LUCY BURDETTE: When I was a kid, I went to the library in my little town every week and came out with a stack of books.
Today, as I was putting the finishing touches on this month's Friends of the Key West Library newsletter (I'm the editor,) I got to wondering how the rest of you are using libraries these days. Last week I went to hear debut author Nathan Hill talk about his 10-year-in-the-making novel THE NIX--he was every bit as charming as I expected--and I scored a Christmas gift for a family member! Saturday, I helped set up for our monthly Friends' book sale in the library's palm garden. (Which is every bit as charming as it sounds.) Beginning in January, my intention is to start taking Spanish lessons at the library--I think it will be good for my brain and who knows when it might come in handy?And like most authors, I love talking to library book clubs about writing and my books. However, I've gotten into the habit of buying books, rather than taking them out of the library the way I did growing up.
How are you using your local library these days?
HALLIE EPHRON: I love my local library. We helped get the expansion funded, and our gorgeous mostly-new library is packed most of the time, really functioning like a community center. Right now because I'm under deadline so I'm not doing much, but I always support the Friends of the Library and have volunteered in their used book store. They have wonderful resources, like a scanner that I use all the time and access to any book you could ever want through their network of libraries. Did I say, I love my library?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: It's funny, isn't it, how online buying and e-reading have somehow supplanted libraries? But as you can see from these photos, I cannot live without them--and am always so thrilled to visit. (They always do such marvelous publicity!)
And look at this terrific night at the Concord LIbrary--I'm on a panel with Peter Swanson and another author--isn't this room right out of Hogwarts?
Librarians and patrons are the most enthusiastic, and truly, where would be be without them? I love how libraries become a gathering place, for lectures or talks or panels or classes--and I've done many an event for my local Newton Library, whether speaking or emceeing or hosting.
One more important thing: Sometimes readers say--as if apologizing--"I can;t buy your book tonight, but always take your books out of the library." My answer to that is --great! It's so critical to keep our books in circulation...if no one checks them out, they go off the shelves. Nothing better than having a long waitlist!
RHYS BOWEN: I grew up in the country, outside a small village where the only library was a small paid lending library in the yarn shop. We moved into town when I was 14 and I spent so much time at the big library down the hill that my father was sure I was meeting a boy. And I was allowed into the adult section. I found Georgette Heyer and Jean Plaidy and lots of good stuff. We had Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers at home so I knew them.
I used to use the local library here in Marin for reference. The reference librarians were brilliant when I asked questions like "In what year was elastic first used in underwear?" Now most stuff can be found online. I don't often check out books, as most things can be read on a Kindle. I do attend programs from time to time, but our local libraries are not brilliant as they are in other parts of the country. I'm spoken at libraries all over Illinois and they are fabulous. Also Santa Monica was gorgeous and vibrant. When I am in Arizona I usually drive to Scottsdale main library where they do have diverse programs from book groups to classes. And the best library is out in a small town called Cave Creek where there is always something fascinating going on. Half an hour's drive but worth it.! (I've spoken at an English tea party there).
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, yikes, I am embarrassed to say how little I use my library. I loved my local library when I was growing up--checked out the full allowed number of books, every week--and then when my daughter was growing up we used the library in our old Dallas neighborhood (even after we moved fifty miles away) all the time. We did weekly story times, and then summer reading club, all the great activities. And I volunteered. In fact, I was working as a volunteer at the library when I wrote my first novel.
But now, it's the "busy-ness" syndrome again. I have more books in paper and on Kindle than I'll ever manage to read and there's always something new I need to keep up with. When I do check out books, I forget to return them. I'm afraid the most I see of libraries these days is when I get to do speaking engagements in them.
The next generation is starting out right, however. Granddaughter Wren is going to story-time twice a week at our local library!
How about you Red Readers, do you use your library?