National Library Week ended last Saturday, so I know this post is several days late. In my defense, I celebrated by traveling on a book tour with Beverly Lewis, who spoke and signed and met readers at a number of fantastic libraries in the Midwest. (You can view pictures of those signings here to get a glimpse.)
That got me started thinking about some delightful novels with librarian heroines. To celebrate libraries and librarians everywhere, give these books a try.
Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Librarian Character: Shy-but-fierce Anna O’Brien, one of the few female librarians in the early days of the Library of Congress.
Additional Fun Fact: The author, Elizabeth Camden, is a real-life research librarian at a university.
Bookish Quote: “Ever since becoming a librarian, she’d been feeling the vibrant golden chain that reached back centuries to other librarians, archivists, and historians, all of whom had chosen the same quest: the collection and preservation of the world’s knowledge. Was there any more noble pursuit in all of human history?”
Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin
Librarian Character: Imaginative and somewhat-flighty Alice Grace Ripley, who supplies books to rural Appalachia when she loses her librarian job during the Great Depression.
Additional Fun Fact: The story includes historical details about “packhorse librarians” who rode up the mountains with books in the 1930s.
Bookish Quote: “Librarians are serious people, seldom given to idle jocularity. The reason for this, I believe, is because we are overwhelmed by the enormous number of good books waiting to be read, leaving little time for frivolity. My personal list of must-read books presents a daunting challenge; I can’t even imagine the pressure that our head librarian must be under.”
A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White
Librarian Character: The mysterious Rosemary Gresham, posing as a librarian to spy on a potential threat to Britain during WWI.
Additional Fun Fact: All of our ideas for the book cover revolved around a library scene, but a few of the alternate covers showed Rosemary’s (fake) wire-rimmed spectacles.
Bookish Quote: “How bad could a library really be? She had her answer when Holstein swung the double doors open, inward. Perhaps, once, the room had been majestic. The ceiling soared high overhead, a magnificent mural painted on it. The chamber stretched the whole width of the house. Shelves lined the walls, floor to towering ceiling. Lined with books, all of them. Then with books stacked in front of them. Books stacked on the floor. Books stacked on the chairs, the tables, lining the windowsills. Boxes of them. Random cases of them at odd places.”
True to You by Becky Wade
Librarian Character: Sweet and spunky Nora Bradford, genealogist and library director in a historical village.
Additional Fun Fact: Nora is a true bookworm who is particularly fond of period dramas—several real ones and one Becky invented for the story.
Bookish Quote: “I found this place five years ago,” she told him. “I love it except that I’ve run out of bookshelf space again, so I’m going to have to declare eminent domain on yet another wall. I don’t have many walls left. Soon I’ll have books as a kitchen backsplash.”
The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen
Librarian Character: Gentlewoman Rachel Ashford, the somewhat-reluctant owner of a lending library she created with books inherited from her father.
Additional Fun Fact: The quotes introducing Chapter One are excerpts from primary sources about the circulating libraries of the Regency period.
Bookish Quote: He grinned. “Did I not promise you would learn to enjoy reading? And far more quickly than I imagined.”
She nodded. “And I’ve told several people how much I am enjoying the book, so I already have a waiting list to read it when I am finished.”
His dark eyes glimmered with approval and something more. Admiration? Fondness? Pleasure and fear twisted through her in a single chord. Careful, Rachel warned herself. Don’t confuse a love of books with something more.
Just for fun, we’ll pick two commenters to win their choice of one of the books above. (Winners will be chosen on 4/26/18.) To enter, answer this question in the comments: What is something you love about your local library?