So, come on. Confession time. Who else is a lover of libraries? (I see you in the back there, waving your hand!) I’m sure I’m not the only one who has fantasised about what it must be like to work in a library. Yes, I know it’s not ALL about the books and spending hours reading, but bear with me…
I loved including a librarian in my upcoming release, Rebuilding Hearts. Sparrow Island might be the smallest of the (fictional) Independence Islands, but a legacy from a wealthy resident means it hosts its own tiny library, which is where my heroine, bookworm and film buff Bella Dwyer, has taken on a new job.
I’ve long been a big reader, and with a high school librarian mother, I suppose it was inevitable that as a child many a Saturday morning was spent perusing the shelves of our little town’s library. Some of my favorite books I remember often borrowing included Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators, the Hardy Boys (they were always so cool!), and tracking down any of those mysterious Trixie Belden books that came out towards the end (ahem, I had the rest of them). Later, the library became a place to hunt down books by authors like Agatha Christie, Marion Chesney, and to discover new books and worlds and experiences, allowing this girl to dream big dreams and imagine worlds far different to what I experienced in small-town Australia. Later still, I used my local library for research information for my writing, including borrowing specialist books via inter-library loans. To be one of those librarians who knew so much about all kinds of books, and could steer people to the dim corners where magic awaited within the pages, seemed quite wonderful, like they were gatekeepers to dreams.
As an author, I’ve discovered just how much power libraries can have. While every author wishes all the readers would buy their books (full price, in paperback!) the simple fact is most readers have to be careful with their purchases, and for some, libraries are a fabulous way to gain access to books they might otherwise not be able to afford. And this is GREAT for authors. If a reader requests an author’s book, the library purchases it (hello: a sale), then it becomes available so that other readers can get a taste for this author’s writing. And sometimes, that leads to avid readers borrowing EVERY SINGLE ONE of that author’s books. And then, because they loved these books so much, they end up buying them too. I’ve done that. I’ve found some books I adore and don’t trust the library to always have on stock (bc apparently other readers adore these books too), so I’ve purchased my own copy. Libraries can also sometimes operate a little like ‘word-of-mouth’ in getting the word out there about how fabulous a certain book is, by highlighting particular covers for themed days, including books in reading challenges, putting them on display, etc.
But there’s another way libraries can help authors. Many library systems around the world pay a small sum for each time a book is borrowed, thus ensuring authors get a tiny percentage of the royalty they might otherwise receive when a book is bought outright. So if enough books are borrowed, over time this adds up and can make a nice contribution to the author who has spent months crafting that book you finished in a few days.
Of course, libraries are important in many other ways, like providing a means for social interaction or computer access for those without. Another key importance is helping to instil a love for the written word in youngsters, through story time and other book-related activities that emphasise the importance of reading. I loved imagining how my heroine, Bella Dwyer, would do this in Rebuilding Hearts, and enjoyed giving her moments to engage children through story time (which soon leads to another job opportunity). Those people who can bring a story to life through dramatic readings are pretty special – I feel like I stumble over too many of my words!
Libraries are special, and those who work in them are special, too. So three cheers to all the librarians out there – we appreciate you!
Want to know more about Rebuilding Hearts? Here’s some more about the story:
Who knew a bank robbery could show a girl that good guys still exist?
Bookworm Bella Dwyer just wants to feel safe, especially after she’s saved by a mysterious stranger during a bank robbery who made her believe there might be guys who live up to her fictional heroes. But when he proves impossible to find, she settles for a relationship with a commitment-phobic man instead.
When Bella is offered a job on tiny Sparrow Island, she encounters Tim Franklin, the quiet budding landscape architect with Hemsworthy arms, who soon makes her question whether there really can be a future with a man who can’t commit.
In a leap of faith, Bella dumps her boyfriend, even before shy-guy Tim can make a move. But in wanting to live by faith and conquer fear, has she made the right choice, or are her hopes for freedom and a future destined to fail? Read the next Sparrow Island novel in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
Now let’s talk:
Are you a library fan? (Come on…) Have you ever requested an author’s books from your local library? Are you a librarian or have you worked in a bookshop? (If so, got any fun stories to tell?) Would you like to work in an island community’s library or bookstore? Is there a book (or author) you discovered and now love thanks to the magic of a library?