If you noticed the members of Reader Services looking teary yesterday there is a simple explanation: we received news that a patron we had all worked with had passed away. You might assume it was someone who regularly came into the Library and spoke with us at the desk, but in fact none of us ever met her. What we knew was that she was a voracious reader–primarily of cozy mysteries (preferably in long series)–who was always looking for new books. It was her husband, however, whom we met each week–a kindly gentleman who admitted he didn’t know what books to pick out for his wife. He was just the go-between, picking them up and returning books as she sped through them.
We “met” his wife an old-fashioned way: through notes. She would send in handwritten lists of authors and titles she wanted to try. In return, we began to print out lists of books in series so she could check them off as she finished them. Sometimes we’d write notes (“Have you tried this author?” “What do you think of this type of mystery?”) and she’d send back short replies. Through it all her husband would patiently wait for us to pull stacks of books from the shelves and shrug as we’d hand him another list of books we wondered if she might like.
And then we didn’t see him. The husband’s schedule was random so we each figured he had been by during someone else’s shift. That was until yesterday, when he stopped by to gently inform us that his wife had passed away.
Does it seem strange that we would mourn a person we never held a conversation with, never met in person? Perhaps, but she was not only a patron. She was of our tribe, a reader, and we appreciated her nearly insatiable enjoyment for books. It bound us together and the loss of that connection is keenly felt.
Are you a reader? Stop by any time and “talk books” with us at Reader Services. Or, if you’d rather, drop us a note. We’ll reply.