I started reading young and never stopped. My dad fed me science fiction at what he considered an age-appropriate pace; I pulled random books from his shelves and got an accelerated education. My school librarians learned to introduce me to series because I read so much and so quickly that I would be a pest if they couldn’t hand me at least five books at a time.
Town and air force base libraries had more to offer than my dad or my school. They stocked things that would never fly for a school library and had a much wider idea of what might be a good book. I devoured science fiction, romance, adventure, and more. I dabbled in and turned my back on autobiography, biography, and war histories. I developed the tastes that I’ve been broadening and refining ever since.
It’s not just the access to books. It’s the space, filled with books and readerly accoutrements. Lamps and chairs and tables to enable my passion. Card catalogs and librarians and featured shelves. The plainest of them still smell like books and the most ornate still turn one’s attention back to the books they exist to present.
I got on Goodreads today and saw again the link that reads Libraries. Curious, I went to my book, Blue Water Dreams, and clicked the link. It showed me the list of 24 library systems that have it.
This was so exciting to me that I clicked through on every one of them and discovered that some systems had multiple copies – as many as six copies – and that, even more exciting still, there were five copies checked out!
I geeked out completely, made a list of all the locations that have copies, added them all up. I have 49 copies of a book with my name, with my words, in 24 library systems, in something more like 45 individual libraries. One put me in New Adult, some put me in Erotica, others stuck with Romance. But I’m out there.
With excitement and joy, I share the list of libraries that have Blue Water Dreams:
On library shelves now in:
Fort Wayne, IN
Los Angeles, CA
Hull, in the freakin’ UK!
San Diego, CA, currently checked out
2 in London…also UK.
3 in Santa Monica, CA
6 in 4 San Francisco libraries
5 in Kent County, WA – 2 copies checked out!
3 in Snohomish and Island Counties, WA – 1 checked out!
5 in 4 Seattle libraries – 1 checked out!
3 in 2 Minneapolis libraries (as New Adult Fiction, by the way)
3 in Louisville, KY
4 in Allegheny County, PA
2 in Fort Myers, FL
2 in Denver
The conservative town I went to high school in, Moses Lake, WA, has a copy, plus nearby towns of Ephrata, Omak, and Wenatchee.
I went to the Moses Lake Library for a lot of reasons. I wanted books, obviously, but I also wanted to live in a bigger, wider world. I wanted to know more and books held a lot of what I needed. I wanted a quiet place where I could read in the public privacy one can achieve in a library. I wanted a haven when the world hurt me.
I found all those things in the Moses Lake Library, and more. I found respectful interaction with adults and the joy of reading to children and the honor of doing ESL tutoring for a Mexican banker turned agricultural worker. I found a version of me that I carry to this day.
So thanks, libraries. Thanks for being there for me. And thanks for stocking this book about being queer and trans and in love, about being passionate and deeply caring about social justice and independence and working it all out to have everything when you think you’ll have to choose.