My Library Visit

From 11 to 3 I sat with a display of my books in our little town's branch library. It's only open a couple of days a week because the librarian also works in another small town's branch library on alternate days.

The library itself only has three rooms. The main room with the librarian's desk and the children's section and two computers for the public's use. The room I was in had two two-sided book stacks, and books lining the walls, plus another wall with magazines and a stand with paperbacks. The third room is a small meeting room. Of course there were two restrooms, and a supply closet.

I sat at one of the two tables in the room I was in.

The occasion was marking the 100 year anniversary of the Tulare County Library system.

In the morning while I was there, a day care group walked over from their day care. A popular local folk singer, Patti Torrey, came with her guitar and enchanted the kids with some great songs--some they had to chime in with songs. This was all done in the larger main room.

Some background about the physical location of this library. The town I live in is small and has no local government. It is located in the foothills on the way to the mountains. On the way outside of town is an older complex that once was a TB sanitarium. It has now been turned into low-income housing and many of the people who live here are poor senior citizens and younger people who are on disability or social security because of mental disabilities or health problems. The library is one of the little buildings at the front of the complex.

Because I knew that most of the people who would come into the library probably wouldn't have any money, I only brought a few copies of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree books, set in a place like Springville, and a fictional family saga of the first people who settled in Springville called Two Ways West.

The first person to come see me was a friend from church who is also a friend on Facebook. We had a nice chat.

Next a most interesting fellow came and talked to me about my books and different murders that had occurred in or around Springville. There've been three. I've used aspects of one in two of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree books. (Later that evening, my daughter-in-law, who came along to help me, said she watched that fellow swipe and book and head out the door with it.)

Another man, who'd brought his two teenagers in to use the computers, sat down and told me about several murders that he'd known about when he worked in the L.A. area.

The librarian bought one of my Two Ways West books as did another woman. (Before I let, I gave the library my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree book, Dispel the Mist.

A woman who has been collecting my books for years came in with a list of the books I've written that she still needed and she bought a copy of Dispel the Mist.

I had a great chat about politics with another woman, visited with a gal who knew my sister, and finally, sold another Dispel the Mist to a young woman who'd once been in a writing class I taught years ago.

Right after I arrived, a homeless man with a huge back pack with sleeping bag, rolled up foam pad, clothes rolled up all over the pack, and many, many sacks came and plopped his belongings down on a chair at the other table. He spent most of his time at the end of one of the stacks reading and sometimes sleeping--and eating cookies and drinking punch and bottled water that were being served. I learned he'd also been at the open house at the other library where the librarian worked the day before, which meant he'd walked the many miles on the country road from that town to get to ours.

Selling four books wasn't too bad for that teeny library. And I must say it was an interesting day to study a lot of quaint characters, many I didn't mention--and I had some great conversations.

And that's the kind of thing I do when I'm not busy writing.



Jackie Vick said…
Jeepers. Kind of scary how many people have murder stories! I know of someone who escaped John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer. And I know someone else who's sister, a nun, was murdered by one of the lovely dictators in South America. I guess we can all come up with crime connections if we think hard enough!
It would've been even scarier if you could've seen some of these people. Tee hee!


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