At first, I didn’t think too much about it. I received an email from Jen, the Director of our local public library, congratulating me. One of the two novels I released in 2021, The Last Piece, was their most circulated book in adult fiction for 2022. Given that I’m a local author in a small city, I figured that seemed reasonable. I thanked Jen and forgot about it.
A few days later, I received a call from Randy at our local radio station. He’d gotten wind of the book’s status while covering a council meeting as they reviewed the library’s annual report. Would I be interested in discussing with him on air the value of public libraries?
You bet! I’m a huge fan of libraries in general and ours in particular. It’s an easy subject to talk about. I think whoever invented the public library deserves a special reward in heaven.
As we chatted through the interview, Randy helped me realize the significance of my book being the top-circulating one. Our library offers all the bestsellers from big-name authors in addition to many unknowns like me. Books can be checked out for up to three weeks. If everyone kept it that long, a book could circulate through 17 patrons in a year. The Last Piece circulated 20 times.
For this to happen speaks far more about our community than it does about me or my book. It shows me people who support each other. We encourage folks to “shop local, keep the money circulating in the community.” This is much like that, it’s just books instead of money. People ask me if I mind readers borrowing my books for free instead of buying them. I suppose I could view it as lost sales, but guess what? Ninety percent of the books I read are borrowed from the library! How dare I complain?
British Children’s Author, Icona, says, “I love public libraries because they are built on the principle that books are so important and so necessary to human flourishing that access to them cannot depend on your income.”
|Inside the Portage la Prairie Regional Library|
I couldn’t agree more. I treasure sweet memories of taking my three children to our library. They’d each pick out their limit of three (that limit no longer exists) and we’d read them over and over until our next visit. Now, my kids take their kids to libraries in their respective communities. There’s no more economical way to instill the love of reading in your children. Library cards are free, and I can’t imagine why anybody wouldn’t want one. February is “I Love to Read” month, so now’s the time to join!
Our library has come a long way. Besides print books, they offer audiobooks, eBooks, videos, internet and computer use, special events, and more. If they don’t have the book you want, they can usually obtain it for you through the interlibrary loan service.
As an author, I’ve been blown away by the support from our library, whether researching a novel or promoting and hosting a book launch. I’d be lost (and extremely broke!) without them. God bless all the staff and volunteers, and thanks for the awesome service!
If you’re reading this and you are one of the 20 who checked out The Last Piece in 2022, thank you from the bottom of my heart!