Posts Tagged 'library'

More library love

I am such a soft touch.

My husband can tell you. I cry when the confetti comes down on the winner of American Idol, and I cry when someone wins a car on The Price is Right. I cry at the end of The Muppet Movie when Kermit sings the reprise to “Rainbow Connection.” It’s something about happiness and love and people having their dreams fulfilled.

And because I love libraries, and their stories, so much, Heather McCormack’s post about the publisher-library connection struck me as sweet and wonderful and made me tear up.

Libraries, as Heather says, are an integral part of the “reading ecosystem,”

a gorgeous little loop that leads to innumerable sales and circs that no one’s bothered to measure.

Library patrons are book buyers. They feed the cycle with their passion for stories, knowledge and information. Heather, in talking about one particular patron, says

This is just one story, but I bet you know five people who know five people who have used a library, then shopped in a bookstore, then gone back to a library before returning to a bricks-and-mortar or Amazon. And so on and so forth it goes…

And if you like sharing library memories, don’t miss the continuation of library week over at The New Sleekness with posts from Shayera Tingri and Kassia Krozser.

If you have other library links, please share them!

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My first library

coleman
The building that once housed Coleman Library.

I love library stories.

In the same way that I love birth stories and love stories.

So I was delighted to see Kate Rados’ little post about libraries, with an accompanying cute picture.

I commented–about my memories of yummy musty book smells and the wonderful sound of the card-stamping machine–but then couldn’t get the library thing out of my head.

So I looked up images of my first library, Coleman, which was funded by the Callaway Foundation.

The library wasn’t public. It was, actually, overtly racist–a fact I didn’t fully understand until I was in high school. (As a private library they could keep out anyone they wanted, they said, even in the 1980s.)

But before I knew about race and segregation, when I was just learning to read, this library was the most magical place I had ever known.

As if to prove its magical abilities, one afternoon as my grandfather and I walked outside, rain came down on one side of the building while the sun shone on the other. The library was the dividing line of the universe.

All the knowledge in the world, good and bad, up for grabs.

I loved that place.

If you have a library story, head over to Kate’s post and share it in the comments.

[Update, 4/29/10: I changed shined to shone, yo. Because when re-reading I knew something wasn’t right.]

In praise of tolerant mothers and romance novels

[Author’s Note: I did a guest post on the Harlequin Blog this week. In honor of National Womens’ Month, which coincides with Women’s History Month, the blog editors asked contributors to write about the role of romance novels in their lives.

The broad topic led to some interesting musings from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books’ Sarah, Dear Author’s Jane, and two other editors in the NY office, with more posts to come. You can read all of the posts on this topic by clicking here.

Olga, the blog’s editor, subtitled my post “On Why Sneaking Romances is Alright.” But I’m cross-posting it here with a new title because even though my mom put up with my teenage sneaking around, I don’t think she would ever agree that sneaking around is okay! (Right, Mom?) And, she probably would not agree that romance novels are good reading…but moms can’t be right ALL the time. 😉]

Reading romance made me the person I am today.

Just ask my mother.

The other day, she gave my sister, a mother of three, some words of wisdom that were both warning and advice: Monitor your children’s books, because you never know what reading can lead to.

Books, and romance novels, are powerful like that. They can make you see the world in a different way.

Robyn Carr’s medieval romances inspired me to infiltrate the adult section of the library before I was nine. Scarlett and Gone With the Wind made me believe that if I spoke my mind and everyone disagreed with me, it would somehow turn out okay in the end. Reading the Caitlin series gave me a yearning to see New York City, where I now live, and taste cappuccino in a real café, way back before Starbucks. And Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale showed me that loving a man for who he is, instead of accepting who family and neighbors believe him to be, can create the foundation for a 16-years-and-going-strong marriage.

I am thankful every day that my mom taught me to read, took me to the library and let me loose in the stacks. And I’m also thankful she didn’t complain too much when she caught me sneaking around with those clinch covers, letting romance novels have their way with me.

Do you love reading or do you love books?

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I listened to a fascinating report by “On the Media” about the status and future of book publishing.

Colin Robinson, of OR Books, claimed that now was a terrible time to be a reader:

…there is a huge overproduction of titles….if you give people a choice between a hundred things, that’s a real choice. If you give them a choice between half a million things, it’s no choice at all.

But Michael Cader, of Publishers Marketplace, argued the exact opposite:

For a reader, it’s boom times. There are more options. There’s price competition, there’s format competition. There’s new ways to read. You can get things delivered faster. They’re accessible online. There’s more voices, there’s more communities to serve you. So for readers, it’s terrific.

Is it possible for them both to be right?

As a reader, I want my books to be entertaining, enlightening and/or well-written. With traditionally published books, there is no guarantee that I will love a book. But there is an implied promise of quality, since the publisher invested time and money in the product. Hopefully, they will want each book to be good enough that I will come back for more. There may be no such promises with self-published titles, and more books in a crowded marketplace might very well make it harder to find the ones I will enjoy.

Maybe. But I’m not fully convinced.

There are always more books I’d like to read than ones I will have time to read. And I’m not one to plunk down large sums of money for the pleasure of one single story. I visit the library, the used bookstore, and read online. I find the price competition of a crowded market appealing.

Also, I like choosing for myself what makes a good read. Take this example. When the author of a blog I like put her self-published book up for sale, I bought it. I knew from reading the blog that I would enjoy her writing. In this case, my interest and my RSS feed made pretty good filters.

But then Brooke Gladstone moved on to this question: Do you love reading or do you love books?

Picking one or the other is almost like a mother admitting she has a favorite child.

If I think about browsing a bookstore, or the many books that litter my small apartment, or the smell of old pages mixed with a summer breeze coming through the window…I’m tempted to fall on the side of books.

But then I manage to be honest with myself. I do nearly half my reading online or on my laptop. I gobble up stories in various formats, some of which look nothing like books. I borrow more books than I buy, and I add very few books to my keeper shelf. In practice, I’m format-agnostic.

I like physical books because they are convenient.

But my love is reading.

So give me print books and digital books. Traditionally published books and self-published books. E-books and video books and enriched books.

I’ll take content in as many ways as I can get it, as long as the story is good.


DISCLAIMER

I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
my book shelf:
Stacy Boyd's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)
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