In June of 2010, my husband and I visited our friends Pam and Mack Hohmann in Waterford, Michigan. During the visit, Pam took us to Harsens Island, a beautiful place of freshwater deltas, plentiful wildlife, boating (especially freighter-watching — those suckers are HUGE!), and some of the best perch sandwiches on the planet.
While browsing the shops, we happened upon the Readers Cove. What we took to be a bookstore turned out to be the tiny island library. The ladies there (all volunteers) welcomed us in and regaled us with wonderful stories of the island and the building in which the library is housed. During the conversation, it came out that I’m a writer. One thing led to another and soon we were discussing the possibility of my returning to the island for a book signing and talk in 2011.
Well, it finally happened! On Saturday, June 25, I spent three of the best hours of my life at Readers Cove.
Because it’s ridiculous to attempt to improve upon excellence, I’ll take the liberty of quoting from an email I received from a library patron, fifteen-year-old Tia:
“The library’s humble appearance may give you the impression that it’s nothing much, but once you swing that wooden door open, you’re invited into a world of care, love, and reading.”
I couldn’t agree more. This is a tiny library with PRESENCE. The work involved is accomplished through a deep and abiding love for the magic of the written word and a desire to share and nurture that love in both children and adults.
I’ve attended book events big and small, from major chain houses to tiny independent bookstores. I’ve visited libraries of all shapes and sizes, and I’ve never experienced anything to match the enthusiasm of the Harsens Islanders. Everyone who came in that day made it a point to come over and say hello (no shy wall-flowers here!) and purchase a book. Their questions were interesting, intelligent, thought-provoking . . . and they actually listened to the answers which, in turn, created more questions. The three hours flew by!
In truth, the day exceeded my expectations. The staff had warned me that they could not predict interest or turn-out or sales, so I went into this with no expectations. I figured that if I spoke to one person and (maybe) sold one book, I could consider the day a success. Well, Harsens Island, you blew me away!
So — THANK YOU to Readers Cove, to the wonderful volunteer staff and patrons. Thanks you to everyone on Harsens Island. And Thank you also (in no particular order) to Chris, Mary Ann, Sandy, and Karen for a terrific time and a delightful lunch. (Even though the chef never did give me that recipe for the stuffed pepper soup.)
Harsens Island, I’ll be back!