Last July I received an email from the children's librarian in Galesville, Wisconsin, inquiring whether Cody Harmon, King of Pets was going to be the concluding title in my Franklin School Friends series, or if additional titles were planned. She explained that she has a section of her library for "series" books (with "series" defined as "more than five books"). Should she move Franklin School Friends into the series section or keep it with the regular collection?
I wrote back expressing astonishment at such heroic efforts to shelve my books correctly. She and I then fell into a witty email correspondence, as she happens to be one of the funniest human beings I have ever encountered. I couldn't resist dropping a hint that I'd be interested in coming to Wisconsin to do some author visits at local schools (and also admire my appropriately shelved books in the Galesville public library). Wina (pronounced Winna) passed my name onto a school librarian friend, who was indeed interested in sharing my services with her teachers and students, but lacked the budget to bring an author all the way from Colorado.
Oh, well. I tried.
But - wait - I really did want this to happen - and Galesville isn't that far from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where a new friend of mine teaches in the philosophy department (a friend I met last summer when I gave a talk at the American Society of Aesthetics in Santa Fe). What if - ooh - what if the university would be willing to host me as a visitor? I could be both visiting professor AND visiting author, as I had recently done at Coastal Carolina University and Carleton College?
So tomorrow I fly to Minneapolis, where I'll rent a car to drive two-and-a-half hours to LaCrossse, Wisconsin. Then I'll spend all of next week presenting to children at six different elementary schools: Galesville, Ettrick, North Woods, Whitehall, West Salem, and Northside, as well as at two public libraries: Galesville and LaCrosse. I'll also give a talk at the university. And meet Wina at last!
All of this thanks to one librarian who cared enough about how to shelve my books in her library to write a hilarious email to me. And to one brilliant and generous philosophy professor friend who took time out of her enormously busy schedule to write a grant proposal to fund my presentation at her university and outreach from the university to the community.
Wisconsin, here I come!