Do you remember your elementary school library? I can picture it clearly, and the once-a-week library hours were some of my favorite times as a student. It was one large room with bookshelves from floor to ceiling on the sides of the room. In the back, under the windows, were the picture books like this one. On the left side were the chapter books, on the right side biographies and nonfiction. Every week a mom would volunteer to be the librarian and read a book to us. It was a squirmingly proud time when my precious mother would be the librarian.
My friend Rachael and I competed to see how many books we could read in a week. In 4th and 5th grade we loved the biography section because there was an entire series of books on girls who turned into famous women. Maybe that was the start of my desire to be someone, do something with my life? We read bios on Marie Curie, Maria Mitchell, Pocahontas, Sacagawea, Clara Barton, Hawaiian princess Kaʻiulani, and many others and acted them out at recess and with our dolls at home. I know I read a variety of books from that tiny library – but that series is the one that stuck with me the longest. I think that tiny library in Ragersville elementary school began my love for libraries. I served as an aid in the high school library, then at Otterbein Collage my work study was as a library aid. After college I worked for six months at the Tuscarawas County Library before moving on to better paying desktop publishing job. We have a tiny library here in Pataskala, and I’ve read much of the fantasy fiction they offer so don’t go to the library as much as I used to – but I still love to wander in and go through the stacks and seeing those awesome tall bookcases. I’ll be doing a program and book signing at my parent’s library in Dover in September, after my second book comes out. I'm not a children's book writer - so I won't be in the Ragersville library - but the head of the Dover library told me Desert Rising is in the Dover stacks, ready for a girl like my teenage self to fall in love with feli and imagine herself in a distant land.