A Guest Blog Post
by Daryl Wood Gerber
(aka Avery Aames)
Author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries & the Cheese Shop Mysteries
I love libraries. I don’t visit my local library as often as I should right now. Usually I go to donate books or do book events. Otherwise I’m too busy writing or reading friends’ books that I’ve purchased. I have a LOT of author friends! You should see my to-be-read pile!
But I do love libraries because that’s where I went as a girl to become a reader. My mother took us nearly every week to pick out books. Mind you, I didn’t become an “avid” reader for quite some time. I was a tomboy. I loved being outside and running, jumping, or climbing trees.
When I did discover that reading was fun—I was sick with the measles and my mother gave me her set of Nancy Drew books, 37 of them, and I devoured them in a week!—then I couldn’t get enough books. Our budget didn’t allow for buying every book I wanted. So where did we go?
To the library. I remember the librarian taking a special interest in me. [She probably paid special interest to every child. What did I know?] She asked me what I liked to read. Mysteries, of course, but there was a vast array of other genres: adventure, humor, science, and historical. Do you remember reading about all the presidents? I do.
When I went to college, I spent half of my time in the library. What an incredible experience that was. I remember slapping on earphones and listening to symphony music while studying. I remember going through the stacks to find articles to support my research papers.
When I moved to Los Angeles as an adult and I was moving around from apartment to apartment, I discovered many libraries. LA is a big metropolis, i.e. big library system.
When my son was born, I took him to the library often, as my mother did for me. I kid you not, my son and I would leave the library with at least seven books every week. He liked me to read to him, and that was our nightly event: dinner, snuggle in, read a book, kisses, and sleep tight.
When I lived in Connecticut, I volunteered at a school and helped a foreign student learn to read English. This young boy would not speak for the first three months of our visits; I would read to him. Every visit, we would go to the library and he would pick out a book for me to read. I remember how his eyes would light up as he made his selection. He was so serious. At first, he would only choose serious material: science or history. Along the way, the librarian suggested we read Dr. Seuss—what a clever woman! By the end, all my young friend wanted to read was Dr. Seuss. Do you know why? Because he could repeat all the words at the ends of the sentences OUT LOUD without embarrassment. I will never forget the delight on his face when he realized he didn’t need to be shy around me any longer. I can still remember the sound of his laughter.
Now do you understand why I love libraries? What do you love about them?
FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE: A Cheese Shop Mystery by Avery Aames, Berkley Prime Crime paperback, 307 pages, February 2, 2016, $7.99.