Have you ever heard of Charlie Parker, Elvis Cole, Joe Pike, Virgil Flowers, Matt Scudder, or Repairman Jack? How about Harry Bosch, John Corey, or Lincoln Rhyme? I’ll bet you’ve heard of Jesse Stone or Jack Reacher? They are not the starting offense for a pro football team but characters in novels who can easily be found in books from our own county library.
I’d like to take just a few minutes to share my feelings about having found all the names just mentioned and to praise our wonderful library for making them and other worthy characters in print available to all of us.
You would think that a teacher would have plenty of time to read but, in my case, that’s not the way things worked out. Except for teaching pamphlets and literature, memos, and reviewing new texts I found little time during my 40-year classroom career to read for pleasure.
It wasn’t until January 2014, when I began my work at the town museum in Fairmont, that my pleasure reading began. Now 225 books later I still find myself enthralled at the exploits and forays in which my favorite characters find themselves embroiled.
I have met some very interesting, funny, intelligent, and violent folks by simply turning the pages of the books I’ve read. Although they have all been novels filled with characters created from the minds of their authors, they all possess real life qualities such as failure, integrity, bravery, and a lot of humor.
For a few days and a couple of hundred pages they are all very much alive to me. And I can thank our county library for the chance to spend time with the all.
Realizing there would be times of inactivity at the museum I was offered several books which my wife picked up at book stores and eventually that led to a pursuit of more of the same. When those were not immediately available I turned to our town library and later, due to a cataloguing feature on the internet, the wider assortment of books in our main branch located in Lumberton where books from other branches can be secured and also interlibrary loans from other towns’ libraries. Even with a short wait in some cases, every one of the 225 books I’ve requested has been made available to me. I only needed to call and ask a staff member.
We Robesonians have many treasures in our county and one I place near the top of this list is the county library. Its director and staff are well trained in all aspects of library work and are exceptionally friendly, resourceful, and helpful in securing requested books.
For convenience purposes I use their computer catalogue and then telephone to reserve the book. All that remains is a short drive to the library and my book is handed to me. The only thing more that the library staff could do is bring the book to my home and read it to me.
I am so happy we have such a wonderful library and dedicated personnel in our county. The books they have custody over have really brought me hours upon hours of enjoyment, learning, emotional release, and, in many cases, a newer perspective on life.
Harry Bosch, an LAPD detective found in author Michael Connelly’s novels, often says “everybody counts or nobody counts” in times when he or the oppressed are being treated unjustly by society or his work officials. I never heard the phrase until I met Detective Bosch, but those few words have added a new vision in my thinking.
Thank you Robeson County Public Library for introducing me to some really great folks even though they’re just ink on a page. By the way, I’m nearly through with the latest one so I’ll be calling soon.
Charles Kemp is on the Board of Commissioners for the Town of Fairmont. He was given this opportunity to advocate on behalf of the public library.