Love affair with libraries, librarians started early

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Some readers will recall that in previous columns I have mentioned my fondness for librarians. On Saturday mornings when I was a boy, the Des Moines Public Library bookmobile stopped at our church. The librarian on board would usually have a couple of books reserved for me. That felt special.

The library at my high school was superb. Our librarian Charlene understood I savored books. When they had the massive book sales at the fairgrounds she had me come along to push the shopping cart. Librarians got to come in and browse the night before the sale began. Charlene always said: “Victor, if you see a book you really want please put it in the cart.” She made me feel super special.

Throughout the years I have been interviewing authors I have given many public talks. The first group I addressed was a gathering of librarians from the Dayton Metro Library. I have done presentations in bookstores, libraries, colleges, restaurants, coffee shops, clubs, a senior citizen center, and last month I did my first event at a high school.

During March and April a number of libraries in our region participated In the “One Book, Many Communities,” community read. Hundreds of library patrons read “The Widows” by Jess Montgomery. Many of you still remember when Sharon Short was a columnist for this newspaper. She wrote her “Kinship” series of novels under the pen name Jess Montgomery.

For the culmination of the community read we met up with Jess/Sharon at Tecumseh High School in New Carlisle. I interviewed her on stage before a student audience. Then we took questions-those young people had read the book closely and asked amazing questions.

We ate lunch with students. Jess got the rock star treatment, “I have never met an author before!” Then we went with our librarians to tour the New Carlisle Public Library. How cool is that? I felt so special.

That evening I did another event with Jess at Edison Community College in Piqua. We had some extra time beforehand so I sat down to chat with Jess and our entourage of librarians. Drew Wichterman from the Tipp City Public Library was there, he was a key organizer of all these activities.

We discussed library topics; book clubs, banned books, even Colleen Hoover. Then Jess signed books as WYSO’s Luke Dennis, my patient, kind driver all day long suggested: “Hey, Vick, they’ve got a ping pong table down the hall, do you want to hit a few?” I played ping pong in my suit. Not very well.

Before I interviewed Jess I asked her to update me; she told me some things that were happening. Then she shared that exciting news with our audiences; that her “Kinship” novels are being considered for adaptation into a TV series and she has a deal for a new book, a mystery set on an island in Lake Erie.

I had finally spent an entire day hanging out with librarians. I felt very blessed.

Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit Contact him at

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