Tuesday, September 11, 2018

HITTING THE BOOKS! Let's talk Library Love!!!

JENN McKINLAY: Today's the day! HITTING THE BOOKS is out! I'm just thrilled to have another library lover's mystery "hitting" the shelves! Even more wonderful, HITTING THE BOOKS was chosen as one of the top ten books published in the month of September by Library Reads! Thank you! Thank you!



Now, because I am a former librarian and write a series set in a library, people frequently ask me what my favorite library is. Yeah, no, I can’t choose so I’ll tell you my top three – in no particular order. 

First, there is the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. I was fortunate enough to do a tour of duty there while in library school and it was one of the most transformative experiences in my education. Housed in an iconic building, they have a collection which has to be seen to be believed. Samples of their holdings include works by Benjamin Franklin, John James Audubon, George Eliot, the Mellon Collection of Alchemy and the Occult, the Romanov family photo albums, Gutenberg bibles, and more. Seriously, I’m pretty sure I could move into that building and live there forever. When I created my amateur sleuth Lindsey Norris, I made her an archivist from Beinecke just because I loved it so.

Second, is the Phoenix Public Library, also housed in an iconic building, it is where I worked part-time for twenty years in every department from children’s and teen’s services to government documents and law. My home was the Burton Barr Central Library and I spent many evenings gazing out over the city of Phoenix from the enormous reading room housed on the fifth floor. It really is an architectural marvel and the staff are some of the best and brightest in the industry. These are the people who give me so many of the day to day workings of library life that I frequently use in the fictional Briar Creek Public Library.

Third, was a job I only held for two years, but it was definitely the coolest environment. I was the research librarian at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ. My days were spent in the middle of this lush desert garden, researching the ethno-botanical properties of the agave (it’s used for more than making tequila) among other varied research topics. My coworkers were two desert tortoises, Patches and Puddles, who would meander into the library to visit when they were out of hibernation. Patches was so named because the staff had to patch his cracked shell for him and Puddles got her name because there was a dip in her shell and when it rained she always had a puddle on her back. I left the job when I started my family, but it remains one of my favorite library experiences.

The world of libraries is so vast and varied. When I travel, I always visit the local library because as I learned during my library career, libraries really are the hearts of their communities. I think that’s why I love writing the library lover’s series so much. It gives me a chance to celebrate libraries and the people who love them. 

So, tell me, what's your favorite library?



It's murder by the book in the latest hit Library Lover's mystery from the New York Timesbestselling author of Death in the Stacks.

When a stack of library materials is found at the scene of a hit and run, library director Lindsey Norris finds herself dragged into the investigation as the police try to link the driver of the stolen car to the person who borrowed the books. Before Lindsey can delve into the library's records, the victim of the hit and run, Theresa Houston, suffers another "accident" and the investigation shifts from driver negligence to attempted homicide.

A clue surfaces in the confiscated library materials that could crack open the case and it is up to Lindsey to piece it all together. But things are not as they seem in the sleepy town of Briar Creek and when the driver of the stolen car turns up dead, Lindsey, her staff and her library friends have to hit the books before the murderer gets the last word...

86 comments:

  1. Happy book birthday, Jenn! I’m looking forward to reading “Hitting the Books” . . . .

    Your favorite libraries sound wonderful . . . I must confess that I’ve never been in a library that I didn’t love. How can you not love a place that lets you borrow all the books you want?
    We have a tiny little branch library here in town [in a converted house] and a bigger “regular” library. But if I had to choose a “favorite,” I think I’d choose the library around the corner from our house in Los Angeles. The children were little, the library was big, and we spent lots of time there . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The childrens' area is my favorite section! I had so much fun doing story times back in the day.

      Delete
  2. Congrats on the new book. I really need to start this series. *Hangs head in shame*

    I love the downtown Santa Rosa library. It's the library I spent the most time in as a kid. It was built with funds from Carnegie, and it's just a cool older building.

    I also love the newest library here in Santa Clarita. It's got a cool design and feel to it as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've got the cupcakes covered - I forgive you ;)

      Delete
  3. Libraries are wonderful places, and I love my local one called the Cornish Library. It’s in walking distance of house, is red brick and has a gas fireplace that keeps it cozy on a cold day. And the librarians know me. We exchange info about our latest favourite book or DVD series. What’s not to love about that?!?!

    Congratulations on the publication of your book, Jenn. I am overdue to read this series. Off to rectify that today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Amanda! Book birthdays are special days!

      Delete
  4. Easy peasy - Lacordaire Academy in Upper Montclair NJ. I worked there as a student librarian under Sister Benigna when I was in high school. It was great fun, I learned the Dewey Decimal System, got to work in the library every study period, read every new book that came in, and in the year of my graduation, the school decided to redo the library and donate most of the older books. They offered me first pick of any of the books I wanted. Most were first editions from the turn of the century (1900). I cherished those books until my mother gave them to my brother and he refused to return them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was the BEST perk of library work - dibs on the new books! LOL.

      Delete
  5. Yikes, Jenn, I got so lost in memory lane - CONGRATULATIONS on your book birthday! Like Mark, I really need to start this series. I know I'll love it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am so excited about your new book!
    I love libraries! I was so lucky growing up to have my library around the corner from my house. My daddy took me to get my own library card when I turned 4. We had practiced writing my name every day when he came home from work for weeks. That was the requirement to getting a library card, signing your name. I went to the library every Friday evening to get books. By the time I was 8, I was allowed to go by myself, which was the biggest thrill! I normally went on Saturday mornings, as they opened early that day.
    I found out a few years ago that the little building the library was housed in is no longer there. The city built a new annex that is huge! I hope someday I can go back and see it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saturday morning was my most favorite day - a visit to the library and a new stack of books! Bliss.

      Delete
  7. So excited about your new book, Jenn, and happy book birthday! I love books set in libraries. I love libraries! I worked for a number of years for the Austin Public Library and continue to volunteer for the branch where I worked. Austin has a new Central Library that recently opened and it has been getting lots and lots of acclaim for the architecture and many other aspects. I'm also a person who loves to visit libraries when I travel. And bookstores too, of course. I agree that the local library often has quite the flavor of the community and you never know what you might run across - old card catalogs with actual cards in them - beautiful tapestries - fireplaces - majestic staircases. Oh, and I'm amazed about your time at the Botanical Garden. How cool! I love that place! The people that say that libraries have outlived their usefulness are so very wrong. There might be more need than ever for them. But I'm not passionate about the subject...LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I feel exactly the same. Libraries and bookstores are my comfort places.

      Delete
  8. Congratulations on the new book, Jenn! I'm still working my way through the series, so not quite ready for this one yet. But I love the series.

    I don't have a favorite library, but as others have already said, I don't think I have ever met a library I didn't like. It would be hard to overstate the impact the library had on me as a child. I grew up in a blue collar household, the child of a construction worker who dropped out in 11th grade and a homemaker with a high school diploma. But my mother loved books, and twice a week she and I would walk about a mile to the local library, where we would each check out the maximum number of books allowed. Half a week later, we would return, those books devoured, to repeat the process.

    I remember back then, there was a children's room and you were supposed to be a certain age before you were allowed to move into checking out books from the regular stacks. But the librarians made an exception for me, because there came a time when I had pretty much read everything of any interest to me in the children's room.

    When I look back on my life, I have to credit that library -- and my wonderful mother who took me there and taught me to appreciate it -- for the academic success that followed and my lifelong love of learning and most of all, of reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this, Susan. I feel like everything good in my life has happened because of libraries.

      Delete
  9. Aww. A retired librarian myself, with a varied career, I say we can never praise libraries enough.Did you ever see the ALA poster, designed by DC Comics, of Barbara Gordon, Librarian, with Barbara as Batgirl in the background? It says "Librarians Are Heroes Every Day!" Yeah. These days my favorite is the Brooklyn Collection of the Brooklyn Public Library, which is separate from the famed NY Public. I do a lot of research for my Brooklyn history-background mysteries there. Always find what I need, always find helpful staff, and they invite me to come and speak when I have a new book out! For library beauty and architecture - well, those lions in front of NYPL are famous for a reason.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoops! I got so excited, I forgot to say happy book birthday! Going to order right away.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! Oh, I love those lions! The hooligans and I visited the Bryant Park library a few years ago - it was a big moment for me. Aren't they named Patience and Fortitude? Or am I misremembering?

      Delete
    3. Yes, Patience and Fortitude. It's a beautiful building and often has interesting and free exhibits. Bryant Park, just behind, used to be a scary and dangerous. Now it's a jewel of midtown Manhattan and one of my favorite spots.

      Delete
  10. This is so fabulous, Jenn! You are such a star… And it is so wonderful to see you shining like crazy!
    Massachusetts has some gorgeous historic libraries, with incredible wood work and original fittings… Lofty ceilings and multi level rooms with twisty staircases and gorgeous windows. And I always laugh at the library in Natick, there are two of them, one of them tiny and historic —called the Bacon Free Library. I know what it really means, that is always funny.
    But my most favorite library memories are of when I was a kid… taking home the maximum number of books with the librarian smiling approvingly. Life-changing, right?
    And again— congratulations! What number book is this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I worked in one of those for a year between college and library school. Cambridge Public Library. A very Victorian, flamboyant building with definite haunted house potential. A great job with interesting people and interesting public, just a few blocks from Harvard Square.I loved it.

      Delete
    2. Oh, I’ve never been there! Definitely on my list… It sounds fabulous!

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Hank. You're lovely! I have no idea what book number this is. Math isn't my gift. LOL. But I think
      I'm closing in on book 40.

      Delete
  11. Jenn, congratulations--if only I could read as fast as you write! Adding another to my TBR pile.

    I agree about libraries being the heart of the community. I love my local library and the way the community supports it and the way they are always changing things up--re-visioning the spaces, new vestibule--new displays. Everywhere I've lived, I've made use of the local library. But my favorite? Not one, but a collection of libraries--at Ohio State. Geology, Engineering, Health Sciences, Main (which housed quiet reading rooms tucked away and stacks 12 stories high). My favorite was the old art library (since moved into the new art complex)--it was an oasis of quiet, the books in stacks that went down instead of up--hunting for a book was like descending into the netherworld--creepy and cool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, we used to have the catacombs at the old Phoenix library - so creepy, so fabulous!

      Delete
  12. Congratulations on the new book. I finished "Better Late Than Never" last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Libraries are to this day my safe haven solely because of a small branch library in Pasadena, Allendale to be specific. When I was about 7 or 8 we got a new librarian at the Allendale branch. Her name was Mrs. Stickney. She was the physical poster child for librarians, gray hair worn in a bun with unintentional wisps around her face. Every Saturday morning our family went to the library and we each got out the maximum allowed (6). Mine were of course from the children's section. I read all six every week. When I was about 9 or 10 Mrs. Stickney brokered a deal with me. I could withdraw books from the adult section, a privilege available only to those 12 and older. I had to show my selections to Mrs. Stickney and she had final say before they went home with me. Reading was the only thing that saved me from my chaotic childhood homelife. As it happens, this week I'm going to be at the Pasadena Central Library in support of a Sisters in Crime Event. I'm going to take a minute to remember Mrs. Stickney and say "thank you".

    ReplyDelete
  13. congratulations on your new release!
    When we moved from Atlanta to Cincinnati, my first stop was the local branch of the Cincinnati Hamilton County library system. Next, I found an excellent source of New Orleans blend coffee beans, and everything else fell into place.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations, Jenn!

    The library at my university was always special and I spent a LOT of time there. Red brick, terra cotta tile roof, and a noted rare book collection (Franscisan writings, including some by Duns Scotus). And a window in the back with a beautiful view where I did a lot of napping, uh, reading. =)

    The library closest to me is an original Carnegie library and it's very cute and homey.

    Mary/Liz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The city of Phoenix has an original Carnegie, too. I marvel at how forward thinking Carnegie was to give so many places a center of knowledge and learning.

      Delete
    2. Yes. It almost balances the fact that he wasn't a very nice man in business.

      Mary/Liz

      Delete
  15. Happy Book Birthday, Jenn. I lived in our tiny one room branch library as a child, but I have to admit I haven't been in one for years now, the last being the Huntington Library in Pasadena I think.

    However, by this time next week I will be visiting the Bodleian Libraries of Oxford and I will think of you https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Ann - the Huntington! "sigh".

      Delete
    2. Ann! We want a full report! Lucky you…

      Delete
    3. Oh, the Bodleian. Sigh. It's so fabulous. I got a tour, years ago, with my friend Kate Charles, who knew one of the librarians. I still have the poster of the Radcliffe Camera that I bought in the gift shop as a souvenir. You are going to have such a great time!

      Delete
    4. Packed. Hardest part of the journey.

      Delete
    5. I am disgustingly jealous. Positively, pea green. Do report back, yes?

      Delete
    6. I’ll send pictures plus reports. Stay tuned to this channel

      Delete
  16. Yay, Jenn! Congrats on the new release! My favorite library is the central branch of the Seattle Public Library, which is a gorgeous glass building designed by Rem Koolhaas. I love the librarians, and I love the role the SPL plays in the community. More than just a place to take out books, the SPL offers ELL classes, help with job searches, support to refugees and immigrants, and programs for readers of all ages. They also have a terrific writing program called "Seattle Writes," in which I've been lucky enough to teach. Libraries are a treasure trove of resources!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That library has been on my list of libraries to visit for some time. When our paths cross is Seattle, I'll buy you dinner and you can give me the tour :)

      Delete
  17. Congratulations, Jenn. I can't wait to read the new book. I've loved every library I ever worked in (even the corporate ones) or used. But my favorite has to be the library in my hometown of Avon, NY. My first job was there, as a page all through high school. The librarian saw quickly that she had a probable librarian on her hands and gave me countless opportunities to learn about her job -- I owe my career to Mrs. Freiberger. After a few decades away, I'm back in Avon and am happy to serve as a trustee at this wonderful small town library. Libraries are vital to their communities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You came full circle, Christine, how wonderful. That warms my heart. :)

      Delete
  18. Happy Book Birthday, Jenn! I thought I was all caught up on your library series but it seems I may have missed a book or two. That will soon be rectified!

    I grew up going to the Ferguson Library in Stamford CT. In my younger years I mostly went to their bookmobile, which came to my neighborhood once a week. An older girl in our neighborhood recommended books to me that she loved, and I will always be grateful to her. And it was one of the bookmobile librarians who recognized that I should be allowed to start borrowing non-children’s books.

    As a child I attended after-school programs at the main library, which might be one reason that I think of libraries as “fun” places.

    From the early eighties to the mid nineties I had a job that required me to be on the road in CT, mostly in Fairfield and New Haven counties. I often spent lunch breaks in the local library, and nearly always borrowed books from them. The public library in Trumbull had an especially good mystery collection.

    Other CT libraries I especially like, in no particular order, are the Bridgeport public library, the Monroe public library, the Greenwich public library, the Easton public library. The two libraries I go to now (and love) are Case Memorial library in Orange, and the Milford public library. I volunteer at the Milford library as a “Greeter”. One of my favorite things to do is watch children come in with their parents and then break away from them, exclaiming “books!” My favorite child is a little girl who cries when it’s time to go home: “ I don’t want to leave the books! Can I sleep here, and be with the books?” She smiled when I told her I feel the same way!

    Thanks to all the librarians I have ever met!

    DebRo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love this. CT is rife with awesome libraries. That little girl is going to be a librarian one day, I just know it.

      Delete
  19. Congratulations, Jenn! Can't wait to read this!!
    My all time favorite library is Trinity College in Dublin... it looks like Hogwarts (really) with super-tall bookcases, books are in categories, shelved by SIZE (Tallest at the bottom)
    Closer to home I love the older part of the Boston Public Library (courtyard, meeting rooms); the fabulous Richardson-designed Ames Free Library in Easton (the staff is SO welcoming and knowledgable)' the Seattle public library (designed by Rem Koolhaus), and my own brilliantly updated local library in Milton, MA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When my husband and I were in Boston last year, I walked to the Boston Public Library and took a lot of pictures. I was completely fascinated with the older part, but I liked the new part too. Talked with some of the library staff and had a wonderful time.

      Delete
    2. My head it trying to wrap around shelving by size. OMG! But Dublin - of course, it's amazing. *sigh*

      Delete
  20. Congrats, Jenn! We have a lovely 1900 library in our town, but it is in desperate need of a modern addition. There's no elevator to the second floor and so on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YIKES! I bet the librarians are fit from running upend down the stairs.

      Delete
  21. Congratulations on your publication day!

    I love libraries, who doesn't? Unfortunately, the library in our city in southern California was lousy, they remodeled and removed 60% of the nooks and put in teen meeting rooms, computer stations and conference areas. Obviously didn't think the patrons wanted to read books.

    BUT, here in Portland, the Multnomah County library system, is fabulous. Such as large, far-ranging collection, plus we have access to both adjacent counties, Clakamas and Washington, so it's rare a book isn't there somewhere. Jenn, I'm sure yours will show up soon. Looking forward to reading it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rick! That library does sound fabulous!

      Delete
  22. Growing up I don’t remember going to the library at all but we did get to go to the bookmobile. We lived out in the country, and since I have 6 siblings I’m sure we didn’t go very many places. Luckily my mom (and her mom, too!) loved to read so she did pack us up and took us to the bookmobile. Now I live in the country again, and go to 2 libraries: Plymouth Public Library and Bremen Public Library. Love them both! And happy book birthday, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I love book mobiles. In another life, that's my dream job.

      Delete
  23. Happy pub day, Jenn! I too love the library at Trinity in Dublin, but the Library of Congress blew me away. So beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, library of Congress! I was just there, and it’s just breathtaking.

      Delete
    2. Library of Congress is spectacular. Clearly, I need to see the Trinity Library. Road trip!

      Delete
  24. Congratulations Jenn! I've never met a library I didn't like. School, county, city. Whatever library is available is my favorite at any time. Whenever we have moved one of the first things I do is get a library card.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too! At one point I had 5 for all of the different libraries i was using.

      Delete
  25. Congratulations Jenn! I've never met a library I didn't like. School, county, city. Whatever library is available is my favorite at any time. Whenever we have moved one of the first things I do is get a library card.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Congratulations, Jenn!!! I can't wait to read Hitting the Books! For favorite ever libraries, I would have to include the Bodleian, as I mentioned above after Ann's comment. Also, I am now a card-carrying patron of the British Library, and it is as fabulous as you would imagine. I love the main branch of the Dallas Library, where I've spent many wonderful hours, including seeing PD James speak for the first time. But the library of my heart is probably the Dallas branch library where I was volunteering when my daughter was small. It was while I was working there that I started my first novel. Sadly, that branch was razed to make room for a new supermarket, and I've never been to the building that replaced it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the Bodleian - that's on my list of places to see, for sure. So jealous!

      Delete
  27. Such fun to read all of these! I love your library memories and favorites… Keep them coming!

    ReplyDelete
  28. As a child growing up in the far north of Canada, my my two room school had a small Library. One year, the principal, my dad, ordered the whole Scholastic catalog, over 1,000 books and that kept me busy over the next year. When we moved South to a small town north of Toronto, our local library, built with help from the Carnegie Foundation was my refuge and my favorite place. I discovered many authors including Nevil Shute, Marion Zimmer Bradley and John Steinbeck. I now live within walking distance of my local in Barrie Ontario which is a vibrant and diverse space. It has a wonderful rooftop garden and offers concerts and special events on a regular basis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had no idea Carnegie ventured into Canada. Fascinating. I think I'm going to need to read a biography on him.That's wonderful!

      Delete
  29. Jenn! Happy Publication Day! I love your Hat Shop series and I look forward to your new Hitting the Books novel. I enjoyed reading about your library experiences. My favorite library would be the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
  30. Happy Publication Day, Jenn! I loved going to the library when I was a little kid, but have not visited great libraries of the world, like Bodleian or even the Folger, as an adult. I genuinely loved the Ash Grove, Missouri, library I used to visit as a kid. It was the closest library to the tiny town where I lived, and my mother, who hated to drive "in traffic" (by Dallas standards there is no traffic in rural Missouri, but another car meant "traffic" to her) found we could get there on a lovely dirt back road with great scenery, and very few other cars. For a tiny library, the shelves were filled with fantasy and adventure and mystery and everything else an avid young reader would like. It was one of the highlights of growing up in an otherwise pretty boring backwater.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gigi! I grew up in a small town, too, and I remember badgering my librarian for every book about girl pirates ever written. Poor woman, looking back I'm sure I drove her nuts. LOL.

      Delete
  31. My favorite library is the McCormick branch of our county system because it is in an old mansion, and was the first library other than school that I went to. I did get books from the children's room but later went with my dad and got books on his card. When I worked I picked up books there on my lunch hour. Now I'm retired I pick up books that I order, including your new book, from the Kline Branch which is closer and has more parking. When I was a child, everyone used to say I should be a librarian but I never saw how I could be among all those books and not read them. Like a chocoholic in a candy store!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - Sally, I used to read on the sly when I was a librarian ;)

      Delete
  32. Congrats Jenn! I love the library where I grew up. It was in a little park & my cousin & I spent a number of summer afternoons reading under the trees. I also like to visit libraries when I travel. In college I visited the Trinity Library in Dublin. It was amazing to see all those really old books in person.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Memories from my childhood are few but a distinct one is of "my" library in Belle Vernon, PA, and getting my library card when I was 8. Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames were favorites. Fast forward to my retirement. I started volunteering at the Cary, NC, library and then was offered a job there. My husband asked me what my position was and I said page. His reply..."I thought you'd be at least a chapter!".

    Congratulations on your new book.

    ReplyDelete