Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to talk about why libraries are so important to her.
The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.
Avid readers often like to read books set in libraries and bookstores. That is our hunting ground, our territory, our happy place. Especially libraries. The first time we see rows and rows of books to borrow, we want to read all of them.
Recently I’ve enjoyed several fiction books set in real libraries. Among these are The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles; The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murry; and The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis.
I discovered the school library when I was seven. However, I wanted to read books at the 12-year-old level and the librarian wouldn’t let me. So, every day I took the book off the shelf and read it at the table in front of her to prove a point.
It was the bookmobile that saved me. Every two weeks I would drag my friend so we could check out the maximum number of books, then share them. My mother thought chores were more important than reading. I had to find places to hide in order to devour books. Sometimes she took my books away as punishment. Can you imagine doing that to a kid?
Many children have been rescued by librarians. In 1905, women’s groups created bookmobiles. During the Depression, librarians in Kentucky mounted horses to bring books to rural children in the Appalachians. Andrew Carnegie donated $55 million dollars to build 2,500 libraries across America. One of his libraries is in close-by Hanford, CA. In 1912 he gave $12,500 to build it. While it’s a historical site and museum, upkeep has been a recent problem.
I stopped going to the library when I was able to afford books. But when I moved to my small hometown, the closest bookstore was 40 miles away. Luckily, I fell in with the library crowd. I helped put on and participate in book events. When Reference Librarian Sherman Lee showed me how to request books via computer, my world opened up. I could get books from all over the San Joaquin Valley. I got a little crazy with it during Covid. One day I went to pick up my latest requests and there were 22 books waiting for me.
The Lemoore Library doesn’t have Marian the Librarian from The Music Man, but we do have Rosemary. She knows me well by now and simply walks to the shelf to retrieve the books when I walk through the door. Our faces light up like my reading addiction is a secret between us.
Reading The Midnight Library fed into a fantasy I have about the afterlife. Matt Haig creates a library in limbo. Somewhere between life and death, a woman makes a pit stop at a strange library filled endlessly with books of alternative life choices. She is transported to lives she might have lived and finds life is not idyllic in any of them.
My personal fantasy is that heaven will be a massive library where I can spend eternity reading. All my cats will be there as well. Cats and Books—the afterlife is good!