AUTHOR, GINGER WADSWORTH ROARS FOR LIBRARIES
Ginger at Yosemite National Park. Half Dome in the background.
Hello! My name is Ginger Wadsworth, and my newest book is Yosemite’s Songster: One Coyote’s Story, illustrated by Dan San Souci and published by the Yosemite Conservancy.
Going to our local library was a regular family activity. I remember walking along the low brick wall edging the building, up the steps, and inside to the children’s room on the left. Tall stacks invited me to search for the perfect titles, usually about horses or dogs. We always lugged home armfuls of books. Every night, my father read library books to my two brothers and me before we headed off to bed.
After my parents said goodnight and closed my bedroom door, I scurried beneath my 4-poster bed with my flashlight, pillow, and a book to read. And I wonder why I’ve been wearing glasses since the fourth grade. J
I write nonfiction for young readers, so I always begin my research at my local library.
Google is great, but there is nothing better than perusing a real book. I usually start by reading the back matter, where a treasure trove of information waits . . . where/how the author did research, the individuals that he/she contacted, and a bibliography of titles for further reading. I’ve traveled around the United States to do research in libraries in Yosemite National Park, the Beinecke Library at Yale University, the Bancroft Library at the University of California/Berkeley, Herbert Hoover’s Presidential Library, and many more. Each spot is different, and I feel so lucky to “work” in one of these amazing edifices.
Funding for libraries, especially school libraries, is currently under threat. As an author, what are your thoughts about that?
“When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.” ― Isaac Asimov
At a library with my golden retriever, Willa. Children learning about the summer reading program.
With Lin Look from the Orinda (California) Library, I helped start the first Paws to Read in our county. Now there are programs in many other local libraries. Elementary schools are also initiating similar afterschool reading sessions. Children in grades K-5 sign up to read out loud to a trained therapy dog.
Children get to practice their reading and hang out with a dog. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, and it’s actually part of a national program called R.E.A.D. With my golden retriever, Willa, I have been doing this for eight years. We visit three public libraries and two afterschool programs. Willa can’t wait to prance into the library in her yellow vest that denotes that she is working.
We’re affiliated with arfnet, a local animal rescue foundation. I hand out Willa’s business card to each reader. Many children have read to her; she even has her own little fan club! My goal as a writer is to put books—any good books—in the hands of children. And to have them be able to read!! What could be more perfect than at the library with a trained, gentle therapy dog lounging beside a young reader!
“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” ― Maya Angelou
I’m going to ROAR for Lin Look, Youth Services at Orinda Library, part of the Contra Costa County, California library system.
Willa with Youth Services Librarian, Lin Look, from the Orinda, CA public library.
“At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.” Barack Obama (Keynote Address, ALA Conference, 2005).
“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.” – Lemony Snicket
I love this quote in so many ways because this describes how I feel about my community library AND about my library in my home. Or should I say my home, which is actually a library. You get the picture . . . books everywhere!!