Thursday, March 5, 2009


I love libraries!! I always have. Some of my best childhood memories involve hanging out at the old Winterset Library after school then toting home an armload of books! Thanks to the local library, this small town girl visited places in her imagination that were way beyond the borders of the Midwest. In fact, the very first books I ever read dealing with the paranormal were courtesy of that library!!

Now as an author, my love affair with libraries has taken on a new dimension. I've had the privilege of doing events at various's been great. I've enjoyed seeing each building's uniqueness, from the Andrew Bayne Memorial Library in Pittsburgh (it's haunted btw, and no, during my visit I did not meet Amanda!) to our local Carnegie library here in Stuart. The events have been fun and the people attending, wonderful audiences! And like ever author, I value the support given to us by libraries across the country.

Well, now it's my turn...I received the following email this week from Pat and Gary at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and it's a plea to help the Cedar Rapids Public Library. You see last summer, Iowa experienced some of the worst flooding ever, and the small city of Cedar Rapids was hit particularly hard. Their library was destroyed, and according to Todd at Mystery Cat Books in Cedar Rapids, the library lost over 250,000 books, one of the largest losses ever sustained by a library. The two bookstores, Once Upon a Crime and Mystery Cat Books, are organizing fund raisers and have already held a few, but they're still looking for donations. So if any of you out there want to help, the contact information is at the bottom of this post. Later, when they hold the auction on Ebay, I'll post the info for that event.

With the economy the way it is right now, these are tough times for everyone, and there are many worthwhile organizations needing help. But for me, as an author and a life long lover of books, this situation really hit home. I'm sure that they'll appreciate any help you might be able to offer!

That's it for now-I'm stepping off my soapbox and thanks for reading this rather long post! 8) Hope everyone has a good one!!


Dear Authors around the country
Help, if you have not already and I have no way of knowing is you have; send some (or one), signed copies of your books to the Mystery Cat Books for them to sell on the April ebay sale to raise money. FEMA is doing nothing as you might have guessed. Kindly let your colleagues know about this appeal by forwarding this email to them. We need libraries and this library needs us.
We have been getting donation for several months and we need more.
Pat Frovarp and Gary Shulze (Once Upon a Crime, Minneapolis, MN.)

The following is our generic plea.
We would be happy to receive your donations in books, CDs, DVDs children, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, history, just about anything that a library lends, also audio books. Some things will be used to raise money as in library sales, there will be an e bay auction sometime later this Spring featuring pricier editions and collectibles to raise money but many donations will go directly on the shelves in this temporary library at the shopping mall. They lost everything, including furnishings, bookcases, appliances, office equipment and their building which may yet have to be demolished.

Make payable to the Friends of the CR Public Library and mail to:
Mystery Cat Books
112 32nd St. Dr. SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403


Casey said...

Thanks for letting us know about this, Shirley. Am I free to post the original message (not your part of it) in other places? I'd like to help get the word out.

Shirley Damsgaard said...

You bet!!! Post away! And thanks for the help...I'll let Pat, Gary, and Todd know that you're pitching in.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Shirley, this is important enough that I posted a link to this post on my Win a Book site. I'd be surprised if some of my readers don't get involved.

And where's the Andrew Bayne Memorial Library? I need to play hooky one day and take a trip there (unless it's somewhere unsafe like the bad part of Homewood)!

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Thank you so much, Susan, for spreading the word! The more chatter about this, the better! Your post was lovely btw—I loved your line about keeping undiscovered friends reading. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Helping where we can, and when we can, whether we know someone or not. I’m sure the library will be very grateful for you and your readers’ support!!

Where’s the Andrew Bayne Memorial Library? In Bellvue and the address is 34 N. Balph Ave., Pittsburgh, PA. When I was looking up the address for you, I ran across the description of the library on Wikipedia ( The article explains how the mansion became a library and about Amanda.

One last thing, if you’re looking for a day trip to Pittsburgh...Casey and I will be at the 14th annual Festival of Mystery, sponsored by Mystery Lovers Bookshop, on May 4th in Oakmont. If you’re out and about, stop by and say “hi!” We’d love to meet you in person!!

J. M. Sabel said...

If we have a bunch of unread books, can we send them to the address?

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Yes, J.M. and thanks!! Send them to Mystery Cat Books at the address listed...Todd will make sure that the library receives them.