Monday, July 01, 2013

Libraries Rock!

Patty here...

Last Thursday, June 27th, I spoke on a panel to a lovely group of readers at the Wiseburn Library in Hawthorne with three of my friends, pictured below. The topic was culinary mysteries. I wasn't supposed to be there. My books are not about food but my 4th novel COOL CACHE is set in an artisanal chocolate shop in Beverly Hills, so I volunteered to replace an author who had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts.

Meeting readers is always a rewarding experience for me. However, something happened that night that reminded me of what I love most about this crazy writing business. After the event was over, the librarian pulled me aside and handed me a note. It was from one of the regular library patrons, a man in his eighties, who told her he had to leave before the presentation was over because he no long felt comfortable driving in the dark. She told me he and his wife rarely missed an author event, but his wife's health had begun to fail, and she could no longer accompany him.

The note read:
To Patricia Smiley - My wife really (3 underlines) enjoyed the 3 of your books that I brought home to her. She will really regret missing the opportunity to meet you. --JL

The librarian told me it was impossible to tell which 3 of my 4 novels JL had brought home to his wife, so I gave her a hardback copy of the latest book and asked if she would give it to him. Fingers crossed that it's the one JL's wife hasn't read.

With all the books available to readers, it always amazes me that anyone has ever heard of me or my novels. But somehow JL wandered through the library's mystery section and checked out my book to share with his wife. Then he went back for another and another.

JL may never know how much his note meant to me. I regret that I didn't get the chance to tell him in person. This experience again reminds me how grateful I am to our wonderful library system for providing readers an opportunity to access our books long after they are published. Here's hoping they never run out of shelf space.

Happy Monday!


  1. A touching story, Patty. I know JL's wife will cherish the hand-given (and autographed, I assume) copy of your book, even if it's one she's already read. She will probably also show it and brag to her lady friends about the kind (and talented) author she discovered in a library.

  2. Thanks, Jackie. I didn't autograph it! I was so taken aback by the note that I didn't think to sign it.

  3. from Jacqueline

    Libraries are the gems in any community, bringing people together around the love of books, and providing valuable information services - and most important, they support literacy in adults and children, and keep books on their shelves that people want to read. We should all be indebted to them. I don't know what I would have done without a local library, when I was growing up. A heartfelt post, Patty - we all need to be reminded about the value of libraries on a very regular basis - thank you for this.

  4. And thank you to Benjamin Franklin who organized the very first lending library in the U.S.

  5. I will personally convey your thanks to Ben Franklin.

  6. I assume he'll be at your annual 4th of July BBQ? An old tradition...

  7. Those were wonderful thoughts, that you, as an author..shared...I have loved Libraries since I could walk to one...and I was always amazed that I could hold my favorite authors words......and here I see a favorite author....being amazed by the library! Small world...small circle.....As a kid..the best I could hope was to write to an of the publisher,,and hope for a reply....sometimes I got one..with the internet now, I feel Like I am in a candy store...all my best authors are so accessable....and it never ceases to amaze me...thank-you all, for sharing, and being improves our reading of your stories and understanding of them too...and I re-read them more than once anymore...You did a VERY good thing for that man's wife..and you will be long rememered as her BEST!! What an honor..all the way around.....

  8. SueAnn, what a lovely comment. You rock, too!