Ruthie Maslin

Ruthie Maslin, Director Madison County Public Library

If you've visited the Richmond location of the Madison County Public Library in the past couple of weeks, or even driven by, you can probably see that our marathon construction project finally has the end in sight. In fact, we have already started planning the grand opening for early August!

Most of the major work has been completed, and we are now down to the details. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and so I find myself on hyper alert, looking and listening for anything that seems anomalous or potentially problematic.

And that's where water comes in.

Ah, water. It's essential to our health, to life itself. It's critical to our everyday functioning -- the U.S. Geological Survey estimates each person in the United States uses 80-100 gallons of water per day just for regular functions like washing.

But water in the library -- that's a different story entirely. Water and books don't play nicely with each other. So stopping leaks in their tracks is top priority. And, you may find this hard to believe, but the library has a lot of leaks. Whether it's missing shingles or stopped drains in the HVAC units, pinpoint holes in the roof membrane or windows with aging seals, we get leaks.

Yesterday morning, we spent an hour or so tracing small leaks in the ceiling. I say tracing, because that's one of the qualities of water -- it finds its way.

Water has this uncanny knack of finding a path (or in some cases, making a path -- hey there, erosion!). And the path is to the lowest point -- hey there, gravity! So it runs along pipes and conduits, wires, cables, roof beams, columns, girders -- you name it. If water can run down it or along it, it will.

Water is so present with us, so necessary for our very survival, that it frequently crops up in novels. Many popular water titles immediately come to mind -- Like Water for Chocolate (Laura Esquivel) and Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen), for example. But there are also the novels where water is a central player -- particularly the excess of it or the lack in novels like Life of Pi (Yann Martel) or even Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe).

MCPL has numerous water-related books, and since Summer Reading is in full swing, I thought you might enjoy some other water-related book possibilities.

The Lifeboat, by Charlotte Rogan, is a historical novel about life and death issues and the difficult choices that come with them. According to the cover, "In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying Grace Winter and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die." It's available in regular print in Berea, large type in Richmond, and eAudio through KY Libraries Unbound.

The Tilted World, by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly, takes another look back in history. "Set against the backdrop of the historic 1927 Mississippi Flood, a story of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, dynamite and deluge-and a man and a woman who find unexpected love," according to the book cover. It's available for checkout in print in Berea and eBook and eAudio formats through KY Libraries Unbound

Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, is a dystopian Young Adult novel with a massive drought at the center. "When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival," states the book cover. It's available in print in Richmond and Berea, and audio in Richmond.

And one more drought-related novel -- this time, a mystery -- The Dry, by Jane Harper. "In the grip of the worst drought in a century, the farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily when three members of a local family are found brutally slain." You can check out this title in print in Richmond and Berea, audio in Berea, and eBook and eAudio through KY Libraries Unbound.

Any of these titles would make an exciting addition to your Summer Reading book list, so please make sure to sign up for the program. Remember, it's fun, free, and easy! You can sign up at either library location, on the Bookmobile, or on the library website, www.madisonlibrary.org. I hope to see you soon at the library!

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