AS you have undoubtedly heard me say many times, I am a huge fan of libraries. In fact, my first job in high school was at the Hemlock Public Library in Hemlock, Michigan. It’s a very small library in a very small town, shown in the photo above (with the perfect quotation for library week!) swiped from their facebook page. During that job I once did an inventory of the ALL the books on the shelves. Over many weeks, I found every book that had a card in the card catalog (this was way before computers!) and then made a little mark on the title page of each book that had a corresponding card. I also loved manning the checkout counter and stamping the checkout cards, organizing them by due dates, and then phoning folks who were overdue. When I was trusted enough to make dust jacket covers I felt pretty cool. During my breaks I would sneak over and read all the Judy Blume books.
Ever since then I have been a big fan of libraries. I rarely buy books. Instead, I always have a long list of holds at my local library and make a stop at my current branch to pick up or drop off books at least 2-3 times a week. At any one time I have 10-15 library books checked out and waiting patiently on my reading pile.
As an added bonus, these days I make my living selling artist books to universities, museums, and even some terrific public libraries and it is really a thrill to be working with libraries again—nearly 35 years after that first job in Hemlock. At the time I didn’t even know librarianship was something that you studied. If I had known then, who knows what would have become of me.
National Library Week feels like a good time to say thank you for Mrs. Claire and Mrs. Huttfelz, the dedicated ladies who ran the Hemlock Public Library way back then (which oddly enough, my brother lives right next too these days.) And, thank you to all of the librarians who are faithful customers of 23 Sandy Gallery today. This gallerist and the many book artists you support are very grateful.