To see how exciting getting your first library card can be, look no further than the Chicago Public Library's Facebook page. Every week, the library posts a picture of a new card holder — so far all of them featuring children with wide smiles, their faces aglow.
Now, these new members can check out books. Eventually, a librarian will help them with a research paper or a school project. In the future, if my own experience is any example, their local library will become a symbol of home and their local librarians will become fast friends.
This piece first ran in Printers Row Journal, delivered to Printers Row members with the Sunday Chicago Tribune and by digital edition via email. Click here to learn about joining Printers Row.
In celebration of National Library Week, which lasts through Saturday, we asked five Chicago Public librarians to recommend what you should read next. Here are their edited responses.
"After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story" by Michael Hainey, Scribner, 320 pages, $26
Michael Hainey's account of his search for the truth surrounding his father's death at 35 is touching in the way it reveals how his father's early death haunted him and shaped his relationship with his mother. It is equally engaging because of all of the insider details about the Chicago newspaper scene in its heyday (Hainey's father was a newspaperman).
— Maria Villanueva
"The Patrick Melrose Novels" by Edward St. Aubyn, Picador, 688 pages, $20 (paperback)
Patrick Melrose is born into a decadent aristocratic English family and suffers cruel abuse at the hands of his father. From there we trace his lifelong efforts to recover from the damage. It's dark, but surprisingly funny with effortless Wildean wit and hard-earned hopefulness.
— Stephen Sposato
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by Maria Semple, Little, Brown and Company, 336 pages, $25.99
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by former "Arrested Development" writer, Maria Semple, is a hilarious story of a woman's life spinning out of control. Semple pokes fun at nearly everything from helicopter parents to support groups. The rollicking plot, sympathetic characters and slide-splitting writing will keep you turning the pages.
— Kelly Griffin
"Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers, McSweeney's, 342 pages, $24
When I picked up "Zeitoun" after a recommendation from another librarian, I was hooked. The shocking account of one family's experiences during Hurricane Katrina was eye-opening and tragic while also being beautifully written.
— Kristen Edson
Silent in the Grave "The Dark Enquiry" (a Lady Julia Grey novel) by Deanna Raybourn, Mira, 448400 pages, ADDED$13.95
"To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor." Lady Julia's first lines in "Silent in the Grave" let readers know that these characters are people you want to know more about.
— Stephanie Flinchbaugh
Courtney Crowder covers the Chicago literary scene for Printers Row Journal.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times