Hello, book people. I’ve had a library card since I was five years old. The first thing I do when I move is to locate the closest library and get a library card. The main branch of my local library was closed for two years due to extensive renovations. Although I hadn’t gone into the physical building much, I missed using the drive-up window during the renovations (I read digitally, i.e., ebooks). Now that the library has re-opened, I go into the building at least once a month for one of my local book clubs. I’ve got to say that I’m loving all of the “new” areas available in the library even though I haven’t truly used much beyond the conference rooms, self-checkout areas (namely used with book club books), and the library cafe. (Again, I primarily check out ebooks for my personal use, but am looking forward to exploring more of my library’s new features.) Today’s guest is Dorothy St. James, author of the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series, including the latest addition, A Book Club to Die For. Ms. St. James will be discussing with us something that is near and dear to me, libraries. Grab a favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s hear what Ms. St. James has to say about this beloved institution. Thank you, Ms. St. James, for visiting with us today, the blog is now all yours.
For the Love of Libraries
by Dorothy St. James
I’d long thought about writing a book series set at a library as my thank you to libraries and what they’ve done for me and my life. Because I write cozy mysteries – which a friend has recently called murder, but with fun – my library series would of course have a few dead bodies peppered here and there.
The idea for writing the series remained just that, an idea until I read an article about a few library branches in the country that had decided to do away with the print book and move to all electronic. Wait. What? No! Are you serious?
That was my knee-jerk reaction the first time I read about what is being called bookless libraries. (The name is misleading. They’re not actually bookless. There are books available in the libraries, just not the print editions.) Will libraries one day become cyber cafés? Will the sweet scent of books be replaced with a metallic smell? No. I don’t like this. Yes, I do enjoy reading ebooks. But losing print books? No, this doesn’t make me happy.
But the truth is public libraries are being asked to do more with tighter budgets. Libraries are becoming community centers often providing a wide range of programs to its patrons. They also have ebooks, audiobooks, and music available for download, DVDs, audiobook CDs, and music CDs, as well as a large selection of books. This collection must continually be updated with new releases and purging older materials that are no longer being checked out. New materials can be costly, especially if they need to be purchased in multiple formats (hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.) New technology equipment must be purchased from time to time too. And librarians have to be trained to use the new systems. Many libraries don’t have the budgets to cover the cost of doing, well, everything. Hard decisions must be made.
When I read about this, my public administration brain lit up. This kernel of an idea along with my lifelong love of libraries is how the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series was born. I challenged myself to explore the tension that naturally occurs whenever new technology changes how things are done. Sort of like when scrolls were replaced by codexes, the precursors of printed books. I started to ask myself what would a librarian who has an emotional attachment to printed books might do if her library was converted to a bookless library. The answer was simple. She’d save the books!
My heroine, Trudell Becket is an assistant librarian in the small town of Cypress, South Carolina. The town leaders, hoping to attract high-tech jobs to their town, decide to convert the library into a high-tech bookless library. Trudell is horrified by the idea. The books on the shelves are her friends. She sneaks into the library one night and takes many of the books that are boxed up to be removed from the library. She then opens a secret bookroom in the library’s basement. While she’s working in the basement library, someone kills the town manager, who is the driving force behind the library’s modernization. Tru cannot tell the police her whereabouts at the time of his death because she doesn’t want to reveal the work she’s been doing in the basement. At the same time, she feels compelled to help the police and make sure her library stays a safe space for everyone. That is why she and her friends decide to investigate on their own. That’s the start of the series and the opening of The Broken Spine, the first book in the mystery series.
Tru is like all book lovers. She is a book warrior. She’s determined to protect the books she loves. Luckily, we’re not called to do the same. For now, most libraries will remain filled with print editions of books. Thank goodness! But one day those books might become as obsolete as the ancient scroll.
So, let’s cherish the printed books at the libraries for as long as we can. While at the same time, we can celebrate that there are also ebooks, audiobooks, and graphic novels for readers who love those too. Let’s love them all.
As TS Elliot once wrote, “The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.” My wish is that you feel that hope in every book I write in the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series.
I hope you’ll join me in the pages of Tru’s latest adventure in A Book Club To Die For. It might be her most challenging one yet. What looks like an open and shut case to the police will put her boyfriend’s mother in jail for murder. Tru has promised to try and find another answer. The more she looks into the murder of the president of the local book club, the more she worries that she won’t like the answer she’s going to find. ♦
A Book Club to Die For (A Beloved Bookroom)
by Dorothy St. James
About A Book Club to Die For
When a member of an exclusive book club is checked out, spunky librarian Trudell Becket must sort fact from fiction to solve the murder.
The Cypress Arete Society is one of the town’s oldest and most exclusive clubs. When assistant librarian Trudell Becket is invited to speak to the group about the library, its modernization, and her efforts to bring printed books to the reading public, her friend Flossie invites herself along. Flossie has been on the book club’s waiting list for five years, and she’s determined to find out why she’s never received an invitation to join.
But not long after Tru and Flossie arrive for the meeting, they’re shocked to find the club’s president, Rebecca White, dead in the kitchen. Rebecca was a former TV actress and local celebrity, but was not known for being patient or pleasant. She’d been particularly unkind to the book club’s host for the evening, who also happens to be the mother of Detective Jace Bailey, Tru’s boyfriend. And Rebecca had made it clear that she didn’t think Flossie was book club material.
With her boyfriend and one of her best friends wrapped up in a murder, Tru has to work fast to figure out who cut Rebecca’s story short before the killer takes another victim out of circulation…
3rd in Series
Setting – Cypress, South Carolina
Berkley (November 1, 2022)
Hardcover : 304 pages
ISBN10 : 0593098633
ISBN13 : 9780593098639
ISBN : 9780593098653 (eBook)
ISBN : 9781666111668 (Audiobook)
ASIN : B09PZSBCVW (Kindle edition)
ASIN : B0BKP6YWFL (Audible Audiobook)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Kindle edition | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Penguin Random House | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook
About Dorothy St. James
Dorothy St. James is a former Folly Beach beach bum. She now lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, with her family, slightly (OK, terribly) needy dogs, and the friendliest cat you’ll ever meet. Author of a dozen novels, Dorothy enjoys writing both cozy mysteries and romance.
November 1 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 1 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
November 1 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
November 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
November 2 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
November 3 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
November 3 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
November 4 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
November 5 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 5 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 5 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
November 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
November 7 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 7 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 8 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT
November 8 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
November 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
November 9 – Nadaness In Motion – SPOTLIGHT
November 10 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 10 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
This is a giveaway for a library-themed tote bag filled with books and goodies hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for Dorothy St. James. Enter using the Rafflecopter link below. Void where prohibited.
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