A note from Laura

A Monday afternoon blog post is rare, but I thought this was important.  

Last week, The Washington Post ran this story.

Nora was appalled and asked me to find a way for her to help them bridge the gap — personally, not through the Nora Roberts Foundation.  I contacted the WaPo reporter who provided me with the GoFundMe information. 

Yesterday, Nora made a donation that will make all the difference to the Fund Patmos Library campaign.

Ron French at Bridge Michigan reached out to me after Nora’s donation.  Bridge Michigan ran the original story about the Patmos Library being defunded along with several follow-ups on the fundraising campaign.

Ron’s most recent piece went live today:  https://www.bridgemi.com/talent-education/romance-author-nora-roberts-helps-save-mi-library-defunded-over-lgbtq-books

I have many emotions about the vote to defund and Nora’s determination to help.  When I was 9 years old, the first place I was allowed to talk to on my own was the Brooklyn Public Library.  Eight blocks down Fort Hamilton Parkway to the magical place where I could choose my own adventure.  Where I could fill up summer days with stories.  I went pretty much every day.

My first paying job was working as a page at the South Orange (NJ) Public Library Children’s Room — spent all my college years earning $2.25 (might have been $1.75) an hour so I could be around books.  My mom decided after raising seven kids that being a librarian would be a good second career.  She was a Children’s Librarian, then the director of the Florham Park (NJ) Public library for over 25 years.

So libraries are in my blood.  And the thought that access to the services a library offers and the shelves full of interesting stories could be voted away because people don’t agree with all the information in those books is a nightmare.  

I’m grateful Nora stepped up.  Thank you emails from librarians have been streaming in.

And lesson learned, I will pay better attention to the salvos fired at the libraries around me so I’m prepared to fight for their right to remain open with access to all.

For those who would like to donate, the link is https://www.gofundme.com/f/fund-patmos-library-for-2023

Laura

20 thoughts on “A note from Laura”

  1. And this is one great reason why we should keep buying Nora’s books! It’s always a bonus when an author’s values align with yours. That is also why I will not purchase any more of the books from That Author in Ohio who is running for public office.
    Oh and countdown to Desperation in Death…

  2. I love this. Libraries are the sanctuary for so many people, me included. I can get lost for hours looking at books, magazines. So many places to travel in books. Thank you Nora and Laura for everything you do to keep all kinds of literature alive for everyone that needs it.

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you Nora for your generosity! Libraries were my lifeline growing up and I can’t understand closing one because they happen to have one book you don’t agree with. There are many things I don’t agree with but the information still needs to be available to the public.

  4. I can’t believe this is happening in 2022! OMG! If you don’t like the book, don’t pick it up, don’t read it. Close the library? Are you kidding me????? We should thank God that our kids are reading not just texting or gaming. Libraries are so essential to life, where would we be if we couldn’t afford to buy a book? Take our kids to story hour? Take our kids to craft time? Get help with homework? To get computer time ?Are you serious? I am so baffled by this? THANK YOU Nora & Laura for standing up for readers everywhere. THANK YOU for making our voices heard.

  5. I live very near this library. It saddens me to see so many people wanting to close a library based on the type of books that are offered. I’m almost ashamed to be associated with this part of the country.

    I am thankful to Nora for this generous donation to help keep the library open to all people!

  6. Thank you, Nora and Laura, for working to keep libraries open for everyone to educate their own minds about life.
    I have such good memories of my library. After I’d read everything they had in the young adult section, I started following my mom around to see what she was reading. I inhaled fiction ranging from Frank Yerby to Helen MacInnes, non-fiction about anything I was interested in, and science fiction to fuel my ‘what if?’ – everything. There were plenty “we’ll look at these again when you’re older”, and we did. I found out later mom was watching the librarian, Mrs. Armitage, to see what she’d suggest for my reading. When she was comfortable with it, she’d drop me off when she had errands, to pick up books for both of us. What mom was doing was called ‘parenting’, staying involved with her child and what she was doing. She didn’t hover, but she made sure she knew what I was reading and that the door was always open to talk about it. I have to wonder if these parents freaking out over what their kids were reading had read the books themselves, or just some pundit’s opinion. Thanks again, for saving this library – all of them are so vital.

  7. I was so pleased (although not surprised) to read this. We call that “Walkin’ the talk” in my world. I would hate to see any library lose funding and for one to lose it because of LGBTQ+ books is even more of a tragedy.

    No one becomes gay or trans or bi-sexual because of words on paper but they can learn to understand who they are by those words. Ya done good Nora. Thank you.

  8. Thank you, Nora, for your support of the library. And thank you, Laura, for letting us know. Libraries, both the school and public ones, were a big, vibrant, *necessary*, part of my childhood. That continues to this day. The small-mindedness of people continues to astound me, although it shouldn’t. Perhaps they should pick up a copy Fahrenheit 451 …

  9. The main Brooklyn library @ Grand Army Plaza has always been my favorite place to go, since I was 8yrs old! My mother allowed me to walk there by myself. In the Summer, I spent most of the day in the Library, walking out to meet my mother at the subway, when she got off from work. I went to high school 2 blocks away from the Library, and though we had moved, I spent lots of time there. During my marriage, I introduced my daughter to the Library when she was 2. As I earned more money and was able to purchase books, I still used the Library to study for college & grad school classes. I also taught Literacy Volunteer classes at the Library. By the time my grand was born, I had moved back to the neighborhood, now gentrified. She still refers to it as “Nonna’s Library”, though she’s a teenager. Sometimes, I walk over, pick a book at random and read, just for the pleasure of the weight of the book, the smell of books and printers ink. The fact that this young girl, from a blue and pink collar family, has travelled the world and visited SO many of the places, including Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hawaiian Islands, Caribbean, Antarctica, Patagonia, Mexico, South America, Europe, that I first discovered in Library books, still makes me smile with joy! I donate to the Brooklyn and New York Library organizations, Reading is Fundamental, and many children’s organizations. I will make a donation to this library that was almost closed as well. Shame on those people! Thank you Nora/JD!

  10. I too discovered the library at a very early age and have haunted them ever since. As a Navy kid, we relocated regularly, books and the characters in them were my constant friends that I could pack up and take or check out of the library wherever we went. Thank you Nora for standing up to censorship and fascism. I’ve always admired you, now more than ever.

  11. What is going on in this world? Shouldn’t we be going forward, not backwards? Libraries are places for children & adults to go & get lost in books & learn things. If parents don’t agree with certain books, then they should make sure their children do not check them out of the library. Which is sad! I truly appreciate Nora’s donation & all of the other peoples to make sure this library can remain open. Thank you!

  12. This is beyond absurd. To censor literature or religion or anything should be against the law. If you don’t like the book then don’t check it out. What are we coming to?
    Laura, I didn’t know that you grew up in Brooklyn. I am 25 driving minutes away from the Fort Hamilton Library that you referenced. The Library was always my magical escape. The Library should be beyond politics of any kind.

  13. Thank you, Nora. Like other commentators I too was appalled by this. As a person who lives in an area with a fantastic county library system, I have always been able to access the books I love. From the time as a child when my remote school had the bookmobile come every 2 weeks to the present when I have the capability of downloading eBooks directly to my Kindle, the library has been my lifeline to new worlds and ideas.
    I wish the same for everyone and hope this backward thinking is soon a thing of the past

  14. Thank God for people like you Nora! When the world seems so black, so mixed up and wrong, these moments are all that keeps my faith in humanity. I donated a little myself, as I hope they can continue to be open for years to come. Libraries are so important. Every mom of a little one I know takes their child to the library to this day. As a teacher, libraries are a savior for families who do not have enough money to buy books but still want to provide for their children. I remember my own library as a child so fondly. It always felt like a wonderful warm comforting place, magical with all the books you could find! Thank you for your wonderful support. Keep up the great work! We all stand with you. 💗

  15. How closed-minded, insecure, and pathetic do you have to be to vote to defund a library just because you don’t agree with some of the things in the books?

    What an absolutely pathetic display. I’m appalled that something like this would even happen in 2022 and in my own damn state.

    The library was everything to me as a kid. The place I went to escape and get away from my real life. Sometimes the only place I could go.

    These people should be ashamed of themselves. Against LGBTQ+? Fine, we don’t give a shit, but taking a library away from the people because you’re so terrified of something that has nothing to do with you is shameful.

    I’m so glad and proud that Nora was able to help them out so much. Thank you for helping to preserve something so precious.

  16. Thanks Nora (and Laura)! We, too, send a donation when we read about this. It followed on the heels of a ‘cranky’ citizen whining and sniveling about Drag Queens Story Hour in Vermont and successfully canceling it by untruths and gross misrepresentations. The Director of the Library quit since it ‘appeared’ that these people could override her decisions on how to run the library. Thanks again for STANDING UP to bullies!

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