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Library friends back new writers, fun events

If you are reading this column today, it is quite likely that you may not recognize the name Allen Eskens. Those fortunate enough to attend the special night at the Carnegie Library put on by the Douglas County Library Friends and Foundation on Oct. 16 got to meet Allen. Others may have seen his name on lists of book award winners and "hot books of the season" features. Allen writes suspenseful mysteries set in Minnesota. I'm three chapters into his first book, "The Life We Bury," and I'm already hooked. In a few years, his name may be on the list of Minnesota mystery authors whose new books are widely read and shared.

As a good librarian and avid mystery reader, I knew Allen's name. His book was on my to-read-sometime list. It stayed there until I heard Allen speak at length about his path to becoming a writer and his plans for future books. I was so excited to jump into his world that I purchased his first book from Cherry Street Books and dove right in. This wonderful fundraising event, which brought Allen Eskens to Douglas County, was thanks to a dedicated group from the Friends of the Library who dreamed up, planned and hosted it, which also featured the author Doug Ohman and the architect Reed Becker.

As I stated during some remarks I made that night, everyone who helps the library is a friend to the library. The patrons who visit us daily, weekly, monthly or yearly and make use of the library and its services are our friends. Those community members who support the library through donations of books or money are our friends. Those who bring their talents to the library for special events and classes are also our friends. Authors like Doug Ohman, who also spoke at the Carnegie Event, and performers like the magician Robert Halbrook, who did a Halloween-themed magic show for families Oct. 14, are repeat visitors to our library and our friends, who always bring their A-games.

While all who visit and help the library are friends, there are special friends who rise above and beyond. These individuals, families and businesses who join the Friends of the Library and pay their yearly membership dues, commit to supporting the Douglas County Library and our community. Friends assist with the annual book sale and the year-round book store. Friends help with special projects, like the Carnegie Event. The Friends donate money to the library each year to help fund our Summer Reading Program and other events for patrons, along with needed purchases like new shelves and other supplies.

Membership in the Friends of the Library is open to all. Information about membership in the Friends and all that they do is available on their new website: Check it out today! Friends events such as the book sale and the Carnegie evening are great ways to meet new friends and discover new authors like Allen Eskens!