by Lynn Marie Steinmayer
I am a library director in a rural town in northwestern Connecticut and I have been here for nine years.
I first heard about Sisters in Crime in May of 2009. We had an author come to the library and she shared about writing her book which she wrote as part of a team and said that Sisters in Crime was a great organization and it had helped her immensely in her writing career. She encouraged anyone remotely interested in writing to join and go to conferences and workshops.
So, I did.
Luckily I am in New England and there is a wonderful conference in November called Crime Bake. An absolutely amazing small conference experience with great panels, workshops, speakers and fun. I met authors of all kinds some who were young in their writing careers and bought books for my patrons that hadn’t made it into ‘Library Journal’ or on any best seller list, but my patrons loved them. I made relationships at those conferences, for I went many years, that I have kept on Facebook and in email and thankfully I have had the opportunity to host a few authors here.
Early in the “We Love Libraries” grant process, I coaxed some staff members to pose with
books from authors in Sisters in Crime and caution tape and a bright orange extension cord. The picture was staged in January 2010 and promptly forgotten.
Libraries are in a constant state of reinvention, we offer online eBooks and downloadable audio books; online technology training and information resources; small business services like fax and copy machines for public use; computers for patron use; a place to either work if you need a place with fewer distractions than home or a place to sit and rest and read a magazine.
Library staff members want to serve the public. It is our mission to help our communities thrive and find ways to educate, entertain and inform themselves about the issues of the day. Some days this is easy to do and some days we need help.
How can you help your local library?
If you are a published author, make sure your books are available in eBook format. I try to have books both in print and in eBook format to ensure that all of my patrons can read a book no matter the time or geographic location.
If you have a certain skill set or work experience see if you can volunteer to give a program. Have you traveled abroad? Are you a marketer? Are you a knitter? You can offer to do a one-time program and help the library reach patrons that they might not normally get to reach.
Do you have more time? Maybe you could help by joining the Friends group if your local library has one. They usually meet once a month and have periodic fundraisers.
Are you more inclined to want to help with the overall governance of the library? You can look into how to become a member of the Board of Trustees, some towns are elected and some are appointed so you would have to see what your community does.
And if none of these ideas seem good to you – maybe you could continue being an advocate. Write an editorial around budget time saying how libraries have helped you. Turn to the databases offered by your library to help learn about consumer issues, medical research, or language learning. Find a book group. Read a magazine and drink a cup of tea. Pick up an audio book for the next conference you are driving to. Leave some Sisters in Crime bookmarks and tell them about the “We Love Libraries” grant.
Oh, and that picture taken the winter of 2010? I received an email in September saying that we were the August winners of the “We Love Libraries” grant.
From Kait Carson: YEA Lynn – Thank you for contacting us and asking about a blog. And congratulations on winning a We Love Libraries grant. SinC is an amazing organization, but we wouldn’t exist without libraries and librarians. Thank you for your caring, and for your labor in the service of readers everywhere.