On Wednesday I started from Warsaw and drove to Ft. Wayne, where I stopped by the Allen County County Public Library. Believe it or not, Dunkin’ Donuts has a concession at one corner of the building. I loved that! Because it’s a downtown location, you can even park in the library’s lot at specially marked spaces and and run in to get your daily donuts on your way to work. At how many other downtown libraries can you do that? Anyway, the combination of coffee, donuts, and books seems like a good one to me. Too bad I was in a hurry.
Here’s a photo of the Allen County Public Library. If you look closely at the window closest to the entrance, you can see the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup symbol. (I don’t know why this cracked me up, but it did.)
Inside, I had hoped to meet with Kathy, the adult bibliographer, but she was at a library association function that day, so Dave at the Readers’ Services Desk listened patiently while I explained the adventure, the contest and the materials, and he promised to get them to Kathy, (In fact, he took the envelope to her desk while I waited and brought back a business card for me.) So, for you readers who live in Ft. Wayne and want to enter the contest, see Kathy or Dave.
From Ft. Wayne I drove north on I-69 to the Auburn exit, stopped at a Starbucks for a cup of Tazo Awake tea and a restroom break, then proceeded to the Eckhart Public Library in Auburn in Dekalb County. In contrast to either the modern styles of the libraries at Allen County and Michigan City, or the classic Carnegie Libraries I’d encountered in a lot of other places, the entrance to the Eckhard Public Library in Auburn looks like the door to a beautiful cottage out of a fairy tale. (Of course, it’s attached to a rather large building, but still, I was enchanted, even if the door is only for show now. The entrance is around back.)
I went in and introduced myself to Stacy, who was interested in the journey that brought me to Auburn. She took the materials and said she’d be sure to let her mystery readers know about the contest. It was great to talk with her.
Back in the car I just avoided yet another train delay (the RR crossing arms went up just as I arrived…perhaps my luck is improving…) and headed back to I-69 and to the furthest county northeast, Steuben, and their main library in Angola. I was looking for Wayne Street but missed it twice and ended up going through the roundabout that marks the center of town a few times. I loved the statue in the middle of the roundabout, so I took a photo of it. (I think Trine State University uses it as their symbol.)
Once I located Wayne Street, I went south and found the library. Once inside, I met with several librarians, including Margaret, who noticed the return address of Plainfield on my contest envelope. It turns out she’s a frequent visitor to the Plainfield Public Library because she does genealogy work on her family, and many of them are from Hendricks County. So we had a long talk about family names and relatives of hers still living in Hendricks County. It was great fun, and the librarians there were very supportive of my adventure and promised to order the new book. Here’s Margaret with the envelope:
I returned to I-69 and, after a break for lunch at a Taco Bell, took the interstate back south until I reached U.S. 27/33 east to Decatur, which is in Adams County. My contact there was Louise, the supervisor of adult services, who remembered receiving my advance letter. She said she’d ordered the book, which made me feel good. After a brief chat, she let me take a photo of her with the envelope.
From there I went west on U.S. 224 into Wells County and diverted off onto S.R. 1 down to Bluffton. Bluffton is quite the historic town. In fact, I was really amazed at how many of these northern Indiana towns I’d been in that had long histories and well-preserved historical districts. Anyway, that being said, the library was more modern than historic. It even included a coffee shop, the Bohemian Bean Cafe. Here’s a photo of me across the street from the library. (Did you forget what I looked like? Every once in a while I feel I have to take my photo at a library just to prove I was there…)
I went inside and found Vi, the adult/reference librarian. Although Vi hadn’t received my advance letter (or maybe hadn’t read it…she showed me her big box of unopened junk mail), she was very nice, and when she read the Library Journal review of Saintly Remains in my materials, she recognized it and said she’d been interested in the book and had ordered it. The library also had a copy of Angels Whisper. I felt really good at this point. Vi was gracious about taking the envelope and said she’d recommend me to her mystery readers. Here’s Vi with the contest materials.
One last stop before I headed home: Huntington City Township Public Library in Huntington County. I went back up S.R. 1 and took U.S. 224 until I got into the city and found the library. The library has a whimsical feel to it, with a creative sculpture outside the entrance and little touches of fancy inside, like the sitting bench that looks like a train that kids can play on in the children’s area. (I was told it was the first in the nation.) So here’s the library and the outside sculpture.
Inside I met the library director, Kathy, who, although she was not aware I was coming, was amused by my adventure and agreed to order a copy of my book. She gave me a short tour of the library, explaining the changes that were coming as the library was under construction. The expansion is expected to open during National Library Week. Kathy was very gracious with her time, and I thank her for that. Here is a photo of the two of us joking around as I officially handed her the envelope. By the way, the desk we are standing behind is the library’s original circulation desk, circa 1904.
Well, that was it for the day. After three days out, it was time to head back home.
The total now stands at 24 counties down, 68 to go; 32 libraries down, 69 to go. I’m getting there!