Throwback Thursday – hanging out in the local library as a teenager, avoiding chores at home and lots of little brothers and sisters. Back in those days, our local library (shown at right) was brand-spanking new, with a nifty loft full of couches and soft chairs.
Me and my friends would head there after school or part-time job shifts and “hang” – using up all those couches and plush chairs to sit around and read magazines or the latest tawdry romance novels – much to the chagrin of the librarian staff.
Funny, isn’t it? Today librarians are building entire teen rooms and computer labs and interactive media centers to attract our young people to enjoy reading and researching, even offering homework help and assistance with college prep.
This past week, on a vacation back to my hometown, I had a chance to briefly visit my old library, this year celebrating its 40th anniversary. In a strange twist of fate, my mother, an ex-journalist, is now a librarian there. And the formerly quaint Bloomingdale Public Library is busier than ever these days, serving a huge residential community, and offering patrons a robust website. Best of all the website offers –you guessed it– an entire tab just for teens.
And of course, of great importance to our author tribe, this local library, like so many others, hosts a number of book club discussion groups, and often features visiting authors.
On returning from Chicago and my old stomping grounds, I knew I wanted to do a shout-out post to libraries. And then fate intervened again in a conversation with Virginia-based author Dean Robertson. Her book has just released and her launch party will take place at the stunning Slover Library in Norfolk, VA.
I’m ashamed to admit I’d never heard of the Slover Library, even though technically I’m a native of Norfolk, having been born there while dad was in the Navy. But now it’s most definitely on my must-see list, and no doubt yours too once you take a look at the site and more photos of this beauty.
And once again, this library isn’t just another pretty face, but one boasting plenty of community events and author readings. Here at WWW’s home base in Charleston, SC, “business” is up nearly 300% throughout the branch libraries, thanks both to expanding populations and new programs.
As journalist Porter Anderson reported in his June 25 article on Self-E, even self-published authors can now break into library markets, so being self-published doesn’t have to be a barrier to library inclusion, either.
For authors concerned that your book is borrowed vs. sold at a library, keep in mind that there are thousands of libraries; all of which buy thousands of books. And, if your book is passed along to a great many readers, isn’t that what we all hope to accomplish as authors – more readers learning from our words?
Tell us about your local library; if you use it, if your book is carried there? Have you done any library readings or participated in their discussion groups as an author? Have an awesome library photo to share? We’ll put it on our Lovely Libraries board at Pinterest.
Write on, read on… and support those local libraries: They may be our best hope to keep future generations interested in books!