Letter From Home “Hancock Library” 10-6-13
The place that was the Hancock Library of my youth…….and the library today.
I traveled back home Saturday for the reunion of my Mom’s side of the family. Driving along the low gray clouds and foggy conditions were a cozy reminder of what made for many special days when I was a child. As James and I pulled off the highway and down into the small village of Hancock it was noted we were a few minutes early. Even though the law has not changed to 70 mph does not mean my foot does not think it has.
The library sits in a large brick building on Main Street, having moved there many years ago after having been housed in a very small white structure that once was the jewelry store. James suggested since we were early that stopping might provide us an opportunity to drop off a copy of my book Walking Up The Ramp that I wanted to donate to the library. Even as I turned my car in that direction I doubted they would be open on a late Saturday morning. But when I spotted the lights inside I pulled into a parking space, and thanked James for a great idea.
Public records state there are roughly 8,000 items in the library, and as the neatly arranged shelves show many of them are urging to be looked at as soon as one enters from the side door. Off to the left after coming inside is a reference and check-out desk which was staffed by the head librarian.
I walked to where she sat and introduced myself and told her I had a book I wished to have added to their collection. Without missing a beat she moved her left hand to the side of her desk and picked up a copy of an article from the Waushara County Argus about my book. “I was just going to search on-line for a copy of your book” she said. “”We had requests to read it.”
There is no need to be coy about book sales when it comes to first-time authors, and especially with the type of memoir that I wrote and published. I am not about to make any best-seller list. But that was not my aim when I took a year to write it. I harbored no illusions about making any money on the project. Instead I had something to say and wanted people to read it.
I mention this because over the past weeks since it became available to the public there has been a series of smiles that has made all the work worth it. The smiles, in each case, were priceless.
There was the discovery that my book had sold a couple copies in Germany, one in France, and one even in Australia. There are the smiles when people who walk up to me as I am outside at home and inquire if they can just “stop by” and get their copy of the book autographed. I am just not use to anything like this happening, and so with a humble hand I chat them up, and sign the same message everyone receives along with my signature.
But I must say as wonderful as each of those moments have been nothing was more pleasing than to stop by the Hancock Library, a place that was so important to me as a kid, and know that my book was already being sought out, and wanting to be read. I strongly suspect any writer knows the feeling. But having it take place at this library was very touching to me.
As a kid after supper on Friday nights my Dad drove me to the library where I would pick out a couple of books, and in so doing expand my horizons beyond the little town where I grew up. That library was one of the essential ingredients that made for the man I am today. When anyone talks about local finances and how to best use resources I can claim with some authority that local libraries are one of the best investments to be made.
That is why at the end of my book there is a suggestion that readers can make a donation to the Hancock Library.
As I chatted for a few minutes with the librarian and glanced about at the books I briefly thought to the days when I was younger. On such a day as foggy and dreary as that one was I would have been found curled up somewhere in the family home with a book from the library. My mind would have been chasing the story line in a space rocket, or the drama created in a James Bond thriller, or even perhaps in a book aimed at understanding how weather systems make for rain.
I can not overstate the importance of the Hancock Library which has served so many, and continues to do so. With a grateful heart I say thanks.
Donations can be made to Hancock Public Library, 114 South Main Street, Hancock, WI 54943.