Dear Librarians and
I wanted to share some pics and a few words about my experience
touring the Arrowhead. I was able to get photos of most attendees though some
came late or had to leave early so I didn’t get all – in most cases I also got
pictures of their library and town’s population sign (except in those cases when
it was raining so hard it was impossible!) Forgive in advance the number of pics
of my dog Betsy.
It was a joy to meet all the readers and librarians
along my route. At first I expected I was going on a meandering visit to
libraries with some scenic mileage in between, but just as I set out we got word
that the library funding was facing a cut in the house by two thirds of the
budget! Through the great work of lobbyists, librarians, and attendees of my
events who filled out dozens of Legacy evaluation forms and made phone calls or
wrote in support of rural libraries, the legislation was not passed. I sent a
number of letters myself (below is one example). I am not surprised that the
people of the rural north rallied behind this effort and prevailed. They are a
tenacious and smart bunch. I
wouldn’t mess with them.

As a writer it was especially heartening to get a
thumbs-up from readers of Vacationland
who reassured me that I had captured the character of northern Minnesota in the
stories and portrayals – I’ve written three books set in the region, but each
time I’m there I learn some pretty amazing facts and meet unexpected, intriguing
people. I had meals or coffee with dozens of readers and just wish I’d written
down every name: There was the 95 year-old gentleman in Buhl who confessed he’d
once had a crush my Aunt Dorothy; the woman in Grand Marais that made me pressed
flower bookmarks (Thank you!), and the awesome women of Coleraine who know how
to throw a great event (so much food, and a thousand thanks for the wine)
absorbed bits of history in each town and library and was shown their treasures:
murals, mosaics, paintings, stained glass, their own china! By the end of my
tour it became clear to me that the libraries, from small to grand, are the
hearts of these communities.    
Hats off to these fine libraries and librarians,
and many thanks for hosting me. (and please, if you care to share this with the
attendees of our event, do.)