National Library Week: A Love Letter to Cleo Rogers Memorial Library

Posted by Ben H. Winters

For National Library Week, we asked some of our authors to reflect on the libraries in their lives. Here's Ben H. Winters (The Last Policeman) on his:

Last weekend I took this picture of the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, in Columbus, Indiana, about an hour from where I live in Indianapolis. Like a lot of buildings in Columbus—a small town with a  rich architectural tradition—this building is a masterpiece, built in 1969 by I.M. Pei.

The best part is that the Cleo Rogers is not just an architecture-and-design showpiece, it’s a working library, full of cranky old people and amateur novelists and wandering hobos and noisy teenagers and shy hipster librarians and all of the other wonderful characters who populate libraries all across the country.
So when my kids are grown, and their kids are grown, and libraries have been replaced by DigitalMedia Centers, gleaming glass storefronts where kids line up after school to have Wikipedia shoot their book reports directly into their brains, what will happen to all of the gorgeous library buildings and the ensemble casts who inhabited them? Will they just be GONE?
Man, I fucking hope not.

Ben H. Winters

Ben H. Winters is the New York Times best-selling, Edgar Award–winning, and Philip K. Dick Award–winning author of The Quiet Boy, Golden State, Underground Airlines, the Last Policeman trilogy, and the mash-up novel Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Ben has also worked extensively in television; he was a writer on the FX cult hit Legion as well as Manhunt on Apple TV+, and he is the creator of the CBS drama Tracker. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, three kids, and one large dog.