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My purse is an abyss of mysterious dimensions. Sixty percent of the time, I can’t find my debit card. Seventy percent of the time, I can’t find my inhaler. Eighty percent of the time, I’m digging for wayward quarters to put in the parking meters.

But I can always find my library card. It’s tucked in a special place in my wallet. Lose the library card? For shame.

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month.

I have my card. Do you?

When Blackbird Fly came out in 2015, people asked me what it was like to see it in bookstores. It must be so cool!, they’d say. They’d send me pictures of it sitting pretty on shelves in Barnes & Noble. And it was pretty rad, I have to admit. But nothing compared to seeing my book in a library. The first time I saw my book on a library shelf, with its efficient classification sticker and its smooth library wrapper, I thought: THIS IS SURREAL. Because libraries are where it’s at, even in the age of Google. Especially in the age of Google. For me, nothing compares to walking into a library.

I use my card often. I sign-on to the library system’s online catalog and request books like a madwoman. At this moment I have two books on request at my local branch (which is two blocks from my apartment, by the way): Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm and The Best Man by Richard Peck. The book I’m reading now — The Outside Lands by Hannah Kohler — came from my local library.

Why the library?

Perhaps Isaac Asimov said it best.

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