Yesterday at the grocery store I ran into my first librarian. When I was a little girl, Jeanne ran the Palmer Public Library, which at that time was a cramped room in city hall. There was a jar on the counter where you could put a quarter if you felt guilty about turning in a book late. And in a cozy back corner, I would flip through picture books.
Jeanne was always friendly and helpful, and when my mom and I walked through the door, she seemed genuinely glad to see us. She planted the warm spot in my heart for libraries.
During this past year of book events, I’ve come to realize that libraries are close to many people’s hearts, and for good reason. It’s the only place that I know of in our society where anyone is welcome, everything is free, and books are the focus.
This past month I participated in the Anchorage Reads library program. Anchorage Public Libaries chose The Snow Child for this year’s book, and they organized a snowman building contest, readings, a panel and other events. I’ve also phoned in to other library book clubs around the country as they’ve met to discuss The Snow Child. Again and again I’m struck by what a wonderful blessing these libraries and their events are to communities. They welcome people of all ages, interests and walks of life and bring them together in the joy of reading.
I’m looking forward to some more library events. On Thursday evening at 7 p.m. I’ll be close to home at Wasilla Public Library where I’ll do a reading and answer questions from readers. Then at the beginning of May, I’ll be in Bend, Oregon for “A Novel Idea”, organized by Deschutes Public Library.
I want to offer my gratitude, and three cheers, for libraries around the world that give the love of reading to children, a sanctuary of ideas and literacy to whoever seeks it, and inspiration to writers.