A love letter to libraries

I just found out that Furiously Happy was chosen as one of the 10 LibraryReads for September.  That means that librarians around the country nominated it as one of the top books they can’t wait to share with readers.  That nod is one of the most poignant honors I have ever received and I cried when I heard it, although not everyone would understand why.

When I was little my favorite places were libraries.  You weren’t expected to speak, which was heaven for a shy girl with an anxiety disorder.  Thousands of small secret stories were hidden in plain sight all around you, just waiting to be held in your hands and discovered.  As a small girl in rural Texas, I knew that the best chance I had of seeing worlds that would never be open to me, and meeting fantastic people I’d never be bold enough to speak to was through books.  I was able to see places that exist (or that had existed, and or that would never exist) through the words of the storytellers whose worlds had been bound up and shared and protected through generations of docent-guardians who called themselves “librarians”.

I don’t remember my mother ever playing with my sister or me, but she read during any spare second she had.  She read to us.  She read to herself.  She had us read to each other.  A few times a month we’d get dressed up to drive into town to visit the nearest library.   I still remember the reverent hush as we walked through the doors – the quiet hum of the air conditioner…the feeling of reverence that others may have experienced in churches but which I found in the quiet awe that was the library.  I remember breathing in the welcoming smell of the dust of the books.  The soft sounds of the drawers of wooden card-catalogs that had slid open and closed so many times that they became a velvety hush.  The clean white slips of paper and tiny pencils waiting there (for free!) so that you might look up something wonderful and write down the secret code that would lead you to treasure.  I remember the hunt for the book.  For adventure.  For magic.

And sometimes you’d get lucky and there would be a special librarian there.  Of course, all librarians were special when you were little.  They were the guards and they were larger than life.  They knew the secret codex of books.  They were good witches and wizards who kept small keys around their necks, keys to special, sacred artifacts you had to know the secret password to see.

The librarians were all magical in their own way, but some had a special gift, as if they could see behind your eyes.  They could look at you, measuring you in their heads, and say:

“Let me see your hands.  Ah.  Yes.  Today is a day for adventure.  Would you like to see Mars?  Let me introduce you to Ray Bradbury.”

“Today you look like you need magic.  I think a dose of Ruth Chew will fix you right up.”

“I know you may feel lonely sometimes but I have friends I think you’d love to meet.  This is Francie Nolan and Celie Harris and Laura Ingalls-Wilder.  They will never, ever leave you.”

They knew the secret spider-web path from one book to the next.  They knew when it was too early for Melville.  They knew when to turn a blind eye as you furiously devoured the Stephen King books your mother didn’t think you were old enough for.  They knew when to pull out the special key and gloves and let you see their first edition of Alice in Wonderland, or the hidden-from-light, brittle, handwritten histories of the bordello that had done booming business next door to the library until the Texas Rangers shut it down.  They knew all the secrets that had ever been whispered and you hoped – in time – they would share them with you.

Librarians are how libraries speak.  Theirs are the small faces behind a million stories and facts.  Theirs are the simple hands that introduce you to the people who will shape you, and the ghosts that will haunt you, and the ideas that will drive you, and the friends that will never leave you.  They know the science of knowledge and beauty and laughter, and – though you can’t quite imagine it – they’ve cried over the same books that have broken and rebuilt your heart.  They’ve ridden in the same sleigh with the snow queen.  They’ve flown over London and sailed on pirate ships and visited Shangri-La and watched the world be destroyed and created and destroyed again.  And what they want more than anything else is to share those impossible journeys with you.

Librarians are magic – In every sense of the word.  And that’s why this particular recognition is one of the greatest things I could possibly imagine.  Because it feels like – in some small way – I’m giving back.  That I’m becoming  part of the tapestry of writers who reach out through time with their words to say, “Let me tell you a story.  Let me tell you about us.  You are not alone.”

One of the greatest gifts I will ever get is to imagine that one day soon, in a faraway town, a librarian may look down at searching eyes and say, “Yes.  You look like you need something special today.  Let me introduce you to my friend – Jenny Lawson.  She’s slightly profane and highly irreverent and I believe she may have exactly what you need.  I think you’ll be great friends.”

“Honored” doesn’t quite seem like a strong enough word for what I feel.  I need a better word.  I suspect a real writer would probably know that word immediately, but I’ll give it time until it comes to me.  And if it doesn’t come, I’ll do what I always do.  I’ll ask a magician.   I’ll ask a librarian.

 

 

421 thoughts on “A love letter to libraries

Read comments below or add one.

  1. This is a beautiful tribute Jenny. I have similar wonderful memories of libraries; growing up without much money meant my Mom got be hooked on reading through almost daily library visits.

    Congratulations. It’s an amazing honour.

  2. That is way cool, Jenny. Congrats.
    (I still vividly remember riding my bike to the library and checking out a hardcover copy of “The Hobbit.” I’m guessing I was probably nine or 10. I’ve loved the library every since.)

  3. When I started my job at the library (five loooong years this September), my boss told me I can call myself a librarian, but I don’t have a degree, so I’m really not a librarian. I’m a catalog technician, but without me, there is no library. How’s that for power?

  4. So true. My mom is a recently retired librarian. Well into adulthood, and even still now, I reach out to get for recommendations. Even cities apart….

  5. Wonderful news! Congratulations. Just to add to the accolades- my Dr. loves you too. She recommends you to her patients who are going through rough times. Your voice is special, wonderful, and life-affirming. Thank you endlessly <3

  6. One of the strongest memories I have of my own library was the moment the librarian told me I could borrow from the Adult section of the library,as long as I showed her first what I wanted to read. I felt so grown up!

  7. This was such a beautiful tribute to my favorite group of people! (I cried, too.) Libraries were my haven from boredom throughout my childhood and there’s nothing like being shepherded through them by a knowing librarian.

  8. Hi, librarian here. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was my addition to our Staff Picks display. My description: “This uncomfortably honest memoir will have you laughing and cringing and crying. From tales of teenage encounters with livestock to an inside look at what it’s like to be married to someone with an obsession for odd taxidermy, there is no getting away from how odd the author is, but you’ll love every minute of it.” And I say “odd” because I’m “odd” as well. Your book has meant so much to me and I am sharing it with others.

  9. So that made me cry. I don’t think I have ever heard someone say so exactly how I feel about books. Now if you’ll excuse me, the streets of Vienna and the mysteries of alchemical magic await me…

  10. I’ll share this on the library listserv I’m on. Thank you for validating librarians and libraries! It’s nice to hear such kind words when more and more, society tells us they can just find everything on the Internet. ;(

  11. So many tears. That’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen you write. The library in my little town was my safe place, where I went to hide from an increasingly traumatic childhood and even after that trauma had ended, where I went to escape from a family that didn’t understand, and the books protected me and took me away for a little while where I didn’t have to hurt anymore and then when I did go home I did so with that little paper suit of armor that would keep me safe for another little while.

    Congratulations on such a wonderful achievement, it is well earned and well deserved.

  12. Congratulations Jenny! You rock! I’m absolutely in love with you! Thank you for helping me get through my bad times with your humor. all my love,

    Elena

  13. I am in library school right now, often considering whether I made the right choice or not. You made me cry… I just… I don’t know what to say to be honest. I am printing this and am going to look at it every time I question the direction my life is taking. Thank you, Jenny.

  14. Beautifully written. Made me nostalgic for my hometown library from my childhood, which has been updated and upgraded for the benefit of all, but gleams a bit too brightly, smells a bit too new for my nostalgic sensibilities.

  15. I have tinglings from this entire post. I can only hope I (and my library) are living up to your beautiful picture you paint!

  16. Just wonderful. I cried when I read it. You have no idea how much that meant to me as a librarian and as a lifetime reader, encouraged by my mother – a single parent – who spent hours reading to me.. And it just reminds me of how generous and kind you and your readers were back in the winter when I asked for some advice for my anxious daughter on this very site. XO See you in Toronto this fall.

  17. So beautifully said (well, written, but seeing as I read it aloud in my head, it counts as said)
    I spent lots of time in libraries when i was younger. I was even the youngest ever member of the Westminster Library when i was 18 months old when I borrowed “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. I am not sure if I actually chose the book myself, but I still have a love for caterpillars who want to eat in a numerically ascending order. I am proud of this (the youngest member bit, although I should be even more proud by caterpillars who can count).
    It is always a wonderful thing to read that other people had and have the same joy in books and libraries and librarians (both human and orang-utans (not monkeys, please note this, definitely NOT monkeys)) because then the world seems a more cosy and happy place, so thank you 🙂

  18. Exactly how I feel; thank you. While my childhhood library is long gone, I could still draw a floor plan from memory, complete with card catalog & microfiche machines. I still visit the local libraries several times a week & check out the “Best Bets” offerings. I fully expect to see “Furiously Happy” on those shelves this fall.

  19. This made me cry, Jenny. I’m a librarian, in part because I had the same experiences that you did as a child at the library. I can’t remember all my teachers, but I still remember the Euclid, Ohio children’s Librarian Mrs. Shaughnessy. We don’t get paid much in real money, but get paid every day in the kind of service we give to our patrons, large and small. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for such a great tribute to what we do.

  20. Love the homage to the librarians and all the special memories. Still one of my favourite places to explore and escape. Congratulations on the book listing 😀

  21. You are so talented. Holy moly. Tears and chilly bumps. Phew. I agree with this on a level that defies words and explanation. Thank you for writing it.

  22. As a librarian, thank you. And so you know, some of us have already introduced you to readers knowing that you and your words are what they needed and exactly what they were looking for.

  23. My first job was in a library. The same one my father walked us to every few weeks. The same one where he cowed the librarian I later worked with into giving me an Adult card three years earlier than policy dictated. (When I later recounted my memory of that day, she laughed but remembered my dad as being nicer than I did.) You’re so right that libraries are magical places.

    And one of my favorite characters that I write about is a librarian (by day, crime fighting superhero by night). She made a point of recommending your first book to a number of people. (She’d recommend the heck out of Furiously Happy, too, if she hadn’t gotten laid off. Darn budget cuts. More time to fight crime?)

  24. A million times yes! You so eloquently stated what I feel and the amount of gratitude I have for libraries and librarians. I volunteer at my local library and am on the library foundation board. I’m so blessed to have a library that is so well supported by the community. Thank you, and I am number one on the request list for Furiously Happy from my library! I am NEVER first on the request list, and I’m so happy I am for your book!

  25. My mom pursued a degree in Library Science and achieved it in spite of being a single mom with no support. I was so proud of her at her graduation. (I was still in middle school at the time.) Unfortunately, she never had the nerve or the confidence in herself to actually pursue a position in a library. It was very sad. I’m still very sad for her about that in spite of the fact she’s been gone almost 9 years now. I wish she could have fulfilled that dream She would have been very good at it. I owe my voracious appetite for books to her and I’m truly grateful to her for that to this day.

  26. This made me cry, I love it fo so many reasons. It actually reminded me of the valedictorian speech Rory Gilmore gave in Season 3 of Gilmore girls, when she references all of the amazing things she’s done and places she’s gone through books. Thank you Jenny!

  27. My daughter and I were at the library 3 hours ago. Everything you said and then some. Plus, congratulations. Yours is a well-deserved honour. I would cry too. In fact, there appears to be some rain on my face right now. In Austin. In August.

  28. This is beautiful. Rings so true for me, too.

    And congratulations! What a wonderful gift!

  29. It’s suddenly so dusty in here. sniff

    For me, it wasn’t a librarian. It was a small bookstore owner. I’d come in any time I’d scrape a few bucks together. She’s watch me agonize between several books before choosing the ones I could afford, then tell me once I’d made it to the counter to go back and get that potential friend I’d had to leave behind. She’d set aside books for me that had recently come in that she thought I’d enjoy. She introduced me to so many of my very favorite books. Sadly, I went back after I’d grown and gone off to college to find out that she’d passed away while I was gone and that her store had been closed. I wish that I could tell her now how much her kindness meant to me.

    And now it’s all dusty again.

  30. I teared up by the end of your tribute to Librarians. I, too, remember fondly the trips we’d take to the library when I was little. My parents would pile my sister and I into the wagon and we’d walk to our neighborhood library. we could pick out as many books as would fit with the two of us in that little red wagon (sometimes I ended up having to walk beside on the way home). I am now a librarian (mostly because my father said that librarians know everything and I always wanted that power :). A few years ago there was employee turnover in our library and I was having a VERY hard time with the new leadership. A friend who was concerned about how unhappy I was sent me a link to a blog post. It was your post on Beyonce the chicken. I laughed for the first time in months when I read your post. Things got better, I no longer felt dread every time I entered my library. . . . and management has changed again. . . . but the turning point, sort of feels like that day I received the link to your blog. I’m not saying you cured my depression, but you helped shine some light in there. . . All that is a long way of saying that while you are grateful to librarians, there is at least one librarian who is grateful for what you do :).

  31. I remember going to the public library with my father just about every weekend. Out of his seven children, I was the only one who went with him on a regular basis. Like you I was shy and looking back probably had an anxiety disorder. It was a special time for me, going into what I considered “my world”. I was also the only child without any musical or athletic ability so I guess I may have used the library to hide from that fact.
    I do miss those times with my dad (gone 13 years now).

  32. I felt the same way about libraries as a kid. I remember knowing every single book in the “young adult” section and pouncing whenever a new one appeared. Congratulations on your recognition!

  33. My first job was as a library page (the person who shelves the books). I used to snag books and sit in the hidden parts of the stacks and read on the job. If I were working there now, I’d totally grab yours from the “hold” pile and read it while I was supposed to be shelving reference books. I’ll have to settle for hiding in my own house and reading it, instead.

  34. I am a librarian, and I have recommended your book to those special customers I think would benefit from it. You have written a truly beautiful love letter here and perfectly encapsulated why I wanted to be a librarian and why I love what I do. Thank you.

  35. This teared me up. I made some of the happiest memories of my childhood in the library. When my dad informed the librarian I was ready for the Adult books, I felt like I had been knighted. I would walk out of there with 5 or 6 books at a time. All kinds of books. Yes, Libraries are Magic.

  36. I remember many happy childhood hours at the Kalamazoo Library. Among the wonders? You could check out items other than books to take home. I had a special fondness for the taxidermic squirrel as a child. This sounds strange, looking back – so a little web searching shows that the Kalamazoo Valley Museum started out as a collection of curiosities in the basement of the Kalamazoo library and didn’t split off until 1984 (long after I had moved away). A library + a collection of curiosities – how great is that!

  37. Congratulations. That is a very high honor indeed. My favorite librarian was at Sunset Elementary School. She was magical and her library was my hiding place. ❤😢

  38. so beautifully written! a tree grows in brooklyn is my favorite book of my youth, i always felt that i WAS francie nolan!

  39. I am so glad you are sharing your gifts with the world and thrilled that so many others also appreciate them. I always love very word you write but this post has to be one of my top five favorites. Your ability to describe what so many of us have experienced as well as our deep emotions regarding libraries, has not only touched me, but made me even more in awe of you. And that, Ms. Lawson, is proof that you are absolutely a writer.

  40. My mother was the librarian in Menard, TX for 26.5 years. She was very proud of the half year! You described her perfectly!
    Thank you!

  41. I’m a librarian (Keeper of Knowledge, what uuuuup!) , and I’ve definitely recommended your book several times (and gifted it to my highly-inappropriate-but-infinitely-hilarious best friend). I can’t wait to see you when your book tour is in Dayton–it’s been on all of my calendars since you announced the dates! You’re amazing and we love you (as evidenced by ALA sharing this post on their Facebook page!!!).

  42. Thank you so much for this. I am also a librarian, and in a world where so many people say libraries aren’t needed anymore, this is one of many reasons that they are indeed, needed and important. And BTW, I pre-ordered my copy of Furiously Happy months ago.

  43. I just graduated with my MLIS (Masters of Library & Information Science), and in just this one post, you have brought back all the reasons I went into this field. You have made my day, my week, my year, and now I’m going to go on the hunt for a tshirt that says “I’m a librarian – what’s your super power?” My reason is because you said I’m magical. Thank you.

  44. “…I cried when I heard it..” And I cried when I read your post. I had the same experience when I was a child; that’s what led me to become a librarian. I’ve never regretted that choice.

  45. This gave me tingles and transported me right back to the library of my childhood: hushed, echoey, dusty smelling, and sanctuous. One of the best moments of my life was discovering a book series with a character who shared my weird name. I pulled it off a high shelf in the children’s library and my whole world lit up- it was the Betsy-Tacy Series by Maud Hart Lovelace. I am forever indebted to the Buena Vista Children’ Library in Burbank, CA. Thanks for taking me back there and congratulations!

  46. Congratulations on the recognition from the library.
    This is a beautiful post – one I think many of us can relate too, and anyone introduced to your books will be a very lucky one indeed.

  47. Jenny,
    That was absolutely beautiful! I have always love the library and books. Books have taken me to many places I will never go. They have been my friends when I have been isolated. They have helped me cope when my life is spiraling out of control. I always have books nearby. Our town has an amazing little library with amazing librarians. I can’t wait to get your book there. My grandparents had a junk store when I was younger and I use to dig through the boxes of old books. I loved the smell, still do. I found a paperback copy of Peyton Place. My Mom found me reading it and told me I was too young to read that. I was 13. But being the rebel I was I read it anyway! Congratulations to you!
    Jen….

  48. Sometimes it feels like you are peeking into my mind, my heart, my memories with what you write. Libraries and librarian’ meant the world to me as a girl as well (oh and my girl scout leaders). Thank you for this beautiful tribute. I can’t wait to read the book and meet you at your signing in LA!

  49. Yes! This gave me goosebumps, and made me tear up a little. A thousand times, yes. Congratulations!

  50. I also cried at this – because books were my safety, my treasures, my escape. I “volunteered” in my school library when I was 8, so that I didn’t have to go out for recess. I was terribly bullied in school, but the library was safe, and as I shelved the books I made note of the next ones I wanted to read.

    I read through the entire childrens’ section of my small local public library before I was 10, and then I discovered that there was a REGIONAL Library! With even MORE books! I remember my mother having to write a letter so that they would allow me an “adult” card when I was 11 – partly because I’d run out of SF&F in the childrens’ section but also because it came with a higher borrowing limit so that it took me almost a WHOLE WEEK to run out of things to read! I remember the day I was judged to be “old enough” to ride my bike to the regional library on my own – suddenly I was master of my own destiny! (and a very tippy bicycle with panniers full of books). .

    When I cut class in High School, it was to hide at one of the desks in the back section of the library and read. My ‘First Class’ project in Girl Scouts was to help create the first “YA” section in the newly expanded town library – with couches and pillows and books just for us. (I’d read them all years before, of course, but loved the idea that someone else could find something in that space something that spoke to them. I remember the first days of being able to “dial in” to the public library’s BBS and reserve a book with my computer! And when I bought my condo, one of the factors I considered was that it is an easy 4 block walk to the neighborhood branch library. And then I discovered that authors were also on the internet, and I could get to know them through their personal writings, and find out what THEY like to read. And nearly all of them have the same deep and abiding love of libraries and stories just like yours and like mine.

    That’s pretty neat.

  51. This is beautiful and made me cry! I feel the same way about libraries and books. I volunteered weekends as a library page in my hometown when I was 12 year told and then ended up working as an assistant librarian for all the summers of high school. It was amazing place to be. It was very small (there were just two of us as full-time employees) so I got to do it all: ordering, repairs, radio spots, inventory, procurement. It was such a great job. And so wonderful to help people choose books and to recommend new authors to people (particularly kids) and watch them become enchanted with the same books that I was enchanted with.

  52. We spend a lot of time at our library – probably because my daughter’s school doesn’t seem to have a librarian, just a library. We go to story time every Saturday, and my daughter is completely at home in the library…except when the director is there – then she sort of behaves like she’s in a library. The librarians are our friends and we love to hang out and talk about everything, including books. But it’s a loud and raucous place for us…

    This is a lovely tribute and it made me tear up. Thanks!

  53. Yes! I still see my childhood librarian sometimes, and when I do there is such joy in remembering how wonderful it felt to step into the magical world where all my book friends live. A new book, or a treasured re-read still gives me that feeling.

  54. Congratulations and thank you for this post. Both of my parents were librarians and I literally grew up in libraries. Your words captured much of the spirit of my parents and my childhood memories.

  55. I too am a librarian (we’re all coming out of the woodwork today!) and I have sent countless customers and staff home with “lets pretend this never happened”. One of the best perks of my job is that I put the orders and reserves on for new books…. which means that I’m top of the reserve list for “furiously happy”. YAY!! But thank you, thank you, thank you for writing how we’ve all felt at some point in our lives.
    P.S. I’m totally printing this, and the comments, out for my co-workers to read

  56. I am a librarian and was lucky to receive an ARC of Furiously Happy. I can only say it was a very well deserved nomination. The book spoke to me in ways I can’t even describe. It helped me make better peace with my mental illness to know I am not alone and I will never be alone as long as people like you keep talking about it. Thank you for writing two wonderful books. I’ve recommended your titles to as many patrons as I can.

  57. This was wonderful and beautiful. I’m a big reader currently raising 2 future readers ( an almost 6 and 2 year old) my almost 6 year old and I are reading the Harry Potter series and my almost 2 year old and I read anything about bunnies. We love our weekly trips to the library. Libraries are magical. You meet new people, travel to new places, see new things, and learn new things. And an added bonus..it’s always cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s a pleasant place to be.
    I cannot wait to read your new book.

  58. Hi, Jenny. I am a librarian. I had not expected to be a librarian, but no matter what I did, I somehow always ended up in a library. I earned my Masters of Library Science when working in a library became what I wanted to do when I grew up. I have worked at a suburban branch library as a children’s librarian and now I work at a main library in a largish city. I am one of the intrepid Science & Technology librarians there. I love what I do. Whether working as a children’s librarian or in an adult department like the one I am currently in, I never limited young people to the children’s room. Why? Well a librarian who saw the book hunger in me, and a mother who read all the chances she had, but who could not always get to the library, both trusted me to select and read adult books. I brought books by the armloads for my mother and myself when my sisters and I made our weekly walk to the library.

    Reading your tribute to libraries and librarians brings back memories. Thank you for this. By the way, I loved the first book and am 2nd on the waiting list for Furiously Happy. I can’t wait. Thank you, again.

  59. What a beautiful tribute…I haven tears in my eyes for being that little girl and for your well-deserved honor…<3

  60. You made me tear up with your description of libraries and the secrets held dear by librarians shared only with the willing/eager few. Reminds me of growing up in a rural Idaho town and the secret to joy that I found at the local library. Thank you for this, and congratulations on a well deserved honor.

  61. Thank you so very much for this. I’ve worked in the Youth Room of my local library for over nine years, and this describes so beautifully and perfectly why I love libraries and have wanted to work at one since I learned how to read. Your description of magical librarians brought me to tears, because I want so desperately to be someone’s special librarian, introducing them to the joy of the books I love so dearly. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  62. It doesn’t surprise me at all that so many librarians comment here. They are the best. For all of history before Google, if you needed to know something, a librarian was your only hope.
    Congratulations, and thank you for the beautiful post. I read it aloud to my friend and she thanked me for doing so (and you for writing it).

  63. Libraries were very important to me growing up. I too was painfully shy and escaped my world through books. I think I was the only kid in elementary school allowed to take out a new book every day instead of only one a week. In the summer the bookmobile would come around once a week where I would get my fix until the next week.
    My five year old grandson got his library card yesterday and picked out an assortment of books.
    Looking forward to seeing you in Washington DC in October.

  64. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this. I’m a brand new librarian–the director of a small, rural library in Michigan. For whatever reason, today has been difficult: building problems, a looming board meeting, and a to-do list that feels unending has me feeling a bit overwhelmed. This morning, I went to a meeting and left feeling burnt out and discouraged, doubting myself and feeling in over my head. It’s so helpful to read things like this post; to remind myself why I do what I do and why it will forever be my passion. I hope that one day I can influence someone like your librarian influenced you. Thank you again for the reminder, Jenny. You’ve made this rough day a bit easier.

  65. As a librarian thank you for the wonderful words, it’s people like you that see the beauty of libraries that make me love my job. I’m so excited to read your new book and share it with my patrons.

  66. You have created a sea of grateful tears out here, mine included. My poster child horrible childhood was saved and awesomely reinvented in libraries. Thank you for shining the memories, you beautiful woman, you.

  67. I cannot remember not knowing how to read. I know I already knew how to read when I started kindergarten, so books have always been special to me. I’m not a librarian, but your tribute to them brought tears to my eyes because I love them so. The librarian in the Lafayette library was the one who overrode my 1st-grade teacher’s objections as my 6-year-old self left the Children’s section and starting picking books from the Adult section. Librarians has always been heroes.

  68. Jenny, congrats on the well-deserved honor! I’m a librarian, and I’ve been recommending Let’s Pretend This Never Happened to a variety of folks. I started reading it while at the hospital with my brother while my mom was in surgery. I was laughing so hard, I had to let my brother read some passages and share in the weirdness. You helped us through a rough day, and I hope I can return the favor in some small way. Now I’m waiting on my copy of Furiously Happy and telling people about that as well. Read on!

  69. I always think of librarians as the original “google” anything I needed to know, they knew just where to find it. They were the search engine of my childhood.

  70. Well, now I’m crying. I never had a particularly special relationship with librarians (far too shy to talk to even them), but your words on libraries and books and the magic they bring to the world reminded me all over again why I found so much passion in reading as a child. Now that I have to be an adult every day and have few precious minutes to get lost in books, I sometimes forget that magic. Thank you, thank you, Jenny. I’m glad I had friends who looked into my searching eyes and said, “I know exactly who you need to meet – Jenny Lawson.”

  71. This had me sobbing. What a beautiful tribute. I feel the same way about libraries and librarians. Also, I discovered you in 2012 and your first book went straight to the top of my tools against depression. You and Carol Burnett are my heroines. Every time I think of the phrase “I’ve poisoned something in the fridge. Good luck with that.” I laugh and laugh. It makes me feel better and evil at the same time. 🙂 Thank you so much for writing Jenny. I am so blessed to have found you.

  72. Bless you, Jenny Lawson! I was at the library daily during the summer months as a child – it was down the street from my grandmother’s house, where I stayed while my parents were at work. I found it so comforting and magical that I became a librarian myself so I can experience the magic from the other side!

  73. Beautiful! Libraries are magical places, I loved not just the school or town library when I was young, growing up in a village, but also the mobile library.

  74. OH MY GOD, you just solved one my major life mysteries. As a child, I remember the exact shelf that had one of my favorite books, but I’ve been searching the description for years and never finding the book.

    The name Ruth Chew rung an immediate bell so I looked up her bibliography. Turns out, it’s the Wednesday Witch! I am buying this right now to share with my son (or maybe I’ll head over to my local library)…

  75. Oh! This is a wonderful post!
    I have very fond memories of making the trip into the next town every other Saturday to go to the county library. They had a (ridiculous-to-me) limit on the amount of books you could check out at one time. It was nearly painful trying to decide which books I needed to survive the next two weeks.
    Thankfully my mom didn’t have any problem with adding a few of my books to her list, and we’d both leave the library with our arms piled high with books that I would devour over and over until it was time to make the trip back two weeks later to return them and check out more.
    Ruth Chew and Ruth Cristoffer Carlsen were my two favorite authors as a child, with Madeline L’Engle coming in a close third once I got a bit older. I think I read the ink off many, many copies of their books! And as an adult, searched high and low for copies of those treasured friends to add to my own home library.
    Congratulations on such a high honor!

  76. Lovely, lovely, lovely. That’s all I can think after reading your post Jenny. What a wonderful tribute to libraries. And what a wonderful tribute to YOU. You rock.

  77. “Honored” is a good word. “Humbled” might work too. Well done. I’m ordering Furiously Happy right now … then I’ll wait. For the book in Sept., then your visit to AZ in Dec. Yeah!

  78. This is my first time posting (rather than lurking), but I can’t let the opportunity to talk about special librarians pass by. Mrs. Curtain was my children’s librarian and she used to have to limit me to ten books a week. As you said, she always knew the right thing to suggest and was always there for a little girl who loved to read. When I was in college I had a memory of a book I’d read as a child, but couldn’t remember the title of the book or the author. All I knew was it was a little girl who went to live with her grandparents and wanted to have yellow rose wallpaper in her bedroom. These were the days before Google, so on a break from school when I was home, I went to Mrs. Curtain and gave her those few details. She not only knew exactly what book it was (The Golden Name Day by Jennie Lindquist), she took me right to it on the shelf.

    Years later I heard that she had passed, and went to her wake without knowing anyone in her family, to pay my respects, and was able to tell her son that she was the reason I love to read.

    Congrats on the great honor. I look forward to your signing in Boston!

  79. An amazing honor, and a beautiful response by you.

    I’ve always loved libraries, and even though I was too shy when I was a kid to interact much with the librarians, I loved them too, since they were the keepers of the books that were treasure to me. Even now, when my bookshelves and Kindle and iPad are bursting with books, I have still been known to flee to a library when I need to find peace and happiness.

  80. This legitimately made me cry. Though I’m a librarian, my specific job isn’t traditionally what people think of when they think librarians. When stuck in the day to day specifics of my job, it’s easy to forget how important what we do is to people. This was exactly what I needed to read today.

  81. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so emotionally connected to a blog post before. Thank you for this (And can’t wait for your book!)

  82. Hi, I’m a librarian and I have personally put “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” in many hands of those I knew needed it or would appreciate it. Some of them are fellow librarians who have passed it along. That day is already here!

  83. I’m so envious. My mom took us to the library frequently as well, bit I don’t remember ever interacting with a librarian beyond bein told I was too young for Sherlock Holmes; I was only 7 so maybe she thought I wasn’t up to it?
    And in 3rd grade the school librarian started locking the door at lunch to make me stay out and go to recess with the other kids.

  84. I used to sneak out during lunch hour and read books hidden behind the library shelves. I only learned to read when I was 8 but when I could I devoured every book I could get my hands on <3

    Congratulations! 😀

  85. The first summer I was allowed to ride my bike to the library BY MYSELF I had a problem in that I checked out more books than I could actually get home. So I would make two trips home with all my books. It never occurred to me to put some books back!

    Your essay on librarians is lovely. So heartfelt.

  86. I too am a librarian, and I grew up in libraries for many of the reasons you mention. I am so blessed to have such a rewarding career, filled with books and computers and the people who love them. I feel that, yeah, we’re the bomb, but the patrons are equally magical. Their wonderful secret lives and needs, the writers and wordsmiths and story lovers they turn out to be, the fact that they thought of coming to us with a question in the first place – we would be nowhere without you. Thanks.

  87. OMG! Ruth Chew! I am suddenly transported back to being, what? 9? 10? and delving into books about magic, magical things (flying vacuum cleaners), magical creatures (No Flying in the House), and wonderment. And the BOOKMOBILE! that was my favorite in school. I take my son to the library every weekend. When we have extra time, we might work on a puzzle, take a class, build legos, play on computers. I want him to want to go to the library – just like me. Just like all of us – your fans & friends. What a great group of people! What a great post! What a great honor!
    I am so happy for you!

  88. Gorgeous! When I was little, the library was the field trip I took with my father–just special time for the two of us. And I totally relate to the Stephen King reference–I devoured all his books at probably too young an age. I still remember hanging a cross on my bedpost to keep away the vampires from ‘Salem’s Lot!

  89. I’m a librarian and a lover of libraries and I’m on the verge of tears after reading this (but holding myself back because I’m working at the reference desk as I type this). I’m also currently listening to the audiobook of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened on my way to and from work. I also also had a bad attack of social anxiety this morning at work and consider tweeting to you about it, but thought you get so many tweets every day, you probably wouldn’t see mine or you might not be in a state of mind to deal with someone else’s social anxiety or whatever. Anyway, thank you thank you thank you for writing this! <3 <3 <3

  90. i had a very dysfunctional childhood. The library was my escape. I remember practicing writing my name over and over when I was five, because I wasn’t allowed a library card of my own until I could sign for it. My older sister taught me so that I too could experience this magical land on my own. We lived close enough to walk and many a time I’d go there by myself when I had no other safe place to go and let myself get lost in worlds so much better than the one in which I currently lived. When I think of libraries and librarians I don’t just think of all the wonderful stories I could meander through, I look at it as a sanctuary.

  91. Please tell me you visited the main branch of the TGC library and saw that giant paper mâché dinosaur they had in the kids department. We’re not that far apart in age, so I hope you remember it. It was glorious.

    (The downtown one? I still remember the plastic chairs shaped like animals. My sister would sit on the back of the giraffe and I’d flip the turtle upside down and rock in it’s shell while I read. I seriously would pay money for that chair in my size now. ~ Jenny)

  92. This is such a lovely tribute to the guardians of the most magical place on earth. We have a little free library in our neighborhood. I think they were created because we can’t always get to the big library, so they are an outpost where you can get a drink of wonder and a bite of adventure to tide you over.

  93. (P.S., I put your book on my staff rec shelf all the time and we’ve had to reorder twice now because they get read so much that they fall apart. I hope knowing this gives you warm fuzzy feelings!)

  94. And we librarians love you as well!! This made my day and is such a beautiful summation of why we do what we do! You are an inspiration 🙂

  95. I worked in various types of Libraries for about a decade. There is a silence and a calm that I love. Putting items in order gave me a sense of things being right with the world. I also loved holding and flipping through an old book from the 1800’s or older..I would wonder what the lives of the prior readers were like. What gender, how much education they had, etc.
    I still love the smell of a Library when I walk through the stacks.

    E

  96. Congrats! Jenny. My friend introduced me to your blog not too long ago and I have never laughed so hard in my life. I too have an anxiety disorder and the library was my haven. The smells and sounds brought me comfort when I had very few people in my life. My grandmother fed my imagination by taking me to the library two or three times a week, knowing I would be going on my adventures. I still remember my grandmother pulling up this dusty box full of Nancy Drew mysteries that she had been saving for me. I still go on as many adventures even when my husband gets frustrated with my nose stuck in a book. Thank You for your amazing talent and sharing it with the world.

  97. I can’t wait for my librarian daughter to read this. She introduced your book to me and I’ve thankful ever since!

  98. As a librarian and current staff member of a library, I just wanted to tell you that your book meant so much to me! I suffer from anxiety and depression and to be able to recommend a book that is not only hilarious but discusses both frankly…well, it means a ton. I not only have book talked your book to many patrons, but I’ve also featured it numerous times on our “staff recommends” shelf, and it gets taken! People love it and are super excited for the next one.

  99. Oh Jenny, how VERY wonderful for you!!!! Congratulations! And thank you for the lovely way you described the magic of libraries and librarians. I’ve know a few of those special, magical seers myself. They will love knowing that they are in a mutual-admiration society with you.

  100. I worked at a library for over 7 years, and my favorite times were in the children’s department. Introducing little ones to my favorite books and stories were such a joy, and I loved listening to them to find out what their favorite stories were. I also loved doing story time and crafts with the kids! I still love going to the library and browsing through the shelves.

  101. Thank you. I cried while reading this because you took everything I ever thought, felt, or wanted to say and put it in these paragraphs. It is and was my special place too. A place of solitude, safety, adventure, and more magic than anywhere else in this world. Congratulations for this wonderful honor and thank you for speaking my heart.

  102. Wow! What a magnificent writer you are…every word of your post was beautiful…and perfectly spot on to all of us who loved our libraries and librarians as kids.

  103. Sitting in a hotel room, on my way to see my big kid and I have tears pouring down my face…

    I’m not sure who I saw this from originally but my favorite library “quote” is where a Mom takes her child into one and says “We have to be quiet, the books are sleeping.”

    Lastly, the bit “As a small girl in rural Texas” has me picturing Neil Gaiman from the Let’s Pretend Trailer, where he’s trying to insist that he is indeed, Jenny Lawson.

  104. Thank you for this Jenny. <3 I know the magic of libraries from my childhood and I hope I’m one of those librarians that kids love to come talk to and ask for recommendations now. I had dreams of writing one of the stories that live on our shelves but I think I may have to be content with dreaming along with the world and living vicariously through others words. I’m ok with that. I get to introduce children, teens, and adults to some amazing writers. 😀

  105. Thanks. As a librarian this is wonderful to read. As someone who grew up loving books and libraries, yeah you got it.

  106. Congratulations, Jenny! It was actually my high school librarian that led me to you. I used to hide in the library when I was having rough times in high school, and one day, I heard her snorting with laughter, and asked her what she was reading. She handed me your book, and I swear, it really did change my life. I went there every single day to hang out with you through your book. I couldn’t wait to get to third period, just so I could sit in the back corner and laugh to myself about the cow vagina incident, or how Victor busted your nose when y’all were dating. Your writing has given me the confidence I always needed to be exactly who I have always been, and not be ashamed of that. So thank you, for getting me through high school. I am buying your book for my old librarian, as soon as it comes out. <3

  107. As a small “l” librarian, (No library degree,) this makes me so happy to read. I grew up in the library and was a voracious reader. I call myself an accidental librarian. I went to school for biology and never knew I wanted to be a librarian until I was a new mother faced with the need to find a non-seasonal job. I got a job in the circulation department and found what I was looking for all along. Like others above me, your book is my “Staff Pick” on our display. Thank you for your kind words.

  108. This was so beautiful I cried. I continue to feel the same way about libraries and librarians, especially now that my children have fully developed the “reader gene.” I have always said that visiting a library and finding books you have already read is like visiting old friends. And you are a “real writer”! 🙂

  109. This made me cry … in a totally good way. If you’ve got a book, you’ve got a friend, my mum always said. Libraries and bookshops are my places of worship – all that knowledge, ;all those new people to meet and new places to see. A beautiful piece of writing that speaks to the heart of many a bookworm x

  110. THIS. This. THIS. Thank you.
    I need to remember that THIS is what my job is about. Not showing people how to print their tax form. For the twenty-seventh time. Or trying to figure out if what they’re watching on the public computers is ‘really’ considered porn. So little of our focus is on books now, though that’s where the magic hides. This makes me wish I could wear my book fairy costume to work every fucking day.

  111. Bravo! Beautiful tribute and immediately brought me back to my young childhood years being thrilled going to the library once a week and I got to pick out whatever book I wanted and always took home what seemed like a mountain to a girl barely in elementary school. Grew up in elementary and high school still loving the library. Even today, in my 50’s, a bookstore is one of my absolute favorite places on Earth. Ah the adventure and thrills that await by just walking through the door.

  112. This hit me right in the heart and made me cry thinking about how much comfort and company I, too, found (and still find) in books. One of the greatest things my mother ever did for me, her nervous, shy, sickly little girl, was teach me to read early and sign me up for a library card as soon as I could write my name. It has meant that no matter what, I never have to be completely alone.

    I really can’t wait for your new book, Jenny.Thank you for putting your voice out into the world.

  113. I couldn’t agree more. This post made me cry. Long time reader of your blog first time poster. I too was terribly shy and avoided people by always having my head in a book. Libraries are my favorite places. Librarians are weird & wonderful. I wanted to be one for a long time before social work caught me. My husband & I always sing the “bear in the big blue house” song ‘ everything is great about the library’. If you don’t know it you should. Congrats on this honor. You deserve it & I’ll be sure to tell our local librarians to recommend your book to others.

  114. I’m a recently retired school librarian (34 years) and if you are well reviewed in the library review literature your book will be bought by thousands of libraries. I wish you well and hope that millions of readers benefit from your wisdom and humor.

  115. The librarian in Gregory Sherl’s novel The Future for Curious People says:
    “But here, at the library, the patrons take the books out as a kind of foster care program–into the world and back again.
    “If they don’t come back? Well, some books are meant to live in the wilds. There’s not much you can do about that.”

  116. Awww, thank you, Jenny, for the library love.
    Your vision of librarianship is wonderful but, for me, you stated the most important reason for doing this job when you said “They knew when to turn a blind eye as you furiously devoured the Stephen King books your mother didn’t think you were old enough for”
    Freedom to find the information you want to find.
    We do our damndest to protect that freedom because you and I and all of us deserve to know what we want to know and to explore knowledge as we see fit.

    When I was a kid, I loved my local library because there were guinea pigs in the children’s section and some of the librarians would let them out and you could read them stories. The guinea pigs, I mean. Well, and the librarians, since they were right there, too.

  117. Made me feel so wonderful be work in a library! I always loved reading (my happy place as a kid) and love my job. You make me smile!

  118. Years ago I went to library school in Baton Rouge, and this reminds me why. It made me cry, which I don’t do easily. I am linking to this on my Facebook and tagging every librarian I know.

  119. as a fan…and also a Librarian. thank you for reminding me why i love the path that lead me to this calling. for elucidating those childhood mysteries that still call out loudly in my brain. and just for being you. i like you.. thanks.

  120. First off, congratulations on your book being selected! It’s not just your post that made me teary today. It’s also imagining all the librarians reading it and feeling truly seen and honored…as evident in the comments you are receiving. And reading commenters’ memories of how special libraries were to them as children. What a gift you’ve given all of us.

    I’m another person who learned to write her name — in cursive, yet! — so I could have my very own library card at the age of 3! I remember standing on a chair at the wooden counter, laboriously signing that vanilla colored card. I still have it as a talisman 52 years later. Remember those machines that looked like overhead projectors, where your card and the book’s index card were photographed? The sound? Sigh. I still leave libraries with sacks if books and feel as though I’ve somehow gotten away with something. I mean, they let you take home all these wonderful books FOR FREE!!! Life is good.

  121. Wonderful. I miss the expectation that a library is a quiet place. My childhood one had the Andrew Carnegie plaque on the side and was all high ceilings and dark woodwork.

  122. Your experience is similar to mine – and is why I have been a librarian for 25 years. When I was 6 years old, I filled out a copy of Dr. Seuss’ “My Book About Me”, and in the section where you fill in what you want to be when you grow up, I put LIBRARIAN, complete with backwards b’s and r’s. I’m looking forward to seeing your book cross my desk at my public library. Thank you 🙂

  123. I recently left the classroom to become the school media specialist (the new fancy term for librarian). After teaching English to middle schoolers for 18 years, I was having second thoughts about my new position. Truthfully, I loved the classroom, and didn’t truly want to leave it. I have been uneasy about my decision since. This posting has made me remember how special libraries, and the school librarians who let me hide among the books with them, were to me as a child. Thank you for giving my my mission for the next few years.

  124. It kills me that nearly all of Ruth Chew’s books are out of print. I loved them when I was a kid. On the rare occasion that I find one in a used bookstore, I snap it up.

    (I found most of them at used bookstores but they are coming back in print now. Yay! Wednesday Witch comes back out in a few months. The covers are different but the stories are the same. ~ Jenny)

  125. You took me right back to MY childhood…and my relationship with books. It’s been a while since I’ve visited the library…I think a visit is due.

  126. Oh man, this made me teary-eyed. This is the most beautiful (and familiar!) description of being a book-loving child in a library. I am so, SO happy that you to get this honor 🙂

  127. I cried when I drove through “downtown” Arlington, Texas, and saw that the main library had been torn down. Where did all those books go? Why would someone tear down a library, especially the main library in our city? There is nothing like holding a book in your hands, and seeing all the names and dates of people who checked out that book before you…Kindle and instant gratification just isn’t the same.

  128. Jenny- I loved this so very much! I always felt the same about libraries and books. I read your first book, died laughing, and I’ve been reading your posts every time a new one comes out, and as a 64-yr old woman who JUST RECENTLY got diagnosed with Asperger’s I wonder if you have ever thought of it or been tested. 🙂 Just a friendly thought!

  129. Congratulations a well deserved honor! I was also the little girl who ran anxiously to our library every day after school to search for that one book that let me slip into another world. 😉 G-uno

  130. Next Tuesday I begin my 12th year as a high school librarian. Thanks for the love and you just convinced me to pre-order your book :).

  131. Wow Jenny, this is so beautifully written and captures my childhood experience with libraries as well. I’m 54 now and the library is still part of normal life and still a magical place. Going on the hunt for one book and finding half a dozen others that you MUST have on this trip is one of the most joyous outings for me.
    Please take a minute to pop into the Central Library when you come to Powell’s in the fall. It’s just a couple of blocks away and you will love it, particularly the children’s room.

  132. Thank you so much. I am a librarian, and as with any job, some days are easier than others. Thank you for reminding me what I am and why I do what I do. I am seriously sitting at my desk in the back of the library weeping over my keyboard.

  133. Absolutely lovely. We spent a few weeks this summer looking for a new school for our boys, and the first thing we wanted to see on each tour or open house was the library. Our school is closing down, and we don’t know what’s happening to the books in the library, and it makes us very sad. Thank you for sharing this touching tribute, and congratulations.

  134. As an only child, books were my world. We had a fabulous library in the town where I grew up, and some years, during summer break, I would be there every single day. From the genealogy books in the basement, to the microfiche of newspapers and periodicals tucked in a corner on the second floor, every time I walked through the doors, it felt familiar. Books were my friends, my teachers, my travel agents, my therapists, they have comforted, consoled, inspired, encouraged, educated, soothed, and amused me. The library was the magical place that offered a safe, familiar place for those things to happen. I felt more comfortable at our library, than I did at my home. I don’t get that feeling anywhere else.

    And I’m sorry, my friend, no one gets to speak that eloquently and still claim to not be a “real writer”. A most heartfelt, and WELL deserved congratulations.

  135. I love libraries too. And I have for a long time! But most of all, congratulations on telling the truth and writing a real tribute about everyday life. I can’t wait to read this one!

  136. This, so much this. I loved and practically lived in the library as a child. I could never have verbalized what you have written here, thank you for saying it so beautifully.

  137. Hi Jenny, I work in a university library and I love my job so much. Growing up my local public library was important to me too. I always had new worlds to escape to and new friends to meet. Thank you for your hilarious books and super awesome blog. This post made my day :-).

  138. I love everything that you have to say about libraries. I love that the words coming pouring out of you with truth and wisdom and the fact that your words made me cry. Bless you. It is one of those many times that your words fill me with emotion.

  139. Well, I can tell you without a doubt that librarians in far away places are recommending your books and inviting new people to be part of your tribe. How do I know? Because loads of people in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada hear about you from me 🙂

  140. What a fantastic honor! Everything you said about libraries and librarians? Pure poetry. Thanks for making me recall the feeling of my childhood library with all its niches and polished wood and the two librarians: one saintly, angelic, biblio-omniscient lady; and one crabass who thought every child was probably going to do something heinous to the books. Good times!

  141. This made me cry and I am not ashamed to say so. My favorite librarian was my mother. No, not by profession but passion, my parents are still bibliophiles. She once spent an entire summer labeling and sorting the home library into Dewey Decimal order. (After leaving home my parents moved to a bigger house, one where all the books could be put in one room and finally formalize their personal library.) She read everything to us and knew how to put the magic into books. Several chapters into Treasure Island we drove to Corpus Christi for a day trip to walk around on the replica boats of Columbus’ ships. A year later on a driving trip to California she read The Lord of the Rings, carefully timing the fellowships arrival at Lothlorien to our arrival in Sequoia National Park. I will forever think of Galadriel and the mighty Mallorn trees when I see the Giant Redwoods. When I read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books on my own she pulled out the crafts, we sewed dolls and made candy. When I got into Judy Blume we went and visited a synagog. She hasn’t stopped yet either. Last summer she funded a driving trip east to visit family across Louisiana, Alabama and Virginia. We took turns driving and reading Tom Sawyer to my girls, and rode the paddle boat in New Orleans.

  142. As a librarian, I am happy to tell you that I have already introduced many of my patrons to my friend, Jenny Lawson: profane, irreverent, awesome. And they love you. 🙂

  143. As a children’s librarian, I love the tribute, but mostly…What the Witch Left was my absolute favorite childhood book! That’s what brings me the most joy in my job, bringing books that kids will LOVE to them.

  144. I am a librarian (still in my first year, but still a librarian) and I have totally recommended you. I had someone come in and say that they liked memoir type books by sassy women, and I said “I know just the author!” Thank you for your work.

  145. you don’t typically make me cry… and it might be that lately, even kids shows are making me cry (not to discount the beauty of what was written here) but you made me cry today. (it was a good cry, not a sad cry. My mom would call it “love leaking out”) I’m happy you are ___________. Whatever that word ends up being 🙂

  146. This made me cry! You just verbalized so beautifully why I grew up wanting to become a librarian and why I love my job so much. I can’t wait to see your new book on the shelves.

  147. That was beautiful! Libraries were my haven, my special place, the world where I dreamed it and thought it and wished it — and sometimes they came true.
    I was deeply and forever traumatized when I was accused – falsely – of stealing money from a librarian’s purse one day, and banned from my grade school library. I cried and cried and swore I hadn’t done it, but apparently I’d been the only one there… and so the fingers pointed at me, the kid who spent all her spare time in the library where a lovely white-haired librarian introduced me to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, where I first found a Little Princess and a Secret Garden. Fortunately, middle school and high school were not long away and there was a city library nearby where I could move my hopes and dreams.
    I miss those old libraries.

  148. You said it beautifully. I wish I had understood librarians as well when I was young. To me, they were part of the adult world, which couldn’t be trusted. But I enjoyed the fact that they kept the library a place where I could find magic. I could have become one, but became a wild man of dance instead. Youth is its own kind of magic, I suppose.
    Thank you for everything you write. You’ve lightened my heart and gifted me with raucous laughter and reminded me that we should make good on this once-around. And congratulations. You truly make a difference.

  149. As a passionate children’s librarian, your post m made me terribly happy, but all these responses are so amazing. Food for all of our book loving, story time conducting, craft making souls. Thank you all who are sharing your stories, especially someone who mentioned a local library where I can pass the message on to staff I know. Libraries matter. Take a child to one tomorrow!

  150. I swear we are kindred spirits! The more I read from you the more I am convinced. Thank you so much for being you and sharing.

  151. Put this one in the next book. This was beautiful and I am glad someone else loved the old library as much as I did. Mine had a glass front dollhouse that I would gaze at imagining stories. The magic pebble, the Borrowers, Zack and the Magic Factory, Anne of Green Gables…. So many friends. I miss card catalogues too. Computers may be quicker but learning to use the filing system was part of the adventure. I recommended your 1st book to so many friends and I am sure I will be doing the same with this new one. Thank you, as always for sharing.

  152. Beautiful, it made me tear up. My mom read a lot to me, too, but we didn’t have a town library. I read everything in the elementary school library, and when there was nothing left to read, they let me sneak into the high school one. Libraries and bookstores are sacred spaces, and you’ve captured that brilliantly.

  153. Wow, you’ve perfectly captured everything I’ve ever loved about going to the library. I had forgotten what it was like to go to the library as a child until I read this, and it all came flooding back to me. Almost made me tear up.

  154. The library was always a magical place for me too….until one of my high school years….I actually had my dream come true and I got to be an assistant….I could help check out and shelve books and make recommendations in the county/school library….then some jerks/jocks made some threats about assaulting me there and completely ruined it for me….I wasn’t allowed to be there alone….I was actually blamed for them saying what they said. Me, a shy mouse of a person that was just learning to come out of her shell finally….It set me back to where I refused to date any one from the small town I lived in. I even had dates from another town for my Junior and Senior Proms. Neither one were boyfriends. They were friends of my family that were boys. Anyways, I digress. I love libraries again and made sure my kids were read too even if my daughter is the only one that reads. My son makes sure his kids read and are read to. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST CONGRATS!!!!! <3

  155. My father recently passed away, but one of the things he did in his retirement was deliver library books to local Day Care Centers. At his calling hours two ladies came up to me who I didn’t know. They were the children’s Librarians and they gushed over my father (who was a most wonderful man). They would be dedicating a book in his memory in the library and was there any special one. He had been a 4th grade elementary school teacher for many years and one of the favorite books he liked to read to his class was “How to eat fried worms”, so I suggested that. They were delighted with the idea and I like the thought children for years to come will check out that book and perhaps read the dedication page and wonder who was Adrian Lane. Those two librarians made a very difficult evening a little less so.

  156. Jenny, you’ve made this librarian cry. Thank you for this. May I share this with our patrons?

  157. My hometown had an old Carnegie Library. I can still remember the smell of the books, the creak of the wood floor, the dust as it floated through the air. And this one librarian. She was the Children’s Librarian, and her realm was the Children’s section in the basement. She knew what books to recommend, what stories you might need to hear that day. She was wonderful.
    This is such a wonderful honor for you Jenny! I am so excited for you, and so excited for the book! Thank you for adding to the magic that is a library.

  158. I work in the libraries at MIT. I wonder if this will pop up on our internal mailing list when I get to work tomorrow? If not I might have to make it happen.

    Thank you, this is amazing beyond words.

  159. First, I was going to shout, “Amen!” Then, it got too right, too beautiful, too poignant for shouting, so I cried. This is so expressive, so in resonance with what so many of us feel for libraries. I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. At 55, I still do. I aspire someday to be as wise and wonderful as you and I know librarians are. Thank you.

  160. I cried a little also.. Many of my childhood days were spent roaming, hiding, just being in the public library.. There is something so dear about that place. Congrats!

  161. You made this librarian weep. I read your first book in the staff room of the library I manage, and by the time my staff got done asking me why I was giggling so much, I read the first few paragraphs out loud and all the librarians we’re laughing as hard and as quietly as they could.
    Thank you for adding to our treasures, Jenny!

  162. I HAVE recommended your book and your blog and your audio book to friends, patrons, family members, and complete strangers because YOU are amazing. YOU are magic.
    And thank you for your kind words.

  163. Does “beloved” work?

    Ask your publisher to send you to Orlando next June.
    That’s when the cool kids meet, at the American Library Association annual conference.

  164. Beautiful. Like many of the people writing posts, I loved the library as a child and that love has carried through to adulthood. Congratulations on an amazing honor.

  165. You’ve once again completely and eloquently summed up a treasured childhood memory for a lot of us. The library was and is magical – my brothers and I could hardly wait for our weekly visit. One of the best gifts I’ve ever received is my humble library card – the pass key to infinite worlds. Thanks Jenny and congratulations!!

  166. I had to stop going to libraries early on because I never wanted to return the books, but growing up I always idolized Belle from Beauty and the Beast because she got her own massive library, so I totally relate to your post. Congrats lady! You’re part of that magic!

  167. This is so beautifully written and really touched a nerve for me. I practically lived in the library as a child and young adult, and I recall two wonderful librarians who were always happy to suggest something new and wonderful for me to read, one of them kind of middle-aged and hip and the other, very grandmotherly, (complete with squeaky orthopedic shoes!). When I was in high school, the grandmotherly one suggested Garson Kanin’s “A Thousand Summers” (it’s set on Martha’s Vineyard around the 1930’s and is about a love affair between two married people) I remember reading it and thinking how scandalous for her to suggest that book to little teenage me, but it was a wonderful story 🙂 Thank you for putting into words how I’ve always felt about the library. I’m in the Milwaukee area and am hoping to catch you on tour at Boswell Books in October!!

  168. I was blessed to have parents who were avid readers. 48 years later, I remember mother taking me to the library to get my library card on my sixth birthday. The library was and is my favorite place. Your description of the librarians was spot on. They were magicians, tour guides, Glenda in her bubble. I’m excited Furiously Happy is being recognized by the guardians of wonderful books.

  169. Jenny, so much of what you share speaks to me. But this post, more than everything else truly touched me. I found myself with silent tears on my cheeks as I read this post. Your words felt like they were describing me as a little girl (shy and struggling with a not yet diagnosed anxiety disorder) who never felt more at home than when I was in a library. Your words have such beauty and I thank you for sharing this with us.

  170. Bloggess, a librarian friend of mine put this link on FB. I’m so glad you are doing well as it’s been a while since I’ve seen your work. And as usual, you are doing well and I’m glad because you are awesome, dedicated writer. On this topic, my mother had little time for reading, and my father didn’t set foot into a library from age 13 until 92 when I dragged him back in. He was amazed at how they had changed since the Depression, and even though he read often, libraries were not in his world. I’d like to think he might have wished he had spent more time there. Good luck to you, Bloggess.

  171. I’m a maudlin mess right now, because this post made actual tears come to my eyes. Yes, a thousand times yes. Librarians and libraries are so special to so many people.

  172. As a future librarian I have to say, this is why I want to be a librarian. Because they are part of a history that is wrapped in mystery. (see what I did there?) But, also because they are amazing enough to realize a gem like you when seen. This post has made me so happy; both for you and for my future.

  173. That was a beautiful tribute and thank you to a wonderful profession. Congratulations on the honor!

  174. As a librarian for 37 years, it is so wonderful to read your tribute to a noble and amazing profession and to all of us who have impacted the lives of readers.

  175. I’ve never posted here before, but I’m a looong time reader – this post touched me so heart-felty (sp?!?) – when when I was a young girl I had those same dreams of wanting a new book so I could go on an adventure and visit far away places, learn about new people and things…My mom got tired of taking my to the library so often she finally started an account at a used book store – she brought a bunch of her old books in so that we would have credit so that I could buy 20 or so books of whatever I wanted and then she would stipulate that I would have to read ONE that she chose for me (Wuthering Hieghts, Jane Eyre, etc). This was a godsend recently when I went through cancer treatment and was basically bedridden, I was still able to dream and live through books. And laugh my ass off at Lets Pretend this never happened. Thank you Jenny, you make my heart happy and help me heal. Xoxo

  176. Jenny, this was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read and wasn’t the least bit funny. I honestly didn’t know you had it in you and I am in awe of your talent!

  177. Thank you so much for writing this. When your book and audio book are checked in, I always put them in my staff favorites display as one of my picks. As a teen librarian, I hope the teens I reach feel that way about me some day.

  178. My daughter is a Librarian. She worked in a Library for the blind. I don’t remember where she was at the time this happened, but it was not at the Library. Some guy asked her what she did for a living. She said ” I’m a Libraian ” . The guy laughed at her and said ” yeah in a Porno” I guess he imagined all Libraians were old frumpy looking women . Not a young beautiful red head. She is now working on her pHd on Information Mamagement .

    (When Victor’s grandmother came to live near us she devoured books from the library for the blind. It was one of her greatest pleasures. Tell your daughter thank you from us. ~ Jenny)

  179. There’s nothing quite so awesome as the smell of a good library. The city library where I grew up later became part of the city’s museum, and the new library was never quite as much of an adventure. The old one was cool, and seemed like it was dimly lit, even though it was actually quite bright. You had to go down stairs and across a courtyard to get to the doors, and it was surrounded by huge oaks. It looked like a castle, all dark brick and ivy. I remember slowly, over the years, making my way clockwise around the shelves from the kids books to the YA to the adult section, and if it was still there, I could take you straight to my favorite books. Many of my friends now are librarians, and they are marvelous people.

  180. One of my most precious memories of childhood is walking home from the library with a armful of books, and as I walked I chose the order in which I would read them. I felt so content during that walk. I can imagine how this must thrill you on a deep, personal level. Congratulations my virtual friend!

  181. I’ve been looking for a copy – any copy – of The Witch’s Buttons for several years. It took me a while to track down the title and author: Ruth Chew. I read it as a kid and it captured all the right things for me at once. I want to ride in the miniscule flying saucer again, and be able to do it any time I want.

    I highly recommend John Bellairs as well. I do have all of his books.

    My Mom was a school and piano teacher, and I acquired a reverence for books, libraries and librarians art a very early age. I hate the current wolfmane@gmail trend to throw out books rather than build more shelves, though.

  182. “It made us cry, Preciouses.” When we had no car, we walked 2 miles to the library to fill our little red wagon with books, and took them home 2 miles uphill. Every.other.week.

  183. Okay, made me cry too. Brought back memories of the small one-room library in a town in Montana in the 50s and 60s. One librarian, knew your interests by heart. I come from a family of readers, only read 10 books in the first grade and the folks thought they had the wrong kid. Thanks Jenny for all you do.

  184. This is beautiful and it made me cry. I know those librarians and I hpoe that was the kind of librarian children saw in me. I am now a librarian at large and I miss my loves. Books and people. Congrats on your honor.

  185. Congrats Jenny! I love a particular library when I was a teen. I always immediately go to it right after school about 3 times a week. That was my safe haven. Everytime I stepped in and breathe in the wift of books in an air conditioned room, I gave out a sigh of relief. That was my sanctuary and I just love exploring different authors and love looking at illustrations in children’s books. The librarians there were not as magical as yours though, they mostly mind their own business. I can’t wait for your book Furiously Happy. I’m currently at a point in my life where I really need a good support system and someone understanding.

  186. Thank you. As a Liberian since forever, this brought tears to my eyes. This is why I became a librarian and am still one despite budget cuts, book challenges, icky bathrooms, and all sorts of odd tomfoolery. I love your blog, loved your first book, excited about your second, your blog, and all your future words. I admire you and I’m glad libraies were a part of you being who you are.

  187. Beautiful story. I’m furiously happy for this endorsement of your excellent and life changing work.
    I still visit my library weekly, and I often don’t have time to read all the books that I borrow, but it makes me very, very happy that they will still be there for another time.
    Besides, I’m in serious danger of being classified as a book hoarder. Nowadays, only the best books are added to the collection. That’s why I can’t wait for the release date 😀

  188. I love escaping to libraries! Wonderful write up about them. I just printed out a list of Newbery Winners yesterday to begin my quest in reading them all. Children’s book carry quite a bit of life. I bet your book does too. Gotta put that on my list as well. T:)

  189. If this has already been said by another commenter then I apologise but I didn’t read them all. You took the words right out of my mouth when you said they can look at you & know what you want! They should have libraries next to doctors surgeries, a good dose of a favourite book 3 times a day cures everything.

  190. At 69, I still go to the library at least 3 times each week. I inhale books. I have at least three going at the sametime, on my i-pad, Kindle, and from the library. When I was 12, I was pedaling my bike back from the library, the basket full of books. I must have hit a bump and one book fell in between the spokes. I went up over the bike and onto the concrete, and was knocked out. The books all survived. As a true book lover, I was very concerned the books were returned to the library while I was in the hospital. I cannot imagine a greater honor to receive this endorsement. An Oscar pales by comparison.

  191. that magical moment when you’re first allowed to enter the adult section because you’ve already read all the books in the children’s section. it’s like entering Narnia! <3

  192. That was beautifully written and sums up my childhood/ adulthood so well, thank you ( I am actually, and surprisingly, a little bit teary after reading that). Books are an incredibly important part of my world and have been since I learned to read, Looking forward to Furiously Happy very much.

  193. Jenny Lawson, I just got crazy chills from this blog entry of yours. I work at a library and in just a few months I’ll be starting graduate school to become a “real” librarian.
    Your words are so beautiful and I completely agree! I fell in love with libraries at a very young age (and clearly my love for libraries are still there). As a library assistant I must tell you, I have suggested your book to my patrons many times! I say, “if you need to laugh out loud this is the author for you!” In fact, I told one patron about your first book because I read your book in her voice! She read it and told me how she was “felt like a crazy lady at the airport, because she was laughing WAY too loud”.
    Thank you. Thank you for your love of libraries. Thank you for your books. Most importantly, thank you for your words.

  194. As an avid reader and daughter to a librarian, I can’t even begin to touch on the beautiful reading memories this evoked! Wonderful! Thank you!

  195. YES! I grew up in a very small town in central Illinois and our library was not very big – three rooms – but it was magic too. I remember that smell and the back room where the childrens books were kept. I could spend an afternoon there just reading! My mother sustained herself for years with this tiny library. Getting books on loan through the system that would show up on the old desk of the librarian for mom to go pick up. Or just browsing the shelves for something new (which was hard to find after 40+ years!) Yes, just brought back so many memories! Thank you.

  196. As a librarian, thank you. So many people undervalue libraries thinking they can just “google it” to solve all their questions. I’m happy to hear you describe the magic of the library! After reading your first book, I have recommended it several times, even putting it on our “staff picks” table. I’m looking forward to reading your new book, and getting as many people as I can to read it too!

  197. Jenny, you write such awesome, wonderful, beautiful magical things! This one is amazing! Your new book, and you, very much deserve this recognition! Your writings take me to lots of places: some funny, some very touching, some sad but that you need to share, many will inspire people to hang on, and keep persevering, as you have so many times, and will continue to do so, no matter how difficult or hopeless think might seem during those times. Thanks you so much for baring your soul, and helping so many people who desperately needed the happiness, help and hope you’ve given them.

  198. I’m a librarian and most days I don’t feel valued at all. Not only did this make me cry at the circulation desk, but it truly makes up for so much. Thank you and I can’t wait for your book!

  199. Jenny, this is beautiful and so evocative of my own childhood experiences the hair stood up on the back of my neck. So beautiful and spooky – one of my favourite combinations. Congratulations on the recognition – you richly deserve it.

  200. This made me cry (in a good way). So beautifully written. I can relate to so much of this. Libraries were my favourite places growing up. In one of the places I lived, there was even a mobile library in a little van that would come around. That vehicle was so magical to me.

    Thank you for this.

  201. This was wonderful. I spent all of my time reading books, and I still spend every possible moment reading something. While I personally may not have stayed in the library to read, I always treasured them and the librarians who curate them.

  202. This was so beautiful to read–I feel the same way you do about libraries and librarians, They are magic! If my life had taken a different turn early on, I would be a librarian, and I can only hope I would be one like you describe. I usually just lurk and sympathize, but today I had to add my congratulations.

  203. Amen, my sister. Libraries are the most holy and sacred of spaces. You have been beatified by the priesthood of knowledge and learning. What an honor.

  204. WOW! I feel like you captured every good feeling I’ve ever had about the library (and book stores). Strolling the aisles of books provides me with such peace and relaxation when everything else seems out of control.

    Thanks Jenny for being brave enough to become one of the book friends I can always count on!

  205. Jenny. Jenny. Oh, Jenny. It’s been too long since I was part of our old blogging community, Bun’s arrival took all my time, but the occasional treasure of yours calls me out of hiding, and this… This was so lovely, you just made me all teary at my library desk.

    This is exactly what we hope for – that we will lead some child to the very book they need, that they will come back for another, that they will love some of the same stories we loved and yes, cry over the same books we made ruffly with our own tears. Stories are magic, and getting to share them is a special moment every time it happens. Just yesterday, I gave a child the first Harry Potter book for her first read, and felt near to bursting, knowing what wonders awaited her there. It’s a gift – and so are you. Hugs from the north.

  206. This echoes so true to me. I absolutely LOVED the library as a child. As a teenager and young adult I worked at a library – it was the job I coveted and when it became available I immediately quit the grocery store job my mom had made me take (after only a few weeks!) so I could take the job at the library. Now I bring my 4-year old weekly and see the wonder in his eyes and hope I’m fostering the same for him. Libraries and Librarians ARE BOTH magic.

  207. I sit here, an out of work librarian discouraged by the job hunt (I never thought I’d give up a job I loved to follow my husband across the country, but when the money’s right, it would be stupid not to), and completely grateful for this post. I’ve thought to myself so many times that I should just throw in the towel and try to find a job outside the field I worked so hard to join. You reminded me why I love this field, though. Imagine working every day alongside these people who so enchanted your young self. It’s every tiny bit as magical and welcoming and spectacular as you think it would be. Thanks for the reminder, now I’ll be trying twice as hard to rejoin the ranks.

    And of course we chose “Furiously Happy”. We love Great Books.

  208. I am a librarian, and I love this. I love your writing. I loved your first book, and I’m sure I will love your second. BTW, you ARE a real writer!

  209. I used to work in a library, about 100 years ago it feels to me now. Meeting the public was nice, but the bit I enjoyed most was working down in the stacks, as they were called, surrounded by row upon row of books. Didn’t read many of them, sadly…

  210. Thanks for your ode to libraries and librarians. I’m sad to say that where I live, I pretty much only interact with the children’s room librarians. The rest of the lot are grumpy and unapproachable. They seem to have lost their love for books and are now just county employees in a rut. It’s a bummer. And Jenny, you are a real writer. Don’t fall into that trap. It is a place I find myself escaping from every day.

  211. As a librarian, who has shared this love letter to my colleagues and friends, I believe that word you want is “Serendipity” — a “fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise”. It was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754. In a letter he wrote to a friend Walpole explained an unexpected discovery he had made by reference to a Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip. The princes, he told his correspondent, were “always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of”.

  212. Well you certainly deserve it!! This summer I had the thrill of visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum in Missouri. When I walked through the door, I became emotional, even cried, as memories of escaping into her books washed over me. Some day, there will be many people who will feel the same way about you. I know I’m on that path! Thank you!

  213. Between Jenny’s tribute and all the good thoughts here, I am very humbled today to call myself a librarian. On behalf of all of my colleagues, thank you.

  214. I loved the local library as a child… it was a place to discover adventure, solitude, or whatever you felt like at that moment in time. Congratulations on being chosen as a Library Read for September – so well deserved x

  215. This is so beautiful, Jenny! When I was in grade 2, my teacher used to send me the library to read because I already knew how to write in cursive. Rather than have me sit in class being bored, she sent me to the library at our small Canadian public school library. She gave me books I would never have read or been exposed to in my home and I caught it – that love of reading – right there. I devoured everything she gave me – all the award winners, Ramona Quimby, Little House, Caddie Woodlawn, Emily of New Moon, biographies, everything with a strong female protagonist in particular. And I remember to this day the moment when she said that she thought I could be a writer, too, someday. She said it like she had been thinking about it, like she was serious about it, and I wrote my very first story that winter. I told my teacher about it and she went home with my scribbled foolscap pages to type up pages on her own personal typewriter which she then sewed into a book with space for me to draw pictures. I never forgot those two women and how they set me on a path at eight years old from which I’ve never strayed. I still read just as voraciously – I’m a pseudo-hermit bookworm, truthfully on the inside, and I am still scribbling. Thank you for writing this post, it brought me a lot of joy this morning and made me remember how we are all shaping one another. I can’t wait to read your new book!

  216. SO lovely!! This gave me goosebumps!! I might have even teared up a little bit… but I blamed it on my allergies 😉 Congratulations!! You deserve it 🙂

  217. I administrate a page on Facebook called, “Pencil Necked Little Weasels.” https://www.facebook.com/PencilNeckedWeasels It grew out of a vicious attack a Politician made against Libraries, Librarians, and Neil Gaiman, a few years ago. It’s a page promoting Libraries and Public Civility. At least that’s the attempt. I posted a link to your love letter there. It’s perfect! I teared up reading it. Thank you.

  218. In my 6th grade year, in a Southeast Texas junior high school, this shy girl did not prepare her speech for a debate in history class. When the teacher said I had to stand up and “wing it” I refused. Panic seized my entire body and I began to sweat. The teacher said, “If you can not do the oral assignment, then I will have to give you punishment. Which do you prefer.” I looked around the room at my classmates, and then softly said “Punishment”. After class, my one and only friend came over to me and said, “I can’t believe you chose punishment over doing the oral assignment! Now you are stuck going to the library after school for three days helping sort books!”

    I exclaimed, “I know, isn’t that awesome! I can’t believe I am so lucky!”

    My friend looked at me like I was from Mars.

    🙂

  219. You darn near made this librarian cry…it’s hard to tell sometimes (much of the time if I’m honest) whether I’m making a positive impact on library users. This. This is good for my heart. Thanks, Jenny!

  220. When I was a child, finances forced my parents to move from a wonderful home on 10-acres of woodland to a small suburban apartment. I was initially devastated at the loss (the back looked out over a huge parking lot), but I soon realized that three blocks away was a wonderful, old, amazing library. This library was a revelation and probably was one of the singular forces in my young life to make me the the person I am now. Though my parents thought they had failed by not having a mansion on a wooded wonderland, that library launched my intellectual interests that would last me a lifetime.

  221. And now I’m crying. I was always excited to go to the library growing up. I loved volunteering in the high school library and in the town’s library while in high school. We could give up study hall to volunteer work in various departments. Heck, one year my study hall time didn’t have an available shift in the library so I gave up lunch hour just so I could work in the library at school without missing a single year. That year study hall hour I worked for the vice principal who granted me the special permission to skip lunch to be in the library. He understood, I needed to be around books. I love books and libraries. Some days I think I should just get a job at a library or book store and forget everything but the beauty of books. I LOVE THE LIBRARY! Thank you Jenny for saying what we all feel and congratulations on such a wonderful honor!

  222. What a beautiful love letter! What a beautiful heart you have, Miss Jenny. And here’s to the most favorite place of my childhood…the Spring Branch district library in Houston Texas!

  223. Man… I’ve got something in my eye. I felt the same way about books and libraries when I was a kid. I still do. And as much as I’ve sort of created my own library at home, there just something magical about going to the public library. And there’s something about the smell of all those wonderful books all in one place…

  224. Congratulations Jenny! I’m furiously happy for you. (rim shot) I could never support my reading habit without my local library. I don’t mind paying a small overdue fee once in while for all of the enjoyment it brings me. I do have a question for you. If you are not comfortable answering it, I understand but I always wondered: Are authors compensated for books purchased by libraries? I pre-ordered Furiously Happy from Amazon, mostly because I wanted my own copy because I know, like your first book, I will be reading it again and again. But I always wondered/felt kinda bad that my favorite authors never get “credit” for the many fans they have via the library system. Also, may I suggest another word for “honor”? DESERVING.

  225. “I suspect a real writer would probably know that word immediately”

    If you aren’t a “real” writer (whatever that means) then why was I tearing up by end of your post and forwarding the link to my friends?

    Writing isn’t just about knowing the right words or having the right grammar for the narrative voice, but you know that. You wrote about the places you were taken and the people you met in those books, not how good the author’s grammar was. One of the friends I sent this to is living in the Netherlands. She’s working on a bibliography about libraries for the educational organization that employs her, and she just told me she’s including this blog post. Dutch academics and children researching libraries and the culture around them will be directed to your words, not because one of your fans is a friend with a bibliography editor, but because your words have meaning worth passing on to others..

    If you weren’t a “real” writer, would your words be flying around the globe to be gobbled up and loved in other countries?

    Your words touch millions. Your words show people they are not alone. Your words give people hope. Your words give people who are afraid and anxious reassurance; they hold out a hand to people who desperately need one.

    I’d say you’re a real writer.

  226. Oh, so many “me too” moments! Libraries & librarians are wonderful things. I too, am so grateful they exist.

  227. I, for one, have already shared you as a friend and writer to patrons that come in to my library when they are looking for something funny or something that will help them through a hard time. I tell them about how you write about matters that are relatable but also will make you cry from laughing so hard. Thank you for this love letter and for sharing your stories!

  228. This! So much this! I hated my childhood and the library was my safe haven, during school when all the other kids went to mass I went to the library, after school the library, every moment I got. At 9 I was allowed to check out adult books rather than just the children’s section. It was one of the best days of my life.

  229. Beautifully written – I could smell that faintly dusty book smell and here those card catalogues as I read your post.

  230. I already loved you. Now that you have made my librarian heart swell a million sizes, I want to be your BFF.

  231. Aaaaaaaaaaaaah…….”how do you spell relief” ( oh no im not affected by advertisingshout out to R–lai-ds……lol)…..though I feel like I have re-united with a long-lost- tribe…..I have landed with my kindred spirits…..thanks to my #FrenchKissedLifeClub sister – that’s you Bloggess, I no longer feel like the ‘nerd’ (a 1970’s moniker)…..I am no longer “4-eyes”…..I am intimately familiar with your library and book spiritual journey….my first book I remember being read to me by my father (another bibliophile) “The Owl & The Pussycat”….Aesop’s Fables….any book and every book I could get my hands on….a gift from my Grade 6 Teacher for my quiet enrichment “The Hobbit” devoured in one night followed by The Lord of The Rings Trilogy – gotta love ya JRR!!!!!! – those 1-2 months of reading April/May 1974 were the highlight of my reading Odyssey…..close second June 1974….Great Expectations…..Grade 7 became my Dickens/Bronte Sisters/ Jane Eyre British period…..and the rest is history….I have been writing in my head since I was a child….at age 50 I have now given myself permission to write (retiring from my thankless medical career)….my first little eBook is pending….I am so excited about the creative catharsis of this experience so I cannot even Fathom what you are experiencing right now!!!!
    Heartfelt congratulations! You are my hero, my idol, a sister – in library-crime! I love, love , love your work! I’m going out (to the library to read it first–then I’m buying the book- for me and for Xmas gifts 2015!!!!!
    Congrats again!
    Barbara Atkins

  232. Please overlook my wordiness, my tactical diarrhea, my grammatical errors….I was just so excited for you I had to get it all out….like an emesis of joy!!!! Ew gross! Cheers to you Blogess!

  233. My mother was a children’s librarian, and she was a great one. I too am crying (at work!) because this makes me miss her so much. Thank you.

    Do we keep statistics on how many people you make cry with these particularly moving posts? This one has to rank way up there, judging by the comments.

  234. As a librarian, I thank you for your wonderful words. Most librarians have had similar experiences which influenced their career choice. We love what we do and we love helping others find that special book. The bad news – librarian jobs are being eliminated around the country and we are a dying breed. If you love your librarians, let those who fund libraries know!

  235. Thank you Jenny for this Blog, it is lovely. YOU ARE a writer for sure. What a sweet tribute to libraries. Those that grew up with less really are more fortunate as when this was the case things like books took on greater meaning. Growing up with less I believe gave me an appreciation for each think I was given. I cannot wait to get your new book. I pre ordered it and anxiously await it’s arrival. LOVED your first book, shared with all I loved so they could laugh as I did. Hugs to you love your humor and your thoughts and your honesty.

  236. I think the is the best essay you have ever written. And you have captured perfectly the favorite moments of my not-often-joyful childhood. Oh! The Library! Love you! – Patty

  237. Francie Nolan has been a friend of mine ever since I can remember. I’ve passed her on to my two girls. That book will forever live in my heart. I love this post !

  238. And here I was, thinking I was the only small, slightly broken girl, who felt this way and lived in and through libraries throughout her life. Love. Simply and purely, love. I now need to go find your book.

  239. More tears. That was absolutely beautiful and true. I got the chance to be a part time “librarian,” which fulfilled one of my dreams. They are a little less magical to me now, but no less important. Congratulations on making the list–I’d say that makes you a “real writer.”

  240. This librarian loves you so- and was delighted to order copies of your book for my library.

  241. I have loved books for as long as I can remember. My very first crush was at five (maybe six) on the school librarian. You brought tears top my eyes with this posting, because it just … feels right. How I felt entering the library. Thank you.

  242. On behalf of myself and other librarians, thank you for such a wonderful tribute. And congrats! Can’t wait to read your new one.

  243. When my business went under in 2007, I picked up and moved to a state with more family while I looked for a job. In the meantime, I still had some clients and had to do website work. I was able to get my work pretty much done then head to the library to use their computers to handle uploading and touch-ups. That small local library was key while I was in the middle of relocating, finding an apartment and a job, and without internet connection.

    The library has so many more services available than just lending books. I’ve heard politicians claim we don’t need libraries now because of the internet, but we need them just as much as ever.

  244. Summer meant the book mobile coming every week to within a few blocks of our house. Life got even more exciting when our town built a second public library near us – and when they let me start checking out adult books even though I was still only old enough for my children’s card.
    Way to go Jenny!!!

  245. I’m starting librarian and suddenly I felt important in the world,, thank you so much for that. You are a writer beyond realness, I can´t wait for more of your words. Kisses and hugs from Ecuador. <3

  246. I´m a starting librarian and suddenly I feel important for the world, thank you for that (and for all the happy tears). You are a writer beyond realness, I can´t wait for more of your words. Hugs and kisses from Ecuador.

  247. One of my most favorite activities was to go to the library. My idea of “outside activity” was sitting on the porch reading a good book. Even though I have a Kindle, my favorite is still to get my hands on a paper book!

  248. So beautiful! I have such wonderful memories of going to libraries as I grew. They ARE truly magical places!!

  249. Humbled. Thank you for this, you brought me back to my own childhood where I walked two doors up the street to a little old Victorian house on a hillside. I spent hours in the downstairs room which was all children’s books. Our librarian knew my favorite writer (Zilpha Keatley Synder – look her up) and call me whenever a new book arrived. When I was older and had graduated to the 2nd floor I could tell my own maturity through her recommendations.

  250. I feel the same – libraries are my sanctuary and my delight. Librarians are my heroes and friends. Based on your first book, the second one deserves every honor as do you. Well done!

  251. As an occasional substitute librarian — and member of two reading groups, former trustee for the regional library board, and officer of my Friends of the Library group — I agree 100% about the specialness of librarians and libraries.

  252. Jenny,
    I just needed to say thank you. This summer, I struggled a lot. Every time I found myself in that dark hole where depression takes us…I though about you and I could hear your voice saying, “Depression lies.” I would think about how open and honest you have been with all of us and it would remind me that I am not alone and I will be okay. And if the mood hits me when I’m at work…I have a small metal chicken near my desk. Instant mood lifter and reminder. Thank you for being my voice of reason when the shit in my head gets too damn thick.

  253. Congratulations, Jenny. I’ve had Furiously Happy pre-ordered as soon as I heard about it and can’t wait to read it. Thank you so much for giving librarians such a wonderful moral booster. As a librarian in Birmingham, AL, I love putting “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” in a patron’s hand. My branch has it in audio and hardback. I can guarantee this blog will be shared with many, many colleagues. You are wonderful!

  254. Cicero said “If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.”

    I totally get why you cried. In fact I teared up a little myself while reading this lovely tribute to librarians.

    You go girl!

  255. When I was young we were too far out in the country to go to the main library, so the library sent out book mobiles to reach us. So, once a week a little library drove to our neighborhood, and the librarian on board was wonderful. She made sure there was new science fiction each week, and often let me bend the rules on checking out more than 5 books at a time. I thought she was magical.

  256. I can walk into a library today and the sight and smells of the books on the shelves…the older the better can send me back to my childhood. When I was stressed out in graduate school, I hid in the stacks…or found one of the study rooms way in the back, nestled in the shelves. I felt safe there and at peace. I’ve really never thought about the anxiety side of things, but that would be true for me as well. A wonderful tribute 🙂

  257. Ah, but you are a real writer, Jenny. And you, yourself are a magician. By putting yourself “out there” with your blog and books you create magic for those of us who are burdened with anxiety, ADD, highly sensitivity, etc. by showing us how you work to accept and “work with” your own demons….keep going Girlie.

  258. One of the greatest gifts my mother gave my sisters and me is the love of reading. Thank you for this tribute to librarians and the buildings and collections they guard.

  259. All through junior high and high school after I ate lunch I spent the rest of my lunch hour in the library. It was my safe place, my sanctuary. I couldn’t be teased or messed with there. Being one of only a handful of white kids on a remote tropical island, I had a place to go and feel like I belonged. Your book will add so much joy or others like me!

  260. This made me tear up too. I have spent so many hours, days, weeks, months of my life in libraries. The smell of the books, the quiet hush, the worlds just waiting to be discovered. I do mourn that all the libraries around me are in newish building built deliberately to be libraries. I miss all the small rooms crammed with shelves to become lost in that were the libraries of my youth. Small towns where buildings were converted into libraries. My first library was a old house that used to be a mortuary. 🙂 I went back through the town a few years ago and they had tore down the old building and built a new library on the site. I cried.

  261. Congratulations, Jenny! A well-deserved accolade. In my childhood town, the Bookmobile came every other week all summer long. I was allowed to check out 5 books at a time! Then back to my spot under the lilac bush to devour every word. Good memories.

  262. I’ve finally decided to comment because you brought me to tears. You put into words exactly how I feel about libraries/Librarians. I’m from a small town in Texas and have fond memories of reading Clifford The Big Red Dog for hours in the library, in the first aisle, right in the middle of the floor while my mom worked next door at City Hall. I later volunteered there during the summer and my job was to cut obituaries out of our local newspaper and put them into scrapbooks. Definitely weird but oh so interesting and slightly questionable job for a young kid. But you are amazing and I heart your weirdness! Much love from Texas!

  263. Jenny, As the daughter of a librarian- I can’t thank you enough for capturing the magic behind librarians’ love of literature.
    A good librarian is as valuable as a good doctor – and less expensive. I love you even more!

  264. Jenny, this is so beautiful and perfect! Being from a less-small Texas town, but from a poor family, I also knew that to travel and to escape, books were the answer.

    My mother would take classes in our local library (and I suspect leave me there alone sometimes.) Librarians became my caretakers. I met Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children there. The vinyl blue seats by the window were my favorite, and I read each Highlights magazine at least three times, too. What a lovely flood of memories. Thank you Jenny.

  265. Here would be the (probably ONLY) voice of dissent. When I was a child, a small, short-statured but heavy LITTLE girl, there was one librarian at the library we’d walk to every Saturday, who would (from my POV) LEER over the desk, with her larger-than-natural ORANGE lips, to see whatever it was we needed. I am no longer that short, fat, shy girl, but I still have a weird clown-related fear of librarians. I’m sure it was because she was REALLY friendly but also awkwardly-made-up that I was afraid of her (because, c’mon, I was afraid of fucking BUTTERFLIES), and I’m sure she was an excellent human being in all other aspects, but I have difficulty reading anything for pleasure that isn’t at least a bit autobiographical. This is why I love you so much, Jenny. All you ever give us is autobiographical. I look forward to the day that I will finally get to meet you, and my ENFP personality will somehow magically connect with your anxiety-ridden Introvert and we’ll become the bestest of buds, albeit only via the Internets, because, really, how would that ever even be possible?

    I have no love of reading; I have a vague fear (that I’m able to work through) of libraries; I have an absolute distrust of bookstores (I mean, really, why do people sit around drinking coffee and reading the books or magazines they’re supposed to be buying rather than just BUYING those books and magazines and going HOME to read them over a freshly-brewed {at home} cuppa joe?). I managed to procure Jenny’s Novel #1 at a Target, using a giftcard I had acquired, so it was As If someone else had bought your book for me; WIN! I’m assuming that unless you take immense pity on me and decide to take my Warner Bros. Studio Tour when you make it to your Los Angeles book signing, and rather than handing me cash as a tip at your departure, you hand me a signed copy of Novel #2, I shall have to procure it through the same measures. I’m -down with that, even if I have to pre-buy myself that giftcard, so it can still feel like someone else gave me your book. I DO want to read your book, and I DO have a fantasy that I will somehow, someday MEET you, and you will love me as much as I love you. I know it’s a fantasy. Shut up.

  266. I can relate to being a quiet girl who lived vicariously through the stories I read. Books were my pastime, my entertainment, and my friends. I’m so happy for you. Congratulations. It is well deserved.

  267. BRAVO!! For the subject matter, the sentiments, and the writing! Bravo, Jenny Lawson! These librarians do know a lot, don’t they?

  268. I am a library assistant. Your first book kept me laughing through cancer treatment, which was deeply healing and for which I am so grateful. This post makes me weep in gratitude that you get it. You understand the healing power of a book and the holiness of a library full of them. I aspire to cultivate sanctuary in my library. And know this. I HAVE introduced you to people I knew who needed you.

  269. Oh, what lovely tribute to the librarians of this world. I too love libraries. We were always visiting the local branch, but once in a while we took the bus downtown to the “big library”. And magic it was!

  270. I am a retired librarian…AS IF anyone could retire from this awesome profession! I thank you for this lovely piece of writing. I became a published writer in the 1990s and my fellow librarians were/are my best fans. If folks only knew what a wonderful community we librarians share they would all want to join! It is a well-kept secret 🙂 Send me an email with your address, dear Bloggess, and I will send you a copy of one of my books…which I hope you will enjoy and perhaps pass on to others to enjoy. I write occasional pieces for a wonderful blog that deals with 18th-century English history, Number One London, the work of Vicky Hinshaw and Kristine Hughes Patrone. Here is a sample:

    http://onelondonone.blogspot.com/2011/03/visit-to-postmans-park-by-guest-blogger.html

    But I write mostly on 18th century artists…with the occasional jaunt to stately homes:

    http://onelondonone.blogspot.com/2011/08/history-of-greys-court-by-jo-manning.html

    Thank you again for this wonderful love letter. I, too, fell in love with libraries when I was just a little slip of a girl living in a big, boisterous home full of people but not one book. I idolized the lovely librarians I met and am sure this set me on the path to becoming a librarian myself.
    Jo Manning

  271. I am a recently retired librarian (as of July 1) suffering from withdrawal symptoms associated with leaving my much loved profession. Thank you for your wonderful tribute, Jenny. It brought tears to my eyes.

  272. Can we be clear that I have ZERO fucking clue when the first date of my last menstrual period is, but I could tell you when your book drops without a second’s hesitation?

    There isn’t the tiniest teeny part of me that is surprised by this honor. You deserve it more than anyone I can think of. Congrats. You are amazing, and the world caught on. 🙂

  273. First time commenting. 🙂 This may be one of my favorite posts you’ve ever written. I loved going to the library as a child.

  274. I love this! I have so many fond memories of the library from when I was a child. And when I introduced my own daughter to the library, there was a children’s librarian who was magical. She knew every book and whether it would hold my child’s interest. I need to see if she is still there and offer a long overdue thank you.

  275. CONGRATULATIONS! I’m going to add my favorite library memory. Las Vegas, NV….walking the steps towards the giant double doors of the TWO-story library. The whoosh of cool air as my little sister and I walked through those doors into that wonderful unknowing, yet familiar, fragrance of page and binding. 40+ years later we still sit together and reminisce of that wonderful castle of awe!

  276. My sister shared this with me because for years I was a children’s librarian. I prided myself on reading all the kids books in my library and loved having those talks with readers in the shelves about what to read next or coaxing a more reluctant kid to a book by describing the adventures therein. The authors know how important they are to us and how much their books mean to their readers. Sometimes they love it other times they hate it!
    Libraries are unusual and amazing public institutions–not every small town has an art museum but most have a library. Often unsung they need to be defended and supported as a universal requirement for civilization–the wellspring of how we learn to understand and tolerate other points of view. Thanks for sharing your appreciation.

  277. I’m a public librarian in Texas and I mentioned your first work, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” on our blog as a must read. I love sharing incredible work like that piece of writing with my customers. Congrats on this recent acknowledgement.

  278. Jenny, you have been one of my author rock stars for years —- I’m not surprised that Furiously Happy is on that list. And, of course, I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy!!!

    As a librarian, I love what you wrote here. Planning on sharing it on my library’s blog this week. Thank you!!!!

  279. When I was very little, before I was in kindergarten, my mom would drop me off at the library when she ran errands. A librarian friend of hers would keep an eye on me as I selected the books I wanted, which kept me happily busy until Mom came back. Mom’s rule was that I could only check out as many books as I could carry. (This was before I went to kindergarten. I learned to read young.) Best babysitter ever!

  280. I was the kid who “borrowed” books, thinking that meant, “Oh Shirley, you can just return these whenever you choose.” And then the overdue notice would come. And panic would reign..as it did most of my life for everything. I have had a (chaste) love affair with books for as long as I can remember. They gave me solace, and joy, and excitement and helped me feel “normal.” But when they were ridiculously overdue..I fell apart. How could I ever return them now? How I could I look Mrs. Aaroe, our sweet librarian, in the eye? She would be so disappointed in me. As I was in myself. Yes, books and I have had this love affair, with all that connotes, for a very long time. I’m 64. I learned to read when I was five. A very, very long time.

  281. I too grew up in a small town in Southern Texas. Our library was a magic place and I loved it. I particularly loved autobiographies and those unsung heroines, the wives of Presidents. I worked my way through every one the library had, Dolly Madison, Mary Todd Lincoln come to mind instantly. When I got through them I started on other amazing women such as Amelia Earhart. To this day I’m hoping we get an answer to her mystery.

  282. I am so glad to read other people cried over this. I could not get half way through without bursting into tears. This is so beautiful in its honesty. I am so glad to see there are others that feel so strongly about libraries and librarians. Congrats on your book being selected.

  283. So jealous of you Jenny. Always loved the library but the people in ours are the worst. I quit going as an adult for my mental health. However despite them, I remember the joy of being told 14 books at a time was the limit

  284. Thank you Jenny for articulating axactly how I feel about the librarians of my childhood. I’m now a library technician in a high school and I hope that I, in a small way, make a difference to some of our students.

  285. Well, this made me cry. You’ve so eloquently summed up the story of my childhood as well. Thank you, Jenny. Thank you.

  286. How wonderful! I could have written your post – if we both hadn’t been so shy we probably would have been great friends! 🙂 I loved the library so much I actually became a librarian – so this warms my heart on both levels! Congratulations!

  287. I just reached my 10 year anniversary working at my local library, which seems inconceivable to me. I’ve watched peoples’ kids become teenagers. I’ve watched babies get to school age. It’s terrifying. And also kind of cool. And I love to think I’ve affected at least one person’s life (hopefully more) by having the right book to put in their hands when they asked for recommendations.

  288. I was the same. I looked forward to going to library every 3 weeks. I would come home with stacks of books. I couldn’t get enough. As I grew up finding the library was as important as finding the grocery store in a new city. I discovered the online libraries and have close to 20 books on 3 different queues waiting for me to read. I have a standing date with my kids to go to the library every other week to get more stacks of books and hope they share the same love.

  289. I’ve been working in a library for more than twenty years. As soon as Let’s Pretend This Never Happened came out I requested it–one of the advantages of working in a library. It’s now in the stacks and I hope to get it signed by you when you come to Nashville. That’ll make the library’s copy extra special.
    The funny thing is people assume because I work in a library I must be a librarian. I have to explain that a special librarian’s degree, which I don’t have, is required to make one a librarian. That’s an important distinction, especially to librarians for whom distinctions are especially important.

  290. If you ever have the chance, come to my little town of Franklin, Massachusetts. It is home of the nation’s first public library. It is GORGEOUS and I can never spend enough time there!

  291. I’m a librarian. I cried while reading this. You have written, in the most beautiful way, exactly the feelings of my childhood which led me to become a librarian. THANK YOU. For loving libraries and those who work in them. Your book is one I have recommended many a time and can’t wait to do the same with Furiously Happy.

  292. Beautiful! You couldn’t have said that better. Thank you for writing it.
    In my childhood the library was sometimes the only safe place. Bad things happened everywhere else, but never there. The librarians were my guides to infinite escapes. I owe those ladies my sanity.