Dear Librarians and Readers,
I wanted to share some pics and a few words about my experience touring the Arrowhead. I was able to get photos of most attendees though some came late or had to leave early so I didn't get all - in most cases I also got pictures of their library and town's population sign (except in those cases when it was raining so hard it was impossible!) Forgive in advance the number of pics of my dog Betsy.
It was a joy to meet all the readers and librarians along my route. At first I expected I was going on a meandering visit to libraries with some scenic mileage in between, but just as I set out we got word that the library funding was facing a cut in the house by two thirds of the budget! Through the great work of lobbyists, librarians, and attendees of my events who filled out dozens of Legacy evaluation forms and made phone calls or wrote in support of rural libraries, the legislation was not passed. I sent a number of letters myself (below is one example). I am not surprised that the people of the rural north rallied behind this effort and prevailed. They are a tenacious and smart bunch. I wouldn't mess with them.
As a writer it was especially heartening to get a thumbs-up from readers of Vacationland who reassured me that I had captured the character of northern Minnesota in the stories and portrayals - I've written three books set in the region, but each time I'm there I learn some pretty amazing facts and meet unexpected, intriguing people. I had meals or coffee with dozens of readers and just wish I'd written down every name: There was the 95 year-old gentleman in Buhl who confessed he'd once had a crush my Aunt Dorothy; the woman in Grand Marais that made me pressed flower bookmarks (Thank you!), and the awesome women of Coleraine who know how to throw a great event (so much food, and a thousand thanks for the wine)
I absorbed bits of history in each town and library and was shown their treasures: murals, mosaics, paintings, stained glass, their own china! By the end of my tour it became clear to me that the libraries, from small to grand, are the hearts of these communities.
Hats off to these fine libraries and librarians, and many thanks for hosting me. (and please, if you care to share this with the attendees of our event, do.)