How Do I Love My Local Library? Let Me Count the Ways

I've had this post in my draft folders for months, and this morning, an email from my local library prompted me to take a look, revise it, get it out there. 

I love libraries, have since I was a kid. When your dad's an educator, there's a good chance you'll spend quality time in your local library, and a good chunk of my childhood was spent in my hometown's lush archives, a historic building that fits the very image of a classic, small-town library.  

I think I got my first library card—pre-digital—roughly around kindergarten. And it got used—hard. A lot of after school hours got spent in the A.K. Smiley Public Library, and I developed a lot of literary loves there—from my still-beloved Dr. Seuss and onward, through those awkward "I love every book with horses" years to Hemingway and Austen, and then Wolfe and Leonard.

In the first weeks after Interlude Press launched, it received a note from a Tumblr-based reader who said she couldn't afford to buy all the books, but had put in a request to her local library. Ends up, it resulted in the very first order IP received from a library—the Carnegie Library, which ordered copies of AJ DeWall's Forever Man.

Since then, a lot of people have asked their local libraries to stock IP books. Lilah Suzanne's Pivot and Slip has taken up residence at the Harvard Library. Sotto Voce is in the Los Angeles Central Library, a personal thrill, because in the not-too-distant past, I looked out on that gorgeous building on a daily basis.

But this morning, I found out that my current local library—a modern steel-and-glass building alongside a performing arts center—had ordered my book, at a reader's request. And for me, that's something special. It's not the biggest library in the world, but it's my current home base for books, and for relocating when I need to pack up my laptop and get a change of scenery. Maybe people will read it. Maybe they won't. But it's there, and available, and I've got a big grin on my face.

So here's my pitch, as a kid who got her first library card at age six: If you want to read an IP book but are strapped for but are strapped for cash, head down to your local library (or its web site). And while you're there, fill out a request for asking them to order the books you'd like to read. If there's one thing we learned at the American Library Association convention, it's that librarians are looking to diversify their collections—and they're open to your suggestions.