What a delight to discover the new Forest Library open today when I stopped in Forest Corners! It’s a gem of a building, quite fitting for being in a community surrounded by the Ocala National Forest. With big windows overlooking the woods and a flatwoods pond outside, a big shaded porch where you can bring a camp chair and settle in with a good book while listening for sandhill cranes, and a community meeting room where free movies are offered on Wednesdays, it’s a delight all around. I spoke with them about giving a talk in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, if you’re cruising through the forest, stop in and visit! They’re just a little south of SR 40 along CR 314a in Forest Corners, immediately past the old library entrance.
Last week, I had a unique opportunity to visit the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee. But let me start at the beginning. Several weeks ago, my mom told me she’d read an article about how the Governor’s Mansion now had a library devoted to Florida authors. “You should be in there!” she said. So I did a little online research and found a website about the Governor’s Mansion. I emailed the curator, Carol Beck, and we bounced a few messages back and forth. Seems that they only had my Hiker’s Guide to the Sunshine State, since University Press of Florida has been generous with donations to the library. So I told Carol I’d do a little digging and see what I could come up with.
A business trip came up that would take me up to the Calhoun County 60th Annual Chamber of Commerce Dinner, so I scrambled to talk to a couple of publishers to see if I could get my Florida books donated. I had a bunch on hand, and managed to get a few more to fill out my entire Florida collection – 11 books in all, plus the one they had on hand. I asked Rob to come along, and was also traveling with my boss at FTA, Deborah. We went to the dinner in Blountstown, and headed to Tallahassee the next morning.
At the mansion, Carol escorted us back to the library. It takes up a rather large space that used to be a porch overlooking the gardens. I’d pre-signed the books I brought, but had a chance to sign Hiker’s Guide at the Governor’s desk in the library. What fun! I think they need a guestbook for visiting authors, but I did end up with a surprise string of mini-school-visits for the next hour. More on that in the next blog…in the meanwhile, check Rob’s blog for a sketch from the experience.