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Accessing Local Authors

June 15, 2015

Local authors everywhere play to a small crowd. (Ok, Kent Haruf is a local author and his crowd is huge. But, you know what I mean.)

We would like to make a portal on the library website to lead readers to the websites of local authors. Lisa Marvel of The Book Haven does a remarkable job with her frequent events of providing a venue for local authors as well as small-press and self-published authors from elsewhere.

We’d like to augment that support by keeping a list of our local writers. If you have a website that highlights your writing, we’d like to know about it.

We have not yet defined “local.” I imagine it to be less than the area covered by Colorado Central Magazine, less than the Arkansas Valley Publishing Co.’s empire but maybe more than The Mountain Mail’s coverage.

Then again, maybe we’ll become amoebic about it. Let’s start and see what happens. I can imagine a Crestone or Westcliffe writer being included. Leadville? Alamosa? Gunnison? Why not.

Should we measure by time or distance? It might take longer to reach a writer’s nearby cabin than to drive to Leadville or Alamosa.

The point is we have skilled and interesting writers in these parts, whether formally published or not, and it would be good to find them easily. What it means to be “published” has changed so much in the last decade that the landscape for writers is drastically different.

It’s like climbing to the saddle of Mt. Shavano and looking westward for the first time. There’s Mt. Blog. There’s Mt. Ebook. And it’s only been eight years since the first Kindle e-reader was released. Think of the changes in “e-reading” since then—via computers, readers, tablets, phones. And if “e-reading” includes listening, even more.

The Chaffee County Writers Exchange lists member sites, but we’d like to make a larger list. Check them out, though. They have one of the best web addresses around: http://www.writersexchange.org/.

So help us gather our list of local writer websites. Get in touch with Joy Jackson at the library, jjackson@salidalibrary.org <mailto:jjackson@salidalibrary.org>. Submit yours or suggest a friend’s.

Speaking of bookstores, I regretted missing Independent Bookstore Day May 2nd . I checked briefly with The Book Haven to see if they were doing anything, but they were already too busy with other events. However, nationwide this new celebration seems to have been a success, so we’ll make note of it next year.

Salida is blessed to have two working bookstores downtown: The Book Haven on F Street and All Booked Up on First St.This circumstance reflects both the commitment of the owners as well as the city’s residents.

Buenos Aires has the distinction of being the major city with the most bookstores per capita (25 stores per 100,000 people). Salida’s count would put us at about 35 stores per 100,000, were we larger, which we’re not, thank you.

It might seem that reading is a private affair, but it has a strong cultural component, which Salida seems to have. The library has over 200 children signed up already for the summer reading program.

If you have children in your life, encourage them to sign up. Two-year-olds through children just completing 6^th grade are eligible. Read books; get prizes! I have no problem with bribery. I mean, incentives.

Or make the book the incentive: Sign up for The Imagination Library. Children up to age five receive a book a month in the mail—free. Registration forms at the library.

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