My daughter received her first library card. Her father might be more excited about it than she is, and for good reason.

My daughter received her first library card last weekend. She was thrilled.

I think my wife and I were even more excited than she was.

She also checked out her first book with it: If You Give a Moose a Muffin.

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I didn’t receive my first library card until I was ten years-old. There were very few books in my home when I was growing up, so my library card represented access to a world never before seen by me. I loved my public library, despite it’s miniscule size (a single room of books) and placement in the basement of our town hall. I would walk the aisles, staring at the spines of the books, unable to fathom how many stories were now available to me.

Today my hometown library is a beautiful building located in what used to be my middle school. It’s enormous, illuminated by natural light, filled with more books than my childhood mind could have ever imagined, and equipped with all the amenities of a modern-day library.


I’ve had the pleasure of speaking there on a few occasions, and while I adore the space, I still hold a special place in my heart for that small, basement room in the town hall where so many doors opened for me for the first time.

After some sleuthing by a clever reader, I even managed to identify and locate the first library book that I ever checked out, and a copy sits on my bookshelf today.


I have yet to reread it, fearful that it won’t be as spellbinding as I remember it to be, but I’ll crack it open soon.

Today copies of all three of my novels can be found in the same library where my daughter received her first library card All three can also be found on the shelves of my hometown library.

This astounds me. My heart still flutters every time I see one of my novels on a bookstore shelf, but seeing them on the shelves of these two libraries means more to me than I can describe.

I have wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember, but in my wildest boyhood dreams, I never imagined that my books would someday find their way onto the shelves of the library where the world of books and reading first opened to me.

And as a parent, the idea that my books are sitting on the shelves of the same library where my daughter received her first library card is equally indescribable.

My daughter was decidedly less impressed, and she is never terribly  excited about seeing her father’s books on library or bookstore shelves. That’s okay. My novels don’t have any pictures, and the endings aren’t always happy.

As long as she’s reading something, I don’t care.

My very first library book found!

In March of 2012 I wrote a post about the important role that my  hometown library played for me when I was a child. As a person who grew up with very few books in the home and no age-appropriate books, the library was a sanctuary for me.

In the post, I also wrote about the very first library book that I ever borrowed:

I still remember the first book that I checked out of the library, but I cannot remember the title, and for years, I have been trying to find it. It was a dystopian science fiction story in which the tallest buildings in the world begin to liquefy, starting with the Sears Tower in Chicago, the tallest building at the time. The very tip of the building first begins to liquefy, and as the height of Sears Tower comes even with the second tallest building in the world, that building begins to liquefy as well.

Eventually all the buildings of the word begin to liquefy at exactly the same rate, throwing the planet into terror and chaos.

Ultimately, it is discovered that this is the work of an alien race that feels obliged to ensure that mankind does not advance technologically beyond a point that is considered safe. By keeping building no taller than six stories, the aliens believe that the technological advancement of the human race will be curtailed. Ultimately, every building of the world is liquefied to this point.

I asked readers if they knew the title of the book, and several (including a number of librarians) took guesses at the title and sent me to websites designed  specifically for the purpose of locating books like this, but after hours of searching online, I had no luck.

The book was probably out of print and more than likely ceased to exist.

More than a year after writing the post, after I had all but given up the search (and forgotten about it entirely), a reader named Jim Uren posted a suggestion in the comment section:

Any chance the book was “The Skyscraper Doom?”

The name sounded familiar, but I told myself not to get excited. It was likely another wild goose chase. I went to Google, typed “Skyscraper of Doom” into the search box and this was the first image that I saw:


I had found the book. I couldn’t believe it.

The book was out of print, so it wasn’t easy to to obtain a copy, but today, Skyscraper of Doom, the first book that I ever borrowed from a public library, is sitting on my dining room table, waiting to be read.


Will this book prove to be as captivating as it was circa 1981?

Probably not.

I’ve read thousands of books since then, so my standards of excellence have been raised considerably.

But that doesn’t matter. When I started borrowing books from the library, a brand new world was opened to me. I read this book in just a few days and hundreds soon followed.

Agatha Christie. Stephen King. Douglas Adams. Frank Herbert. Mark Twain. J.R.R. Tolkien. Harper Lee. Orson Scott Card. Madeleine L’Engle. Ray Bradbury. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. William Golding. S.E. Hinton.

I couldn’t get enough of these authors. 

I was suddenly on a path to reading and writing and has led me to where I am today. Without the generosity of the public library, it’ likely that I wouldn’t be an author and might not love reading the way I do. 

I took my first steps on that literary path with a book written by Norman Zierold, a Hollywood biographer with eight books to his credit including a memoir entitled That Reminds Me that published earlier this month.

It turns out that Skyscraper of Doom was his only novel.

Norman Zierold’s only foray into fiction changed a reader forever.