Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Heart Libraries! (And Librarians!)

It's Library Appreciation week, and the marvelous Shelli Johannes-Wells over at Market My Words had the uber-marvelous idea for a group of authors to share their favorite library/librarian stories. Where do I even begin?! I grew up in libraries, thanks to a book-loving mom who "tricked" me into reading all the Newbery and Caldecott books by telling me that the books with stickers on them were the "very best." Most of Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different and Selling Hope were written in libraries (The Brentwood Library and The Williamson County Library, respectively). I find working in libraries both peaceful and inspirational. (Smell those books? Ahhhh!) And since the release of Autumn, I've had the pleasure of meeting some of the coolest librarians in the state, including Ms. Lindsey Wesson, who works for the Tennessee State Library, and Ms. Missy Dillingham, who works for the Brentwood Library. Both ladies are funny and smart and they love their jobs - just like you'd imagine a librarian being.

But the librarian who influenced me the most is Ms. Sheila Rollins, the librarian at City Park Elementary School where I grew up, in Athens, TN. She had a wonderful program: any student who read three of an author's books and did book reports on them could then interview that author by telephone! The author I chose?

Madeleine L'Engle! I remember two things about this experience:
1. The interview was conducted over a speakerphone. Wowza! All you had to do was talk, and the other person could hear you! Tres high tech. Very Charlie's Angels.
2. When I told Ms. L'Engle that I, too, wanted to be a writer, she responded, "Good for you! Keep reading and you can do it!"

Needless to say, that interview changed the path of my life. Thank you, Ms. Rollins, for your dedication to your students!

Save the Libraries!