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

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

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), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

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. 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 July 31, 2018.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Loving Your Library Is Not Enough

By Shari Randall

In all the years I worked in a public library, there was only one time a patron became angry with me.

A few minutes before closing, a man hurried into the branch. He needed materials to prepare for a test. Because English wasn’t his first language, it took a few minutes to figure out what he needed but soon we were in the stacks and I handed him the books he requested.

“Where do I pay?” he said.
“It’s free, all you need is a library card.” Usually this line was met with happy surprise.
Not this guy. His face reddened. “No, it can’t be. You’re joking with me.”
I shook my head. “Let me show you where you apply for a library card.”
“No, I have money! No credit card!” he shouted.

After some conversation, he understood. As I helped him get his card, the man apologized profusely.

“In my country,” he said, “there are no libraries, just bookstores. Only rich people have books.”

His words have stuck with me because he opened my eyes. There are places where only rich people have books.

I never thought it would be my country.

Currently in Washington, there are proposals to eliminate agencies that provide federal funding to libraries all across America. Despite its tiny budget, the Institute of Museum and Library Services is on the chopping block. ILMS funds grants to libraries and museums of all kinds - rural libraries, tribal libraries, suburban libraries, inner city libraries, school libraries. If you know anything about libraries, you know they do everything on a shoestring. Now even the shoestring will be gone.

Someone explained to me that it’s easy to eliminate agencies with small budgets because if the budget is small that program must not be very important.

When I look at my home budget, I notice that one of the smallest outlays is for water.

from Karen Jensen, School Library Journal
Many years ago, news icon Walter Cronkite said, “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.”

Many in the ignorant nation think libraries are non-essential. Everyone has a smart phone, right? The “let them eat cake” people say, “just Google it.”

Tell that to a librarian who sees thousands of kids without books of their own, homeless teens doing their homework on a library computer, small business owners researching tax strategies, students struggling to discern real news from fake, and immigrants trying to get a better job by checking out test prep materials that you can’t get on the internet.

If you love your libraries and want to help, check out this easy to use site from the American Library Association. On Twitter you can follow #saveIMLS.

Are you a library lover?


Warren Bull said...

I volunteer at my local library. The library here forgave all fines for overdue or lost books for children because they discovered that children from lower income families were denied services were often the ones with those issues. Librarians believe that those children needed library resources that children of wealthier family could get elsewhere.

Shari Randall said...

Amen to that, Warren. Your library sounds terrific - they understand how important it is to be a place kids will enjoy and not fear. Thank you for for volunteering. To say that libraries rely on volunteers is an understatement!

Margaret Turkevich said...

Libraries are a necessity. When I moved to Cincinnati, a library card was the first thing on my list, followed by a source of decent coffee beans. Priorities.

Art Taylor said...

Great post, Shari. Thank you so much for this!

Julie Tollefson said...

I'm so proud of my little town. Our library has been working hard the last few years to expand offerings and serve the needs of the community, but the building is tiny. This spring, we passed a sales tax in part to help build a new library, despite some community grumbling that the only patrons are teenagers playing computer games. Every time I visit, though, the place is hoppin' with patrons of all ages -- and some of them (like me) are checking out books! Libraries are essential.

Becky Michael said...

Thanks for this information, Shari! Amid all the other craziness going on, I hadn't heard about this senseless cut. Such an important place of learning for all ages. I chose my new home, in part, because it's close to a wonderful library. I'm checking out the link that you offered!

Grace Topping said...

Thank you for this post, Shari. First cuts to public television and now libraries. The dumbing down of America continues. My library is very valuable to me. In fact, if I lost my wallet, I would be more concerned about my library card than other things in it. Although I buy books, I couldn't afford to read at the rate I do without my library. My most recent discovery was learning that I could download audible books from the library to my cell phone. What a pleasure. Your post has done two things: raised awareness about the plight of libraries and motivated me to send a contributions to the Fairfax Library Foundation, which I am going to do right now. And thank you for being a librarian.

KM Rockwood said...

We've been working on "dumbing down" the public for years.

For instance, the original purpose of public education was to establish an informed electorate, who could participate intelligently in the democratic process. When the state in which I was teaching (I won't name it)ran short on their funds for their enhanced, invasive testing system, the first thing to go was the "citizenship test." Without the test, the entire concept of teaching basic citizenship was gone, and most schools dropped the subject entirely.

A lot of people don't seem to understand there are lots of kids who do not come from families that can provide for them. Homework is on-line (what do you say to the kid who lives in a rural house with no electricity, much less internet? Or the homeless kid who sleeps in a car or shelter?)

Libraries can be a great equalizer. They have something for everybody, if we would just take advantage of them. But some people just don't understand.

I remember being at a funding meeting where a man got up and said the libraries didn't need any more money. He was sure that almost no one in the room had read all the books in the library yet, so why give them money to buy more?

Jim Jackson said...

Up north we have an inefficient (from an economist’s perspective) system in which in our county of 10,000 people we have three separate public libraries. Despite this duplication of some overhead, two of the libraries are critical to our childrens’ development. (The third is very small, providing a small circulating library for a village of 200). I support one with my taxes (and the community has even voted to increase those expenditures). I am a life-member of the “Friends of …” for the second.

Those two provide wonderful early reading programs, and lots of computers for online research (and even gaming for the kids). When I go in shortly after school is out, the computers are being used by students doing homework. They give children and adults access to physical and online magazines, wide choices in books (physical, audio, and electronic).

Gloria Alden said...

I love libraries and have all my life from the small school library to the bookmobile, and the Warren Public library in the town closest to me that my father took us to on a Saturday when I was growing up sometimes. The whole idea of cutting back on funds for libraries just sickens me. I have a card for the Warren Public Library with branches in different areas around the town. Their parking lot is always full. It's where my writers group meets.

A also have a library card for Trumbull Independent Public Libraries which has six libraries not covered by Warren Public Library. One of those is in the little town where one of my book clubs meet at a restaurant on the third Thursday of every month for a book discussion followed by lunch.

I donate the books I write to many of the libraries around me, and sometimes other books for their book sales to raise money.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Margaret, Priorities! You got that right!

Hi Art! Thank you for sharing this. We have to save the libraries for kids like Dash.

Hi Julie, I'm proud of your town, too. To me, a thriving library is a sign of a thriving community.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Becky, I choose my homes the same way - I couldn't live in a place without a library! thank you for checking out the ALA's information, too. Maybe by working together we can spare the IMLS.

Shari Randall said...

Grace, you are a dear! I'm with you - I simply cannot understand how such an inexpensive agency - which does such great work - is slated for the chopping block. As Margaret said, priorities!

Shari Randall said...

Hi Kathleen, As a teacher you've seen the kids that are invisible to the politicians, who own nice homes, with computers and internet access and lots of books for their own children. We have years worth of studies that show how libraries can level the playing field for these less-advantaged students (and inexpensively, too) but lots of people just cannot see outside their own nice, suburban bubbles.
And don't get me going about testing :(

Shari Randall said...

Hi Jim, I'll have to dig up some of the return on investment studies of libraries. Their ROI numbers are very good! Sounds like your town values its libraries, which I take as a good sign. Also, a real estate agent told me that living near a library is a big selling point and bumps up the value of a home - so at least those inefficient libraries are raising somebody's home value!

Shari Randall said...

Hi Gloria, it sounds like your libraries have been a good part of your life. I just wish that everyone felt the same way about their libraries that we feel. I feel sorry for people who just don't take advantage of all the libraries can offer them and their families.

Carla Damron said...

I owe SO much to libraries. As a writer now. As a kid who loved to read. They've been a critical part of my journey.