What’s not to like a place where you can find free books, new magazines, and a cozy chair in which to read them, far removed from the distractions of your daily life?
I’m talking about your local library. I’m very sentimental about mine and have been ever since my kids were little. During the dog days of summer, the library was an oasis for me. I’d bring my bored, restless toddlers in for story time in the fabulously air-conditioned space. We’d peruse the shelves and find some new children’s books and DVDs to take home for the week. And then I’d swing into the fiction section to pick out a few titles for myself so I’d have an excuse not to fold laundry during the kids’ naptimes. For me, the library became a special place that offered me a connection with my community when I was a frazzled new mom.
But for many people, a library is much more than that. For suspense author Karin Slaughter and others who grew up in underprivileged households, libraries were more than a luxury–they were a lifeline. “A library is the beating heart of any community,” Slaughter tells International Thriller Writers webzine, The Big Thrill.
Slaughter and others are spearheading a project called Save The Libraries and they have a startling message to share: For 85 percent of kids living in rural America, the only place to access books or technology outside the classroom is the public library. And meanwhile, libraries today are suffering as municipalities and charities alike tighten their belts.
March 12 marks the kickoff event for the project, which has the backing of many popular suspense authors, including Lee Child, Iris Johansen, and Lisa Scottoline. The first event benefits the DeKalb County Public Library in Georgia and an event in June benefits the Boston Public Library system. The hope is to spread the effort to communities across the country whose libraries are having to layoff staff and shrink collections due to money shortages. International Thriller Writers and other groups are supporting the effort, and the eventual goal is to host events that will raise money for libraries all across America.
If you’d like to help, just leave a comment today on the blog about the library in your life–could be past or present. For every commenter today, I will make a $1 donation to Save The Libraries. So comment! Pass the word! Tweet it from the rooftops! Let’s help those libraries!
In the words of Lisa Scottoline, “A library is the home for the imagination.”