I am a big fan of authors. I admire their commitment, their creativity, their energy. It's always an honor to host Karin Slaughter as a guest blogger. She could have come on here today to promote her latest book, Fallen. I know readers would have enjoyed her comments about it. Instead, Karin Slaughter is going to talk about the campaign in which she puts her commitment, her creativity, and her energy. She's the force behind the Save the Libraries campaign. I had the chance to meet her, and thank her, when I was in New York City at the Library Day of Dialog. I can't thank her enough.
Last year, I gave a speech to a group of librarians in Portland, OR, thanking them for all they were doing while bemoaning the cut in funding to our nation’s libraries. Staff are being fired. Facilities are being closed. Hours are being cut. I compared what was happening with funding cuts to a tsunami eroding the shores of our education system. I said that funding libraries, giving children access to reading, was a matter of national security.
I still believe those words, but at the time, they felt a bit hollow to me, sort of like I was cheering on the troops to battle, only afterward, we all put down our weapons and had some tea instead of going to war. I felt really bad about that, and decided to try to think of something to do that would actually deliver real help where it was needed most.
By help, I of course mean money, because while America will spend eleven billion dollars building schools in libraries in foreign nations, America is loathe to spend money on building schools in our own communities. Politicians look for ways to save money, and libraries are an easy target. They forget that for eighty percent of kids in rural areas, the library offers their only access to reading and the Internet outside of school. They ignore that most companies only accept online applications now, and that adults without computer access are effectively left out of the job market. They don’t bother to find out that book clubs, community groups and literacy action organizations meet at the library. Most importantly, they don’t seem to understand that for every dollar spent on a library, four dollars is returned to the community.
That’s why I created Save the Libraries, which is an author initiative to raise money that will go directly to libraries. With the help of the International Thriller Writer’s association, I and fellow authors Kathy Hogan Trochek (aka Mary Kay Andrews) and Kathryn Stockett held the first Save the Libraries fundraiser at our local Dekalb County Library, which is just outside the Atlanta area. After expenses were paid, we raised $50,000. This represented the only money the Dekalb system had with which to buy books for the year. It was a lifeline for a system that has crashed on more than its share of rocky shores.
The second program will be held in Boston sometime in October. Linda Fairstein, Joseph Finder, Lisa Gardner, Tess Gerritsen and I will host an event to raise money for the Boston Public Library system. As we did in Dekalb, we’ll open an eBay store where people from all over the world can bid on items such as having their name appear in the next Michael Connelly book or joining my agent for lunch in New York. We plan to reach out to the local Boston business community and ask them for sponsorship. We plan to tap into new donors who don’t yet know that their libraries are in danger of being lost.
I suppose the most important task Save the Libraries has before them is educating people about the great stress our libraries are under. My Dekalb system was closed several days in December because they could not afford to heat the buildings. There is a brand new branch that can’t be opened because there’s no money to turn on the lights. These are not isolated incidences. Libraries all across the country are in dire need. If we don’t do something to help them, their governments will end up spending the money anyway, whether it’s through lost tax revenue or ramping up their police force.
Soon, we’ll announce a national raffle to send ITW authors to four more libraries across the country. The details are still in the works, but please know that authors are doing everything we can to help our champions on the front line. I don’t know a single author who doesn’t have a story of transformation through their childhood library. They have done so much for us for so long. It’s time we gave something back.
Is it any wonder I'm always eager to host Karin Slaughter? On behalf of librarians and library users everywhere, thank you, Karin.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book
Book: 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book Author: Dianne Moritz Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell Pages: 36 Age Range: 3-6 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea is a nice lit...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.