If you've ever read any of the author interviews I do here, you know I end them with, "Tell me a story about libraries." I've been working in public libraries for 40 years now. I started at my hometown library in Huron, Ohio, working as a page when I was sixteen. And, that quote about doing something you love and you'll never work a day in your life? Most of the time, it's true. I've loved my chosen career for most of those forty years.
So, I'll tell you some of my library stories, in honor of National Library Week. And, then, I'd love to hear some of yours. It's your turn to tell me library stories. Sort of, I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours.
My favorite memory of the Huron Public Library before I worked there? One summer, my parents house- and babysat for a family with boys much younger than me. And, they lived in a big old house down the street from the library. Every day, I walked to the library, checked out a stack of books, and went back to the house, laid on a hammock on the screened-in porch and read the afternoon away. Heaven!
If you came to Lesa's Book Critiques within the last three years, you might not know that I met and
married my late husband at the Huron Public Library. I had returned to my hometown as Library Director, and Jim was a patron, introduced to me by my children's librarian, Millie Schilman, as "Jim Holstine, one of our most prolific readers." The staff tied paperback books to the bumper of our car. Jim later had a tee shirt that said, "I like libraries so much I married a librarian."
We were living in Glendale, Arizona, and Jim's beloved cat, Lammie, had recently died. One day, a litter of kittens was dropped off at our Main Library, wrapped in a Christmas box. Our director, Rodeane Widom, found the box. Those kittens were only five weeks old, too young to leave their mother. But, Rodeane and the library staff found homes for all of them except one. She was a feisty little thing that hollered all day. When Jim arrived, she clung to him, and from the moment he picked her up, Nikki was his. Nikki was our library cat. She's always been comfortable around books.
My library story wouldn't be complete without a thank you to all the staff members I worked with at the Huron Public Library, the Upper Arlington Public Library in Upper Arlington, Ohio, the Charlotte-Glades Library System in Port Charlotte, Florida, the Lee County Library System in Lee County, Florida, particularly at Captiva Memorial Library and the wonderful Rutenberg Branch Library, the Glendale Library System in Glendale, Arizona, especially my beloved Velma Teague Library staff, and the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library in Evansville, Indiana. It's been a pleasure to work with all of you, and I hope I have another ten years or so working in libraries. Thank you. And, a thank you to every author who appeared at a library for me. It's been a pleasure to host you there.
I could tell you all kinds of stories about the library, but, now, it's your turn. It's National Library Week. Do you have a library story to tell?