I adore libraries. When I was a kid, our mom used to take us to the local library once a week, and set us free to pick out books. I remember spending hours reading spines and dust jackets, trying to pick out the very best books. I'd always have a heavy armful of novels and craft books, and would set them in front of the librarian at the checkout desk with a most satisfying thump.
To this day, I love the quiet and calm and vague mustiness of a library. I particularly love that libraries are free and open to everyone. Sure, there might be hundreds of online resources for learning about everything from artichokes to zucchini, but in my mind, there's nothing quite like picking up an actual cookbook and looking at the photos, or learning about color theory from a beautifully illustrated painting book.
I also love that libraries these days are much more focused on creating fun programs for their communities. When I was a kid, programs generally were limited to story time for really little kids. Nowadays, lots of libraries have these fantastic rooms set aside for all kinds of awesome programs, like mitten-making, puppet shows, and even tiny food crafting! It's fun to be in a library and chattering away exuberantly while crafting.
Librarians really made the writing of our book possible. A local librarian in Charlottesville initially asked me to teach a class on making tiny fruits as an after-school activity for teenagers. From that first class, many more followed, especially teen summer programs through the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. Another librarian, Barbara Kreuter, from Staunton, VA strongly encouraged us to write a book based on my classes. She was also a sneaky supporter of the actual writing process (we kept it a secret until early this year), and helped set up several classes for her library so that I could test out recipes on real people. Thank you again to all you participants in my classes for helping us refine many of the recipes in the book, and for asking so many great questions.
So it's especially gratifying that a lovely youth services librarian from New York wrote a sweet review of our book on her blog, 4YA: Inspiration for Youth Advocates!
If you haven't been into a library in a while (or a long, long time), I definitely encourage you to go. This time of year (fall, sliding into winter) is particularly good for spending some quality time getting inspired in the cookbook section. Or maybe even revisiting a classic, and deciding that you too need to make a little madeline charm in honor of Rememberance of Things Past.