Dear Librarians of the World,
While having dinner with one of my best friends, who also happens to be a youth librarian, she asked me how my recent trip to ALA was. I knew she was waiting to see the f&g of my forthcoming Sandy’s Circus, so she was tenderly viewing those pages as she asked. I started to recall for her a few of my favorite moments from the conference. As I did, she pointed out with a gleeful grin that they all had to do with my appreciation of librarians.
“You love us,” she teased, sing-songing the words like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality.
“I do,” I admitted.
I suppose it was not too surprising that my focus honed in on the librarians, given the venue, but there were certainly other glamorous goings-on to compete with in the vicinity (Jon Scieszka in his smoking jacket, Brian Selznick and the Swarovski crystal shirt he made by hand, as well as his stunning Caldecott multi-media acceptance speech, and Mary Louise Parker and Laura San Giacomo in my hotel lobby). Not to mention spending time with editors and writer friends I rarely get to see. But it was the librarians who ruled the roost for me. Quite rightly.
Writing talks to give at meetings like ALA really gives writers a chance to process and reflect upon exactly how we do what we do. The presentation I gave that Monday morning was flush with anecdotes featuring librarian heroes and heroines swooping in to save the day—whether it was a passage one read to me from a book halfway across the country or a visual image scanned and emailed to fill a last-minute hole with a book already in production or a rare issue of an obscure periodical that held a quote that changed my perspective on a topic.
“It’s our job,” my friend said, still grinning with the knowledge that even though her words were technically accurate, they merely scratch the surface. It may be all in a day’s work, but what work it is. After all, librarians are already out there every day championing the field, putting the right books into the right readers’ hands, and caretaking the minds and hearts of young readers. And then some.
Now, the more jaded among us may feel I am simply sucking up to librarians. But I assure you I am of pure intent. Every day, in libraries all over the world, librarians not only help readers—they help writers write the best books we can. And I thank you, each and every one.
Love, Tanya Lee Stone