I volunteered last Saturday at the state Book Festival where several Kansas authors as well as authors who have written about topics with a Kansas tie read excerpts from their books, talked about the writing process and held question/answer sessions about whatever their listeners found most interesting about what they had shared.
I acted as hostess in one of the lecture rooms and had a chance to hear a panel of children’s authors featuring Lisa Harkreder, Roy Bird and Roderick Townley as well as Kelly Enright who wrote a biography of Osa and Martin Johnson, early naturalists who spent years immersed in the culture and terrain of Africa and the South Seas.
This is the second year for the festival which is intended to encourage reading. It was a great day and the festival was well attended. Watching people form long lines to have authors sign the books they were buying by the armful it would be easy to be lulled into the sense that reading is alive and well in Kansas, and in some parts of the state I suppose it is. But that isn’t true everywhere.
There are city libraries in the state of Kansas which have not purchased a new book in eight years. For some small Kansans who have the greatest need for reading material, eight years is a lifetime, their lifetime. I understand tight budgets. I know that new books come at a cost; but not a single book to be shared by an entire county? That cost is simply too high to pay.
Heard at the Kansas Book Festival…
“We have these levels. We often live in the most superficial levels, but it is our deeper levels where the magic is.” Roderick Townley author of The Door in the Forrest