Libraries are wonderful!

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, September 2, 2020

By Jen Pace Dickenson

Shelf Life


September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, a time when the American Library Association and libraries nationwide join together to remind you that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning. This September, DC’s Wonder Woman is embarking on a new mission to champion the power of a library card. Do you have a Polk County Public Libraries card? With it, you have access to 7.2 million items through NC Cardinal, including books, DVDs, CDs, tablets, and board games, as well as thousands of e-books and e-audiobooks. Just for fun, below is a list of books set in libraries.


The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.


What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Samantha is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living. But she wasn’t always that way. Duncan is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen. But he wasn’t always that way. And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before and back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam.


Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron

On the coldest night of the year in Spencer, Iowa, at only a few weeks old, Dewey was stuffed into the return book slot of the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.


Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

In this young adult novel, Cynthia’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high school librarian. Cyn can totally see why… He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But before long, Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact, a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend—and, it seems, the entire student body—from the clutches of the evil librarian.


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Zachary is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the library. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth.


The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

Lucy, a children’s librarian in Missouri, finds herself both kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten-year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. Ian needs Lucy’s help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother. Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian when she finds him camped out in the library after hours, and the odd pair embark on a crazy road trip.


Jen Pace Dickenson is the youth services librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.