From time to time I will take a break from writing novels, memoirs, and other things to share some random thoughts on random topics I hope you might find interesting.

Today I am thinking about libraries and their importance to communities—a mostly free resource that gives access to books, films, music, art, programs, and more to those savvy enough to make regular visits there. Over my long career as a writer, libraries and librarians have led me through the maze of research that gave me the facts needed to tell a story in a real way that resonated with readers. I have relied not only on the public libraries in my community, but have also explored libraries at universities and those associated with non-profits such as state historical societies and museums.

Because one of my quirks is that I truly enjoy doing research, I have often found myself deep in a rabbit hole of more information than I can possibly use (or my readers would have patience for), but how much better to have too much information than not enough? It was thanks to time spent in the stacks of a library that I discovered the germ of the idea for my YA novel The Winterkeeper and met the feisty heroine of Monica’s War.

So, hats off to those who support libraries and to the staff of knowledgeable people who keep them open and operating.

Later this month I will be attending the American Library Association’s national conference in Chicago—not as a member of that profession, but as a writer who could not do my work without them and hopes to have the chance to say “Thank you” up close and in person! In the meantime, stop by your local library and get better (or perhaps re-) acquainted with the wonderful resource it is.