Wednesday, February 15, 2017

When Librarians Gather

A guest post by Miranda James.

Librarians, like other professional groups, have professional associations – associations that serve general or specialized needs. The catch-all in the United States is the American Library Association, and its annual meeting, held in the summer, attracts the largest number of librarians, exhibitors, and library supporters. 

Then there are the specialized associations, like the Medical Library Association, the Public Library Association, the Special Library Association, the American Association of Law Libraries, and so on. Beyond these there are regional association meetings of various kinds. These days travel funds are restricted, so attendance is down across the board, but librarians still manage to meet.

When I was thinking about the plot of Twelve Angry Librarians, I wanted it to involve some kind of library association meeting. Since Charlie works at an academic library, I thought a regional academic library meeting was exactly what was needed. Thus the Southern Academic Library Association (SALA) was born.

Librarians attend these conferences for numerous reasons – networking with other librarians, sharing information on technology, trends, and workplace issues, giving presentations on various topics, and reconnecting with friends and former colleagues. There are always keynote speeches, given by notable, occasionally controversial, speakers. These are the elements that helped create the story in this book.

At the SALA meeting, hosted by the Athena College Library, Charlie has the chance to visit with two old friends from his library school days. He is also forced to deal with his nemesis from that same time in his life, the odious Gavin Fong. Charlie and Gavin have an unfriendly history between them, and hostilities reopen in the present. When Gavin, one of the keynote speakers, drops dead during his talk, Charlie could be on top of the suspect list. He fought in public with Gavin at the conference…

That was the genesis of the plot of Twelve Angry Librarians.

Miranda James is the pseudonym of Dean James, a seventh-generation Mississippian long transplanted to Texas. A mystery fan since the age of ten, he wrote his first novel at the ripe old age of twelve. The only copy of The Mystery of the Willow Key vanished years ago, but since it was highly derivative of the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series, that’s probably a good thing. 

 Dean lives with two young cats, thousands of books, and thinks frequently about killing people – but only in the pages of fiction.

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