Laura Moriarity

Laura Moriarty: 'I'm so grateful for libraries and librarians'

"I owe libraries so much."

I owe libraries so much. I started reading at libraries, of course when I was little I would get a huge garbage bag and take home an entire plastic bag full of books.

And I also owe libraries for my newest novel because I wrote about the orphan trains and I wouldn't have known about that whole historical era if it hadn't been for...  I guess it five or six years ago I walked into my library and there was a huge display informing me about the orphan trains and it was such an interesting poster board triptich educational thing.  

So I went home and read about it and it actually found its way into my newest novel.

I probably check out between me and my young daughter I probably checkout 250 library books a year. Easily. 

I use it to research for my novel. I use it for pleasure reading. I use it for coming up with new ideas what kinds of things I want to write about and I'm so grateful for libraries and librarians.

I do, the Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas.  I would have to say Linda who is the public, the children's librarian and she is so kind and warm to young readers and encouraging them to read all the and at the same time she stays very current with adult contemporary fiction.

[On budget cuts] I feel terrible about library budget cuts. I'm proud that in town we all just got together and voted  for improvements on our library and it was a very contentious battle because as we know everybody is under budget pressures right now but the community as a whole we really voted to sustain our library and I'm so glad we did.

I think they're the heart of the community and...they really are. They are the heart of the community.

It's so important to have one, you know, as a physical space where people can come and read about books and it's not about commerce, it's not about buying and selling. It's a place of sharing knowledge and ideas.

And I think they're essential for community.  I think there's this, for people who don't know librarians, they sort of think, "oh  a librarian is this very sort of conservative... stuffy, woman  who sits alone in a..." and they're actually these radical people who fight hard against banning books and they will not back down, and they are on the forefront of making sure books don't get banned. And I think that's amazing and they're politically active about it and I think  that's wonderful and I respect the hard work that they do. 

My latest project, after "The Chaparone", or "The Chaparone"? The new book that just came out... as I said I was walking into my Lawrence public library and I saw this display about orphan trains so that figures into the book. But the other thing is, I was browsing in a book store and I came across a biography of Louise Brooks the 1920's film star and I was reading about her and I realized she grew up in Wichita, Kansas and she was beautiful, smart, she was arrogant, condescending, witty, funny, mean...self-destructive, brilliant. 

And she was all these things even when she was 15 and then I read that when she was 15 she got into the Denishawn Dance School  and she was allowed to go to New York City for the summer but she had to bring along a chaparone and in her biography it doesn't say much about the chaparone she sort of lost. The history was Louise Brooks became one of the most famous actresses of the twenties and I thought, well that would have been so interesting  to watch someone try to chaparone Louise Brooks, so I invented this entire history for Cora Carlisle my invented chaparone and she and Louise Brooks go to New York City together in the summer of 1922.

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Book Title: 

The Chaparone

Library Name: 

Lawrence (Kan.) Public Library