Hello, this is Adair Heitmann again writing to you. Oh how I wish that I had twenty pages of space and that you had all the time in the world to read them. That describes the volumes I want to write about libraries. As a child I was overwhelmed and I must confess bored by libraries. The Dewy Decimal System was not written in my language, and the buildings were gray, dark, and lifeless. I had to stifle my sense of fear whenever I asked the Reference Librarian a question because I was supposed to already know the answer. You may ask, what changed all this? Libraries changed. The institution of public libraries transformed with the times and we were finally on the same page. I also believe that Librarians themselves have changed. Have you noticed that many are now hipper? Snazzier? Funnier?
It was the “Winter Words” Writing Conference at this library that lured me into the main library for the first time. Then it was all the technology classes that the library gave for free, and then it was all the programs for job seekers. Other libraries held their own, I learned about blogging at one and how to find a literary agent at another. I heard Frank McCourt and Jean Fritz speak at another and oh joy . . . my family and I belong to a Family Book Club reading the classics at another. (My favorite is Call of the Wild by Jack London).
As a writer who researches, I have been known to leave a library, smiling, with 14 books under my arm. As a memoirist it could be a collection of inspiring authors, or as a writing critique group facilitator it could be a score of books about how to lead writing groups. On Earth Day and every day I believe in being green. Why purchase all those books when I can borrow them? I am helping myself and saving the planet at the same time.
Oh . . . and have I mentioned that as a writer the most important thing I do is read? On holiday weekends it is me behind those Foster Grants carrying my pile of books into the car, as I anticipate exhaling, in my easy chair at home, reading for pleasure.
So, here is my song to libraries and librarians everywhere. You have played a substantial role in my personal and professional lives. You have helped me to not only become who I have been, but who I am becoming. Thank you.