Cloud Town and the Basement Librarian, a guest post by Daniel McCloskey

The library was next to the town’s two jail cells in the damp basement of our tiny brick police station. If it was up to me, I would have avoided the entire building for the duration of my childhood, but my father was a children’s book author and my mother was in school for library science. And besides, that was where we went to buy our pool tags to go swimming in the summer.

The library was dry and smelled funny, but my problem was more fundamental than that. Reading hurt my eyes, my brain, and my feelings. I was what you call a reluctant reader. I’m sure you see kids like me all the time. I thought struggling to read made me stupid. But, stupid or not, I still loved stories, so there were some things in that library that could trick me into practicing my least favorite/most humiliating activity. Those things tended to have dragons or spaceships on their covers. My mom searched shelves and recommendation lists for books to get her reading-resistant kid excited, usually on interlibrary loan, since our town’s collection was small, even if you counted the volumes stored in the abandoned shoe factory down the road.