Miss Lucy, the librarian, was the most exotic person of Tugs's acquaintance. Unmarried, yet not a widow or an old maid, taller even than Uncle Elmer, with wavy sunset-orange hair skimming her belt, and a warm whispery voice, she seemed completely unaware of Tugs's lack of academic prowess whenever she chose books for her. (The Luck of the Buttons, p. 44)
It's book launch day for The Luck of the Buttons and it's also National Library Workers Day. I know Tugs would want to say THANK YOU to Miss Lucy and I'd like to thank librarians everywhere for the work they do to connect readers with books and information.
I grew up going to the Roosevelt branch of the Minneapolis Public Library where my own Miss Lucy, Lucy Selander, seemed to have magical powers. She would stand in front of the shelves of books, look over at me with a long pause, maybe ask a question or two, then turn back and peruse the shelves while I held my breath, wondering what treasure she'd retrieve.
Lucy was also the librarian behind the counter when I signed up for my first library card. Because I had an older sister, I knew that in order to get my card I had to be able to print my full name. Anne was easy, but my middle name, Elizabeth, seemed an endless stream of letters. I practiced and practiced at home and was so proud to walk into the library that day and ask for a card.
Lucy passed a card and a pen across the counter. I remember sounding out Elizabeth as I wrote: Eliz za beth. Elizzabeth. I passed the card back for approval. Lucy praised my neat printing then asked me if I was sure that my middle name had two z's. Yes, I said. I'm sure. I pronounced it out loud for her. To her great credit, Lucy did not dampen my big moment by correcting me. She simply smiled, congratulated me, and handed me my card. I've been proud to carry a library card ever since.
Thank you, Lucy!