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So when my kids are grown, and their kids are grown, and libraries have been replaced by DigitalMedia Centers, gleaming glass storefronts where kids line up after school to have Wikipedia shoot their book reports directly into their brains, what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 author of six novels, including the New York Times bestseller Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and the middle-grade novel The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman, an Edgar Award nominee and a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of 2011. Winters’ other books include the science-fiction Tolstoy parody Android Karenina, the Finkleman sequel The Mystery of the Missing Everything, the supernatural thriller Bedbugs, and the The Last Policeman

Winters also wrote the book and lyrics for three musicals for young audiences: The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, A (Tooth) Fairy Tale, and Uncle Pirate, based on the award-winning children’s book by Douglas Rees.

He is at work on a book of scary poems for kids, to be published by Price Stern Sloan in spring, 2013.