escape and discovery is needed by everyone. Writing is a service, and as writers it’s important for us to remember that. It’s a responsibility we can’t take lightly. What we write matters more than we realize.