Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

Love Your Library

by Nancy J Cohen

March brings our local library’s annual author luncheon. Owned by the city, this library is housed in a brick building amid live oak trees in a tranquil setting. The history museum is next-door. These are not huge structures, as they’re only single story. But the library evokes many fond memories. Our kids did their community service hours there while in school. We frequented the children’s room in their early days. This wasn’t like the county-run public library system where you might feel lost among the stacks. It was more like the hometown library where I grew up.

I remember walking the aisles in my youth along with my father, and he pointed out to me the Horatio Hornblower series. “You might like these books,” he suggested. I didn’t think I’d care for a historical series featuring a British naval officer, so I passed them by in favor of the Nick Carter and Alistair MacLean adventures I liked at the time.

Years later, I rediscovered Horatio Hornblower and devoured them like candy. And from them, I learned a valuable lesson. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Horatio next. Never mind the naval battles in each story. As Horatio progressed from midshipman to admiral, I hung on every experience that made him grow as a person. And this is what I try to do with my own writing. It’s the personal threads that count to readers more so than the mystery in each volume of a series. It is critical for your main character to grow and evolve.

I’m now a member of the Friends of the Library here in my home city and attend their monthly meetings with interesting speakers. Their bimonthly book sales bring in money that is donated to the library for its various programs. Libraries do so much more than offer books these days. They are multi-media centers with multiple functions online and on-site. I might not check out books anymore, but I still love our libraries that serve such an important need in our communities.

Do you have any poignant memories of your local library?