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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Angels and Heroes in Plain Sight

       This is a shout-out for the angels and heroes of the book world.  All who publish books know who these bigger-than-life folks are.  They know who they are.  But can the reading public identify these Clark Kents?  (Excuse the retro reference, but I always liked his glasses and the nonchalant way he whipped them off.  I think his specs may be back in style.)

       Just in case, here goes:  these heroes and angels are the people in the independent bookstores around the U.S., and the librarians in our public libraries and schools.  They are angels because they are champions of the art of reading; they recommend, they guide, they educate without demanding.  Most do a heroic amount of heavy lifting.  Witness the owners of independent bookstores, who always have strong backs.  They lug books into schools while ferrying the visiting author, they even lug books to libraries, through many a dark and stormy night, or at the very least through dinnertime…  they don’t complain.  They often supply delicious cookies.  


Arlene Lynes, owner of Read Between the Lynes, 
Woodstock, Illinois.  (photo by Jack Bechaud)
   
       The librarians read tirelessly.  They sift and sort.  They answer questions from all ages and with great patience.  They take care of authors and make libraries the hands-down heart of a school or a community.  Like the indie booksellers, they work overtime. They change lives by supplying the just-right book at the just-right time; they bear witness to the power of the written word. 
       Angels.  Heroes.  I am currently doing a great deal of travel for Hold Fast, and am reminded, just about daily, of how great these people really are.  They have wings and super-powers. 
       Don’t be fooled – they’re hiding in plain sight. 

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