New York Times Best Selling author, Karin Slaughter, saw a need at our local library and decided to do something about it. Turns out, there was NO MONEY in the budget to buy new books this year. So Karin put on a fundraiser (which I happily attended) for the DeKalb County Public Library. The event raised $50,000! But that was only the beginning...
Karin has released a Kindle Single, Thorn In My Side, Amazon's Thomas & Mercer's first mystery/thriller imprint release. 100% of her proceeds will go to SAVE THE LIBRARIES and THE READING AGENCY. (This is an adult story - not for kids.) Click the cover to buy the story.
As if that weren't enough, Karin addressed the Georgia House of Representatives during a special legislative session on SAVE THE LIBRARIES - pitching directly to those in charge of our library budget. House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) is "proud to recognize Karin in the Georgia House of Representatives for her accomplishments which she has achieved all over the world.”
I'm happy to have Karin as a guest today at dulemba.com...
Q. Karin, what was the initial seed that set you on this journey to help our library?
A. I'm sure you're like me and most authors I know--you got your start at your local library. This was very much the case when I was a kid. Every Saturday, my dad would drop me off at the Jonesboro library on his way to work. I got to spend the whole day there surrounding by books. It was bliss!
Q. I was so proud to be a part of the fundraiser. Can you tell my readers a little more about it?
A. Dekalb County, like many counties across the nation, experienced drastic cutbacks in the last few years, none more so than this year, when their budget was cut by almost two-thirds. Hours were slashed. Staff were fired. This was a really bad situation. As a resident of Dekalb, I thought I could do something good, so I talked them into letting me throw a fundraiser, and of course local authors like you, Denene Millner, Kathryn Stockett and Mary Kay Andrews were kind enough to help support the cause. To date, we've raised over $75,000 for the Dekalb Library Foundation.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish through SAVE THE LIBRARIES, THE READING AGENCY, and by addressing the Georgia House of Representatives?
A. My main hope is to take the message to the folks who control the purse strings. Firstly, digital books are not the death knell for libraries. People still need books. And when they want digital books, many library systems (hopefully Dekalb will soon be one of them) offer digital books to check out. Secondly, more people are using the libraries than ever. The bad economy is just one factor. For many folks who don't have a computer or internet access, the library offers them the only venue through which they can submit online applications. ESL classes, AA meetings--you name it, you can meet about it at the library. Politicians need to know, also, that every dollar invested in a library system yields an average of five dollars in return. Kids who read do better in school. Smart kids go to college. College grads make more money and pay more taxes and employ other people like gardeners, nannies, etc. They go to restaurants more. They buy fancy cars. All of this generates healthy tax revenue for the state. It's a win/win proposition--and a better way to spend our cash as opposed to more police officers, more juvenile court cases, and more remedial school courses. It's really one of the last nonpartisan issues. People need libraries no matter their religious or political affiliation.
Q. Are you getting a positive response to your efforts so far?
A. It's hard to find a human being living in America who has never stepped foot in a library. What's surprised me is the different types of folks who want to support our efforts. Home schoolers, for instance, are very pro-library because many of the expensive texts they need are part of the collections. Our history is stored in libraries. Our national archives are there. Libraries touch so many people on a personal level. Authors, especially, are eager to do their share. I haven't had one author tell me no when I've asked for help.
Q. Tell us about THORN IN MY SIDE. How did that come together?
A. Well, it's kind of a crazy story. It's dark because that's my thing--lots of crime and a good murder. It's also about sibling rivalry, and how sometimes two brothers might think they are polar opposites, but find out the hard way that they're just two sides of the same coin. I hope people enjoy it, and if they don't, I hope they lie about it on Amazon anyway because I know if this story is successful, I'll be able to talk more authors into doing it and donating their part to Save the Libraries.
Q. Finally, what can my readers do to help?
A. This is the question everyone wants an answer to and I love it because the answer is so simple. Don't try to save all the libraries in the world. Pick the branch down the street from you. Adopt them. Donate money if you can, or if you aren't inclined to do that, then write to your local representative and let him or her know how much the library means to you. In many cases, more people have library cards than voted in the last election--a sobering statistic for any politician. Barring these choices, you can always look on your shelves and find some good books to donate. Don't be like the stingy family who only donates beets and old creamed corn to the food drive. Give them the books that you love--the New York Times bestsellers, the books that everyone is talking about. Lastly, the Dekalb system has a great online feature where you can "adopt" a book in your name--or give an adoption as a gift. Instead of giving a gift basket to your kid's favorite teacher, why not adopt a book in her name? All of my Christmas presents this year are going to be book donated to the library.
Thanks so much Karin!
And remember - y'all are free to use my SAVE THE LIBRARY coloring page in the effort as well!! (Click the image to go to it's original post for download.)