When I first got my library card several years ago in the small town 25 minutes from our Northwoods home, they looked at me funny when I asked about inter-library loan. The library was approximately the size of my living room, and the chance of it having the books I wanted to read were slim. So ever since we moved back from South Africa, I have been dependent on my daughter for the big city library two hours away. I check their catalog on-line, request books and get her to pick them up for me when she takes the kids for story hour. I rarely even pass my local library during open hours because I go to town on Sundays for church or on my way to the highway.
This week I stopped in the library across the street from the ice rink where I skate regularly. It’s in the neighboring county, but I was looking for a reference book I could consult without checking it out. They didn’t have it.
“Would you like me to request that on inter-library loan?” the librarian asked.
Inter-library loan? My ears perked up. “But my card… is for a different county,” I confessed.
“That’s all right,” she said. “You can borrow from any library in this part of Wisconsin.”
“I can?!” I almost hugged her. She ordered the reference book I wanted, and when I got home, I went straight to my computer to start browsing their catalog for other things on my “to read” list.
Just because this area didn’t have inter-library loan five years ago, doesn’t mean they don’t have it now. If I hadn’t made false assumptions, I could have been borrowing long ago!
For the past three years, I have been going two hours each way every month for my writers "fix"--the chance to talk writing with other authors. This librarian tells me there really are other commercially published authors in my area and even gave me the name of one. This morning I had a latte with Diane Dryden at a little café called Ally Cats that is so popular it was hard to find a parking place—another of the things I have been missing out on. Diane knows everybody! Eventually Eva Apelqvist joined us, and we yacked half the morning away. Diane is a long-time Chicago resident who wrote The Accidental King of Clark Street. My husband's grandparents lived on Clark Street in Chicago in the heart of "Andersonville", as the Swedish section of town was know. Can’t wait to read it!
Eva is a Swede who talks like a Badger. She works primarily as a translator, but has a YA book to her credit as well as many articles in the top children's magazines and a drawer full of manuscripts. Eva also turns out to be the regional liaison for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Wait a minute! I thought I had to go all the way to Madison for that!
“We need to make this a regular thing,” Diane said as we pulled ourselves away from the coffee shop to face our desks. I’m not planning to abandon my writers’ group in the city, but I agree.
Sometimes it’s really nice to find out you’re wrong.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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