If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More than Books

“When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.” Rita Mae Brown

Recently, I received the following email: “Thanks to an increase to the library budget by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the library will be able to increase its hours in the fall.” I did a double take. A budget increase for the library? Extended hours for all 23 branches? I checked my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fools’ Day. For years I had received emails about cutbacks in library staff, reduced hours and threats to eliminate several library branches. This news was a welcome surprise.

I was especially thrilled since I know the impact libraries can have on people. Years ago, in my Southern California neighborhood, there was a homeless woman who lived out of her car. I’ll never forget the rusted and dented golden-colored station wagon with its missing hubcaps. The interior was piled so high with clothes and boxes that I’m sure she couldn’t see out the back window.

One morning on my way to work I noticed the car parked in front of the library. I saw an older, rather worn out looking woman standing outside perhaps waiting for the doors to open. When I returned in the evening, her car was still parked there. Maybe she needed a safe, cool place to spend the day.

After that, I saw her “home” parked in front of the library every day and she became a fixture in the neighborhood. Employees in nearby government buildings began talking to Mary and told me that she was studying for the General Education Development exam (GED) to receive the equivalent of a high school diploma. They encouraged and cheered her on to her goal. I hoped that she would be able to follow through and receive it but secretly doubted she could overcome all the obstacles of her homeless lifestyle.

A year later, there was anticipation and excited buzz in the neighborhood as Mary prepared to take the GED. On test day everyone held their breath. Could she do it? A few weeks later Mary found out she had passed. A large “hurrah” went up. Everyone was proud and touched.

After that I didn’t see Mary’s car parked on the street and don’t know what happened to this amazing woman. I want to believe that she found a job and had a real home in a safe neighborhood near a library. I do know that her courage and fortitude inspired many of us who were facing setbacks while pursuing our dreams to never give up. Eventually, I went back for my master’s degree while working full time in part because of Mary’s example.

And it all started with a library open to everyone and one determined woman.

Has your library suffered budget cuts?


E. B. Davis said...

Yes, I usually suggest titles to our librarian, but the page now warns that the budget is stretched so not to expect much response.

I bet those "increases" you are hearing about aren't really increases. They're restoring money and hours that were cut when the financial crisis struck the county, resulting from decreased property taxes.

Loved the story. She must have been one smart lady not to let circumstance stop her.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Kara, what a great story! Mary was certainly an inspiration. Sadly, more and more women and families have fallen in that homeless pit out of which it's so hard to climb.

Our library system was having budgets slashed and cutting back on hours before the financial crisis hit. I remember when I was a kid and the library was my sanctuary. Now in our city, libraries open 10-5 on Saturdays and 1-5 on Sundays. Some have a day a week closed.

There are few places for young people to meet friends and chat evenings and weekends while being safe. The libraries were one. My friends and I used to gather there and read and share books, etc. Now, where will they go?

Warren Bull said...

It makes great sense in economically troubled times to increase the hours of libraries. One thing I did as a psychologist was to help a man released after serving his time in prison to get his library card back. Reading in prison helped him pass the time and imagine a future outside the institution. He was really happy to be able to use the library "back in the world."

Kara Cerise said...

I think that’s right, E.B., that the “increases” are restoring hours that were cut. But whatever the motive, I’m happy about it. However, not everyone is pleased with the decision because they believe that there are better ways the money can be spent.

You raise a good question, Linda. Where do young people hang out that is safe if they don’t have libraries? My friends and I went to libraries when we were young, too, not only for the books but because they held fun events.

Warren, that’s very inspirational to hear how reading can help people (especially those who aren’t able to be in the world for whatever reason) imagine a different and better future.

Gloria Alden said...

What a touching story. I heard a commentator on NPR the other day, who was saying homelessness was up, but at the same time there's a rush to demolish empty houses. He said it didn't make sense. It is a strange world, isn't it?

Our local libraries also cut back hours a few years ago eliminating one day a week and shortening other days. I'm not sure if they've restored any of the hours and staff or not. I know they've had levies passed something that's not happening much for schools.

Several years ago, I told my local librarian about the Sinc grant for libraries. She checked it out, applied for it and won for August 2010. She was understandably ecstatic, and had the Tribune come out to take our picture together when I handed her the $1000 check.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren, I so agree with you. (Even if I've had to go back 3 times to get your name right--wayward fingers!) It makes the best of sense to increase the libraries' hours and offerings in hard economic times. As if any of our politicos had good sense, however. :-(

Kara Cerise said...

I'm sure your librarian was thrilled when the library won the SinC grant, Gloria! That's a good reminder to share information about how to obtain one with our local libraries.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone hear about the "Book Burning" campaign?

Somewhere in the Midwest they were cutting the library totally.... Someone put up signs saying "Library closes on June 6th, Book Burning on June 8th."

The Librarian and many others got up set thinking it was REAL.... People united and passed the Library Tax by a large margin...

Kara Cerise said...

Great story! I hadn't heard about the "Book Burning" hoax campaign. It just proves that words can be so powerful. Thank you for commenting.

Anonymous said...

You are right, EB, the "increase" is simply putting back a fraction of the money that was slashed from the budget in the first place. I work in a public library and see so many young families that cannot afford to buy books for their children. If there are no libraries, where do these poor kids get books? How do they become readers? Literacy skills start developing very young, before a child goes into school. Seems short sighted to me to cut library budgets and then pay more later in remediation costs for students.