Thursday, October 29, 2020
Oct. 29, 2020

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Check It Out: Finding comfort in favorite authors

Upsetting event reminder of how reading helps heal


I have a confession to make: I’m struggling with today’s column. This year has been challenging, to say the least, but a recent event feels — at the moment — like the most challenging thing of all. In case you haven’t heard, a main water line broke next to the FVRL Operations Center and flooded the lower level of the building. This is where I and many others do our work, and I can tell you that the damage is extensive. It will take quite a bit of time to fix and restore the building, so efforts are being made to relocate staff as quickly as possible in order to resume important library functions.

Many things can be replaced — desks, computers, books — and the true silver lining in all of this is that no one was hurt. But there is a definite feeling of loss among staff. When you work in one place long enough, it becomes tied to you and gives you a sense of belonging. Yes, we will be able to continue our work in a different space, and that work will still be rewarding. After all, our work is essential to the library and the communities we serve, and it feels good to know that we are doing something for the greater good. Right now, though, it is still hard to process what has happened. And yet the work will continue, and we will make it through this challenge as well.

As I’m writing this, I realize that I don’t need to struggle. I write this column to promote the library’s collection and to celebrate the joy and transformative power of reading. If my world feels out of control, I should follow my own advice and turn to reading, letting books offer a sense of control in an otherwise uncertain place. To do this, I feel that the best bibliographic path to follow is to spend time with some of my favorite authors and illustrators. I’m sharing some of them with you today, but I encourage you to think about your favorite authors and create your own list. Think of them as old friends who know just what to say (or draw) to make you feel better.

Finally, there has been an outpouring of support for the library during these unusual times, whether it’s been the pandemic or the sudden damage to our operations center, and for that I want to say, thank you so much. Checking out library books and other materials is one of the greatest ways to show your support, so please keep on checking out DVDs, audio books, and of course books, books, books!

• Roz Chast

• Elena Ferrante

• Kevin Henkes

• Henry James

• Richard Scarry

• Edna St. Vincent Millay

• Anne Tyler

• Garth Williams