Monday, April 12, 2010

National Library Week (Apr 11-17) and A Book Giveaway

In honor of this being National Library Week (Apr 11-17), I'm giving away a copy of a book from my own library collection.

The book is Mysteries of the Ozarks, which includes my story "The Shape of a Heart." I gave away a copy of MOO earlier this year and the response was so good, I wanted to do it again.

One winner's name will be selected at random from everyone who leaves a comment about their favorite library memory between today and April 17. And by library, I'm including Bookmobiles, too!

My favorite library memories are of summers visiting the original Divoll Branch Library in the Hyde Park section of North St. Louis, Missouri. Divoll Library (which is no longer in operation) was a magnificient building that sat atop a hill not far from the Mississippi River, and one of the St. Louis libraries built with funds from Andrew Carnegie. I tried to find a photo of Divoll Library on the web, but couldn't find one. If I find one this week I will post it.

The highlights of each summer was a program called the Read Away Vacation club. At the beginning of the summer Mom enrolled us as club members. For each book checked out and read, the librarian put a star next to the member's name, and at the end of the summer, the librarian presented club members with certificates.

My parents were big believers in keeping us kids busy--and reading--during summer vacation. Trips to the library became part of my summer routine. Once a week, usually on a Monday, after the wash was taken off the line and clothes folded and put away, Mom put baby brother Timmy down for an afternoon nap (Bridget wasn't born yet). She handed the rest of us (Glenda, Kathleen, Jimmy and me) books to return from the previous week, along with our buff-colored library cards.

Entering the library was like walking into heaven. After racing up the wide concrete steps, I opened the bronze-handled door and stepped inside. I took a few minutes to soak in the cool air, the whisper of fans, and the smell of fresh ink and musty books before running to the water fountain for a long, cool drink. Then my sister Kathleen and I headed to the section where the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books were shelved.

The highlight of the Read Away Vacation club occurred in late August, when the librarian presented us with our certificates. At the supper table Dad praised us, and after dishes, Mom wrapped the certificates in tissue paper and stored our prized certificates in her cedar chest along with baby books, Baptism and First Communion certificates, and yearly report cards.

It seems appropriate that memories of my mom and dad are so vivid today. Mom kept us busy during the summer while Dad was at work, but Dad was the person who instilled my siblings and me with a love for reading and learning, for learning's sake. "The more you know, the more you know you don't know," he would often say. (Translation: The more you learn, you realize you don't know that much in the first place.)

When we were little he read the "funny papers" to us, and when we got older, he quizzed our vocabulary by asking us to "help" him with the crossword puzzle then later the word jumbles in the daily paper.

Today marks 27 years since Daddy passed away. Although my dad encouraged us to read, he also told us, "Don't believe everything you read, especially in the newspaper."

So, in remembrance of my dad, James P. Duly, Sr., and in honor of National Library Week, I invite my visitors will leave a comment and share their favorite library memory.


  1. Oh, thanks for the reminder of Libaray Week and yes, I would like a chance at your book.

    I was co-founder of the Friends group here and a rabid supporter of the local library. The building was a Carneige library and lovely with dome and well, all the comforting architecture of a hundred years or more ago. The library here was a cornerstone in my life when I moved here and knew no one.

  2. Hi Claudia,
    Thanks for your lovely post. Isn't amazing how many lives Andrew Carnegie touched through his generosity of funding so many libraries? Shows the difference one person can make in our lives.

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  4. Donna, thanks for reminding us to be grateful for our wonderful libraries. Growing up, we didn't have a library in our small town, but the bookmobile provided my sisters and I with lots of reading material for the summer. I loved to read then and enjoy it even more now.

  5. We had an Andrew Carnegie library in our town. Last year, I paid a visit to my home town and the old library was on my list of places to go. They were having a book sale. So I came home with a few and a lot of memories.
    When I was a kid, the library was the place to go to find out how something worked or how to build something.
    There were two very important places and both in the center of town. In fact, located in the same block. The junk yard and the library. The junk yard is gone now, turned into a green space. When you’re ten years old and like to build things nothing was better than a trip to the library with a stop at the junk yard.
    I had to peddle about three miles to get there from my home. Had a basket on the bike to carry books and the wonderful parts from the junk yard. The junk yard had one rule - must wear shoes and you could take items apart and only pay for the parts you wanted. Ten cents a pound. A pound is a lot of parts. It was the only place in town kids wore shoes in the summer.
    Build my first short wave radio out of parts from there with slight modifications to instructions obtained from the library.
    I expected the two places had as much to do with my becoming an engineer as anything in my life.

    Stan Wilson

  6. I remember being in high school and loving to the library at night down the street to see WHO would be there. And then giggling with my girlfriends about it on the phone. The library was actually a cool place to hang out on the weeknights. Looking back, I'm sure the librarians weren't so thrilled. . .:)


  7. I actually worked part time for our local library during college and then became one of the branch children's librarian when I graduated. During my tenure I got to do things like ordering children's books for our branch, planning all sorts of children's activities such as story hours, crafts, and putting on a pet show.

    It was a wonderful experience!

  8. Hi Roland (Alice), Stan, Margo, and Pat,
    Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful library memories. Isn't it amazing how libraries and librarians have touched so many lives and left such pleasant memories.

  9. As a kid I never lived where they had a library, but back of each class room the wall was filled with books to check-out. I have always loved books and writing. I am very involved with our library in Mountain Home. We move into our new one this Fall, can't wait.


Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V - Interviews with Lonnie Whitaker and Dr. Barri Bumgarner

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