We Love Libraries!

Happy National Library Week!

I had an impressive tour of the Santa Cruz library last week, from check-in to donations collection. I’ve also had a haul of books from the university library, building blocks for the story I’m working on. Both reminded me how much I love and depend on libraries.

Don’t go to your local library much? Browse around here to see what you might find there.

Banned author John Grisham is this year’s honorary chair. ( I don’t indulge much in author envy, but boy, that is one job I would love to have. ) What: Grisham, banned? Read about it here—and then add the library blog to your regular-read list.

And to celebrate the spirit of the library at its highest reaches, I give you the Bodleian, an illustrated history, here.  And an interview with Bodley’s Librarian (another envy-inspiring job—filled by a remarkable woman, Sarah Thomas, thanks to Merrily for introducing us!) here.  As you read and listen, think of Mary Russell, perusing the Bodley shelves.

But until I’m asked to chair National Library Week, I do what I can to thank the libraries that shaped my mind and continue to shape my work. This year, I have a dozen copies each of several books that I’m happy to donate to libraries that run book groups. If you send me the name of your favorite library and a contact email there, we’ll draw the names of three libraries and see which collection they’d like for their readers. The email is info[at]laurierking.com (thanks to my spamming brothers, you’ll need to substitute an @ for the [at] when you send it.)

And don’t forget to thank a librarian today!

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  1. Merrily Taylor on April 11, 2011 at 9:18 am

    So glad you enjoyed your tour of the Bodleian and got to know Sarah. She and I were young librarians together once upon a time! And librarians hug you back, it’s good to have authors who not only produce the books we love, but who recognize the importance of libraries in preserving what you write for the enjoyment of future generations, in addition to making things available today.

  2. Carina on April 11, 2011 at 9:20 am

    In fact, you´re saying what I´ve alwaya asserted, librarians are the nicest people ever.
    Wherever I move, I make a bee-line to the nearest local library to find a new home-from-home.
    As for bee-lines, I attended my bee-keeping course at the local library.You´ll never know what a visit to these inspiring places can lead up to!

  3. TheMadLibrarian on April 11, 2011 at 10:22 am

    You got a picture of Duke Humfrey’s original library! I am ‘scruciatingly jealous — I asked permission and was regretfully told no. I loved the barrel vault architecture, the illustrated ceiling, and the chained books! It was a lovely tour, and I am very grateful to the Bodleian staff for the behind the scenes look.

  4. annie on April 11, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I am back in my native village for a little while. My parents took me to the library, in a beautiful old stone building before I can remember. I do remember sitting on the floor in the children’s section, reading, whilst they chose their books. It was there, looking at a child’s version of The Odyssey that I first remember the “I can’t wait to find out what happens next” feeling.
    My village is now a small town and has a modern library that I have joined. Last week, a throng of children from the local school were being shown how to use the library; some, like me at their age, were already proud members.
    I brought my children up in Luton, which has one of the UK’s finest children’s libraries (and where Ms. King visited last year)
    I have never been able to visit the Bodleian (not an academic) but I did do some training at the world-famous Tavistock Insitute which has first editions of Freud, Bowlby, Jung and others famous in the field of psychology. Sitting working in there, you could feel them all around……

    I couldn’t open the Grisham link, so don’t know about his banning. Luton had a system called “reserve stock” where books that might cause offence if inadvertently picked up, were kept so they could be requested. Not ideal for either the banners or the libertarians, but a working compromise.

  5. strawberry curls on April 11, 2011 at 10:43 am

    The highlight of a visit to Oxford in 2009 was the tour of the Bodleian my good friend and traveling companion, Merrily, organized. We didn’t get to see Sarah Thomas, she was out of town, but we did have a very comprehensive tour of the Bodley. What a thrill to see the Duke Humfrey Library (no picture taking allowed, growled the guard) and to walk through the tunnel connecting the old and new libraries. I’ll never forget it.


  6. Linette on April 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    When I visited Oxford last year, I made sure to stop at the Bodleian, thanks to your mentions. Gorgeous, and I still can’t quite grasp just how many books it contains (above and below).

  7. Sara on April 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Oh my gosh, is that room available to live in? Because I would gladly take up residence and, you know, just….read there.

  8. Tim H. on April 12, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Allow me to put in a good word for my local library, Mid-Continent Public Library. The buildings are somewhat less magnificent than the Bodleian, but they have books and a helpful staff.

  9. Laraine on April 16, 2011 at 11:04 am

    The link doesn’t work for some reason, but googling ‘Grisham banned books’ brought up the same site with a longer URL, that did work.

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