Why libraries? Because libraries rock. Libraries nurture. Libraries uplift and stimulate, shelter and educate.
In writing my upcoming memoir, FRECKLED: Growing up Wild in Hawaii, I was able to see how many times “going to the library” provided a destination when it was rainy and we were homeless; a place of solace when bullied, and a launch pad where worlds opened up to me from a remote island in the Pacific, at a time when Kauai had no TV or radio, and we had no phone.
In honor of libraries and the special place they hold in my heart, I'm giving away THREE pairs of these darling “library card” socks to commenters on the blog! Just tell us when YOU last visited a library!
Here's a snippet from FRECKLED, coming out in 2018:
1975, Age 11, Kaua`i, Hawaii
I’m not only a redheaded, hippie bookworm, but I wear cheap, ugly glasses.
I’ve been having trouble with my vision for a couple of years. We can only afford the glasses Welfare will pay for, and there are four frame choices, each uglier than the last. This pair was the best of the options, and has lenses shaped like stop signs in thick purple plastic. In class at Hanalei School, I sit as close to the board as I can get and only put them on when I have to.
I go for yet another eye checkup an hour away in Lihue with old Dr. Yee, who’s been upgrading my glasses to stronger every six months since I was nine. This time, he pulls my mom aside for a whispered discussion. I frown, looking at them through the giant metal lens contraption I’m still stuck behind.
“What’s going on?” I say.
“Nothing, honey. We just need to see a specialist,” Mom says, and there’s a funny tightness in her voice that puts me on alert. On the way home, we stop by Kapa`a Library. Mom parks under an ironwood tree and sends me in alone.
“I need a break,” she says. “Being pregnant is making me tired.”
She looks pale and closes her eyes, leaning in back the seat as we wind down all the windows in the Rambler so the breeze passes through. The faithful old car is quite rusty now, the upholstery on the roof blooming in gray mildew patterns. I head into the small concrete cube of a library building, painted feng-shui red. Familiar sourish smells of dusty books and Mr. Clean fill my nostrils with a relaxing perfume as I head for the Adult side where I'm working my way through the shelves alphabetically.
I finished the entire CHILDREN/YA side of the library when I was ten. I'm seriously worried I'm going to run out of books, but for now I've still got several good sized shelves to go.
At the checkout, my old friend the librarian, Mrs. Rapozo, eyes me over her half glasses. She opens a stack of books topped by Erica Jong and James Joyce, since I’ve got to the J section. “Fear of Flying. Hmm. Does your mother know you’re reading this?”
“Sure. She doesn’t believe in censorship.”
Mrs. Rapozo tightens her lips, and I know I’m in for a good one. I’ve already devoured the Jackie Collins section, in spite of Mrs. Rapozo’s audible sniffs and attempts to catch my mom’s eye.
Mom starts the car when I get back in. We drive home, the windows down. There’s no music because Kaua`i’s too small to have its own radio station and the steep mountains prevent reception—the same reason there’s no TV on the island, either.
I lean my face on the window frame and watch the ocean stream by, the flashing lines of coconut trees, the swishing cane fields and corduroy rows of pineapple. I do my favorite driving daydream as my hand surfs the air beside the old Rambler.
The car is pulled by six galloping black horses, and I alternately stand on the hood and drive them, or climb onto their backs and urge them to go faster, cracking a rawhide whip over their heads. Sometimes, I lean down to unhitch one of them and let Bonny drive the team while I drop to the horse’s back and gallop out in front.
I can feel everything about the daydream: the surge of the horse’s muscles, silky under my bare legs; the wind cutting my eyes so I have to squint; the way the leather straps squeak with the strain of our speed. I breathe the warm perfume of horse that surrounds me, and love the way the animal pours on more speed when I bend alongside his neck and whisper “Go!” in his ear, just like Alec urging on the Black Stallion.”
Keep an eye out for FRECKLED in the coming year, and in the meantime, ask YOUR library to order Toby Neal digital books to share with readers!
My titles are on OVERDRIVE, the digital lending platform used by most libraries, so one purchase can be shared thousands of times! Trade paperbacks are also available for ordering through Ingram or other retailers.
Want to win the fun library socks? Just tell us in comments when you last visited a library!
Three winners chosen SAT.FEB. 10, 2018!
Awesome post, cutie pie!
Awesome socks giveaway, Jamie! 🙂
I grew up in a small town in the Northeast, and we literally had one church, one tiny candy store, and a library! At a very young age, I realized the best way for me to go, and explore the world was to begin reading! I started with the Nancy Drew series, and graduated to the Hardy Boys!! I always had an armload of books to carry home( esp, after the bookmobile visited)! It was pure, bliss! The librarian saw that I was there so much, she offered me a job, at the ripe age of 12, and my love for every kind of library grew! In college the library is where you could always find me studying, and researching! I love the smell, the solitude, and the quietness, that libraries have to offer! I passed my love for libraries to my daughter, who also worked in the local library in town, during her high school years! When she was in Law School, she worked at the Law library, and loved it! It’s in our heart and souls, the love we share for libraries!! It’s the greatest gift, I could have ever given her!
Went to the library right around Christmas to get a few books and as movie. I kind of stay home through the holidays, and love to have book adventures.
I went t the library this morning!
I remember Mrs Rapozo!!!
She was there for so many years. Never got mad except when I returned books with SAND in them! 🙂
Freckled sounds like a wonderful read- looking forward to its release. I love the socks and libraries.
I have to be honest, I haven’t visited my library for about 6 months- ebooks too accessible. I’m going to schedule a visit very soon.
THanks, it’s a snapshot of a very unique era, MaryAnn!
I went to the library this week. Found two books to bring home from the library book store. Yippee!!
I was at our library Tuesday, January 30 to check out a book that I had put on hold! Today I also received the other book I had on hold from the digital (overdrive) library of books. I usually am dabbling between 2 books at a time!
I’ve managed to get another 4 of your books into our Library system! I’ll ‘recommend’ it, then if it becomes available, I’ll check it out for a few days, review and return. They have a couple of hard covers of yours: Unsound and Fire Beach. I’ll be returning another book next week and have requested ‘Wired’ and ‘Unsound’.
I haven’t been in awhile. Last year went and renewed my card so I could do overdrive. My one light town library is geared to kids. I also lived at the library when growing up. I had read everything on the kids/ya side by the time I was 10 maybe 11. My mom had to go in and sign a paper saying I had permission to read the other side. The librarian had Vito on my books.
Oh it’s been about 4 months. I just moved and my mailing address says one Town (in one county) but my address is still in the same county as before. Think I might get a library card for both!
I was there Wednesday and back again tomorrow. I always have books on reserve or to pick up. My book habit would be even more expensive without my dear library!
I worked as a library page through high school and college. Was last in the library about 2 weeks ago. ????
Rats. I already did this on your post! Be prepared to be bored! LOL! The last time I THOUGHT I was in a library was 1966 with my friend, Sharon Anderson so we could do research on a subject for high school. But it wasn’t! I was in a tiny library in Dora, Georgia with my youngest son (he was in his 30’s then) so it had to be about 2003) so we could use the Internet & check out a book to read. I always lived in fear of lost books or humongous late fees so I liked it better when I could buy my own paperback & just relax. Then I passed them on. My oldest grandaughter had 200 books, give or take, by the time she was 2 yrs old. Grandma might be a “little” bit OCD? I’ve just always loved to read & stand by the saying, “You can go anywhere & be anything if you can read!”
Oookkkk. This is my 3rd time trying, so maybe it’ll be the charm & I’ll win a pair of socks! My last time in a library was 2003. I went with my youngest son, who was 30’ish at the time. We went to use the Internet at this little library in Dora, GA. I’ve always believed the saying, “You can go anywhere & be anything if you can read!” By the time my oldest granddaughter was 3 she had over 200 books! I think Grandma might be a “little” OCD! LOL
I went about three weeks ago
I haven’t been to a library since books became digital and I got my first Nook. I used to go in Plano, Texas, during my lunch hour to find the latest David Baldacci or John Grisham. I always ended up with too many books and would read at lunchtime in the car while eating my sandwiches to try to get through them all within the three week deadline. I still read in the car at lunch, but now it is on a Kindle I keep in there permanently. So many fond memories of visiting the library as a child, such a special treat! I love the library card socks!
It’s probably been a couple years or so (probably closer to 3 or 4) since went to the one here in town. I will admit I haven’t really read much of anything in just about 2 years now. I had a time when I lived in Redding I went almost daily to use their computers because I didn’t have internet at my apartment. & went all the time (hung out in the library between classes in high school back behind the check out desk) growing up. Just never seem to go much anymore.
I haven’t been to the library since my sister closed her day care. When my son was small we went all the time. We both have a great love of books. I have kindle unlimited now and read everyday at home.
It’s been about a week at this point. I really need to go, I have an overdue book that I can’t renew because someone else has a hold on it. Oops. I never even got to read it. I have so many books out right now, but I’m really doing very little reading. I just have so much else to do! And now that I have to use a CPAP, I can’t read in bed at night because I can’t wear my glasses with the CPAP mask. 🙁 So there went most of my reading time. I’m glad of my meditation app (Calm) which has “sleep stories” – if I can’t read at night, at least I can be read to.
I can’t WAIT for Freckled!
I went to one of our local libraries a few weeks ago for an art exhibit. I grew up in a library. Lived in a small town with two working parents and I was left to roam. I’m 70, it was safe then. The library was my best friend. I raised my daughter with a love of books and took her to the library every week. She is now raising her daughter to love libraries. Love you, Toby. You help me escape a limited life living on social security. Can’t you write faster?
I went to the library on Friday, 2/2/2018, I am reading book #1000 since I started counting books I’ve read in 2011. Am reading Ernest Hemingway “Islands in the Stream”.
Mid-January, my sons Boy Scout Troop committee has our monthly meetings at our local library. It’s the perfect meeting place especially since we all have younger kids they cenjoy the library while we meet.
My daughter went last Saturday. She did homework while I worked on my new Lei Crime Kindle World book. Our library has a beautiful and comfy work area.
The last time I went to the library was in January. Sometimes my husband, who also goes, picks up books I have on hold. I’ve gotten my library to invest in some of your trade books, too. Loved going to the Carnegie library in the next town over when I was a kid. And have always been a library user.
I’m looking forward to reading Freckles. Enjoyed the excerpt!
I visited my local library about six weeks ago to renew my library card and have been using Overdrive to check out books since then. I’ll request your books be added 🙂
Can I tell you how excited I am to read Freckled??!! When I was a kid I was allowed to read any and everything available (mostly because parents weren’t paying attention), and I devoured books.
My daughter and I went to the library on Saturday (Feb. 3). I picked up an audio book since I want to see if I like “reading” while driving to work. She picked up a few books for herself. We go every week.
I went to the library on Friday to return 2 books and to pick up 2 more that were in reserve for me. Whenever I’ve moved to a new town I always find the library before anything else!
I work in one so most every day I’m there 🙂 I’m actually getting ready to go in as we speak 😉
It’s been a few weeks! My kids
Love going to the library when it’s cold to play computer games check out some books and enjoy quiet time!
I’m in 4 book clubs so you can imagine how often I use the library. I use their app to search and order books I picked up one last Thursday at the little library which is right across the street from me which I love They keep trying to close it but we petitioned to keep it open and so far, so good. Yay!
I haven’t been to the library in over two years. They don’t have the genre of books I like to read. I either buy paperbacks or read on my iPad.
Our library doesn’t take paperbacks as donations
I don’t always have time to go to the Library, so I download books from the Library on my Kindle.
I don’t go to the library,I go to there website at least once a week to borrow ebooks, when I was a child i went every weekend
I have recentley only been on overdrive to read ebooks from the library due to school starting back up. I still find a little time everyday to relax and read though. I used to go to the library over summer and get 12 books to read every one to two weeks.
I honestly haven’t been to our library in months. This makes me want to make a trip. I get most of my books on Nook or order through B&N. I can hardly wait to read your memoir, Toby!
Last summer with the boys. But like you as a young girl and teen I would always be sneaking off to the library it was the only safe haven I knew
My love of books started in 2i with the Bookmobile visits to our rural gradeschool in WI in the 1950’s. This continued throughout my life as I traveled the USA and researched my family history. Last visit Dec 2017 inarshfield WI
I hate to say this, but it’s been a few years since I visited a library. Amazon has made it too easy to get my books through them!
I haven’t been to a brick and mortar library for a while, because my husband bought me a Kindle and I became hooked on the ease of e-reading. I have a Paperwhite and so it’s just for reading. BUT, as a child, I lived 4 blocks from the library, and my sister and I would go once a week and each check out 10 books, their limit. I would read my 10, then swap with her, and read 10 more! Then do the same the next week…
I am a Reading Teacher/Tutor ~ my Master’s degree’s in Reading&Writing, emphasis on YA novels! My Studio *is* a ‘lending’ library, and we have one at home, as well ~ but I go to our public library at minimum monthly for our Book Club’s Book of the month for 3 copies. I’m THRILLED to hear you’re on Overdrive ~ I can now schedule one of your books for a Book Club discussion 🙂
I still have my old library card from the small town I grew up in! I used to take out my favorites over and over! I still reread the books I love.
Last visited my local library last Saturday. I go to use their computers and do job search there- doing this from is hard— no distractions at the library! And I browse the giveaway shelves in the vestibule for stuff I want to read too!
I went to the library last week 🙂
I love introducing my great grandchildren to libraries even before they read … because I read to them. It definitely fosters a love of reading and books in them.
When my friend visited from out of town, I took her to visit my library! They have a nice used book store inside!
I went to the library on Saturday. Boy, those old library cards bring back many memories, especially of signing out books under my sister’s name so she’d be blamed when I returned them late.
I use the library frequently, was there last Thursday. Great place, just not as quiet as it used to be.
So…many books, so little time????
Wow! It’s been years, when my kiddos were little, since I’ve been to the library. I really should take the time to visit.
It’s been at least 4 years.
Last Wednesday! So a week ago; our family and I can’t go a week without getting new books from our library! It’s our favourite place to be and it was mine as a child too. Can’t wait to read Freckled!
The last time I went to the library was with my granddaughter, Karlie over the summer to go get her summer reading. I still like my ebooks from Amazon…to easy to purchase and convenient. Thank you for all you do for us!
It’s been way too many years since I went to a library! Growing up in small-town USA my mom and I went all the time. Mom was a journalist and grandma was an English teacher so I have always read. The even smaller town I live in now has a small library (not tax supported) that opened a couple of years ago but I haven’t stopped in. My Kindle is my go to for books. So much easier to read on the train then carrying books back and forth. And so many wonderful indie authors to discover.
I visited the Library just last week to drop off some books and DVD’s for the annual Friends of the Library fundraiser.
I went to the library this past Monday to pick up two books I had on hold. I couldn’t live without books! I have three full bookcases plus a few stacks in my living room and bedroom. I also have many on my Kindle, most of which were free or significantly discounted and have discovered some wonderful authors that way, including you! But also because within the next couple of years I’ll need to downsize – again – and although I’m keeping the majority of my books and all of the ones I love most, I will have to reduce the number more than I care to. Sigh. BTW, when I was a child, I LIVED for Friday in the summers because that’s when the bookmobile came to town! PS, the socks are awesome!! ????
Loved going to Library when I was younger and did so up until about 8 years ago when I was given a Nooke-reader. Books take your brain on fantastic adventures! That’s where I learned to love books and reading!
A few months ago because my Internet was out. I got a library card while I was there and am enjoying using Overdrive. Will request your books.
Love your books and my mind can see Hawaii!
I love our downtown library, it has an atrium type area where musicians play to get that echo on. I do a lot of research in the library mostly jewellery in medieval times.
I love to take my daughter to the library! We don’t get there often enough, it’s been about 2 months…time to go again soon!
Was just at the library a few days ago. I go few times a week. Love it there.
Go to the library weekly. Our library is so unique. Has a reading area with such comfort. A place to unwind . Would love win these socks. Thank you
Its been about a year or so since I went into our local library….my to be read “pile” on my kindle is so big that I haven’t needed/wanted to borrow any print books for awhile 🙁
It has been awhile. But I do belong to the Friends of the Library here in Riverside, CA. I have done adult literacy training also. Great to see someone’s life change.
At the end of 2017, I took my grandson, who is autistic. He loves to look for sports books.
A wonderful giveaway. I love going to the library. It has been awhile since I went. I take care of my 4 grandchildren most of the time. All their parents work. But my grandchildren all go once or twice a week at their schools. They all love books as much as me.
Just retired from a small public library in WV. Finally time to read! Visit the library every week, last time on feb 1st. Love using overdrive also
My local library (7 miles from my small town) and its bookmobile were my salvation growing up. I had spent my short life being abused by my father and ignored by my mother. We were dirt poor because my dad spent most of the money he earned on alcohol and other pleasures of the flesh. With no phone, no TV most of the time, surrounded by woods on 3 sides with the nearest neighbor over a mile away, books became my escape and my worlds. By the time I graduated high school and was on my way to college (via scholarships) the local library had figured I had read most, if not all, of the books they had on the shelves. They gave me a special certificate of achievement in reading stating that premise. It was the first, and probably the last time, they ever made such a presentation. I moved far away from there, but that library lives on in my heart as the hope and savior of a little girl who learned to dream big.
I’m a live-in nanny for two of my great-nieces, so I’m in the library every Wednesday morning by 10:15 for Story Time til 11:00. We then go and check out books to read. In all honesty, since I got a kindle 3 Christmases ago,I read all of my books on my Kindle. I there really is nothing like the library
atmosphere. I love the smell of books whether I’m in a library or bookstore. I was a librarians assistant in school starting in the 6th grade and didn’t stop until 12th grade (to go to work for half-days). Thank you for all of the traveling I’ve been able to do without leaving town.
I go to the library almost every day, because I work there! I’m a youth librarian, and I love my job!
I went to the library this week, which is my favorite place to spend an afternoon. My kindle is connected to the library, so I can actually visit it on line at any time!! Thank you for the chance to win.
I am in UK visiting family. I just went to Library one week ago. When back home in the states, I take my great grandchildren at least weekly. One of my dearest friends…I call her the sister of my heart…manages RedLand Library in York County PA. As a child, the Library was a coveted place to be. In there, not only could I find wonderful adventures, but I felt safe. My parents were wonderful…but another family member abused me. I have forgiven the individual so I could move on in life…but NEVER..let any of my children be alone with him….libraries literally made my world tolerable…and exciting…eventually, I learned to save myself…but I never lost my love for libraries. This may sound crazy…but I love the smell and feel of books. Fortunately my husband and children do also…never trust us in a book store with the mortgage money though…lol…not sure we could get out the door without spending the money….lol
I was in Fredericksburg, TX recently and found that they have a beautiful library!! Can’t wait to go back!
It’s been way to long since I visited a library to browse the shelves, now days I just go to vote. But when I did visit, I’d spend hours looking at book titles till one stirred my interest, then I’d visit the CD section and find someone I never heard before. It was always relaxing and time would just slip away. These days I buy books at the $1.00 store so that when I’m done with them I can leave them at launderettes, airports, work so others could enjoy them with a little message inside to ‘Pass it On’. ibooks and Kindle are my libraries now, have so many eBooks’ waiting to be read, just need to find the time.
Retired substitute teacher….so been since I was working that I visited the library with a class of students.
I’m almost 72 and haven’t been to a library in years, but I’m addicted to reading. I’ve read almost as long as I can remember. My grown children,(2), grown grandchildren,(5), and my great-grandchildren (the ones old enough),(4 of 5), all enjoy reading.
I spent many happy hours in libraries, doing research for school and looking for new books to love. I miss the old card catalogues, computers may be easier, but they just aren’t the same.
Anyway, I love the adorable socks and would love to own them! Thanks for the memories.
It’s been a couple of months since I was in a physical library. I was online with my library six days ago.
Loved your story about the the Kapaa Library next time we go to Hanalei we will make a point of stopping there. Last time I was at our public library was about three years ago. Parking is an issue at ours so although I love going it can be a challenge.
The last time I went was for my last road trip which was in October. Since I’ve gotten my Kindle, I don’t go to the library much????. But I go to get audio books, and I’m grateful that this tiny library in this tiny town carries them????
I visited the library at work today- I teach at Old Town High and visit the library almost every day- and love to see students reading for pleasure
The last time I visited a library was in December of 2001, just before I had to have a partial mastectomy for breast cancer. Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I insisted that I would never change over to e-books because I have loved reading “real” books ever since I was a young child. However, after my surgery, I couldn’t leave my house to get more books, so my husband gave me his Kindle, and I discovered a whole new world of thousands of books at my fingertips! I am so happy! ( and I never have to pay overdue fees at the library)
I was at the library on Monday to return a book and I was at the virtual library Overdrive on Tuesday to check out an audio book. I am trying to do some “spring cleaning” and the time passes so much faster listening to a book. Can’t wait to get some of yours on Overdrive.
I haven’t been to the library since I had surgery for breast cancer in December, 2011. Prior to that, I insisted that I could never give up the experience of reading “real” books. I have been a voracious reader ever since learned to read when I was about 5. Anyways, when I was recuperating from my surgery, I couldn’t go to the library, so my husband “loaned” me his Kindle, and I was hooked. I discovered a whole new world of books at my fingertips! Hundreds of new authors that I had never heard of ( like Toby Neal ). I love e-books!
So glad you’re getting your reading fix, no matter how it gets to you!
as a kid I think I literally read the entire library. Now with my Kindle, I do go less often but seeing that we moved I am just about to join a new library. The last time I went must be a good 4 years ago now
Yes, I find my Kindle has replaced a lot of library books too!
I spent my entire working life in libraries. I visit often.
Seems like libraries affect a lot of people!
I tend to go every Saturday, so I was just there on 2/3.
Use to go every other day. Before RA got so bad. Now my daughter picks up book order for me.
Sorry to hear your health hasn’t been good!
Last Tuesday. Love libraries. Excited to read Freckles.
Yay! Excited to get it to you.
I last visited my public library last week, February 2nd for their Groundhog day celebration. Love to get ebooks from my library.
We went to the library around Christmas, and picked out some kids Christmas books.
I get to go 4 days a week to a wonderful library in a small, rural town! I am the librarian there. 🙂
Katie, that’s kind of my dream job if I wasn’t a writer!
The last time I was in the Library was last year. I went to a class on how to use Overdrive and download books to my e-reader.
Perfect! Hopefully my books will be ordered more so they can be shared!
just recently here in Australia!
went for information left hours later after curling in a chair quietly flipping through restricted books on the town I live in that could not leave the library.
I love technology but I’m still a bookphile, nothing better than closing a book after the last word and feel like you’ve lost a friend . . . or gained a new one because its a series!
I love libraries. I take the grandkids to get books too.
My first memories of the library was as a young girl, staying with my grandma and getting to visit the library. I loved these visits and losing myself in the stacks, the stories and the books. I remember loving the times the automobile came around. I especially liked going to the library on the local college campus. My most recent library visit was a virtual trip last week to see if a book was available there that wasn’t on Kindle Unlimited. I get almost all my books electronically these days. My last visit to my local library was when I moved here a couple years ago so that I could get a library card.
The last time I went inside a library was last May. I read mostly on my Kindle and love being able to borrow books from overdrive on it!
I was actually my local library last Tuesday. I don’t visit my local library often. It has few books, mostly bestsellers and conservative Christian tomes. Sad. They do have a large children’s section, however, which is nice if you are a child. The children’s section is twice as large as the entire adult non-fiction section. Go figure. This is what happens when fundamentalist Christians take over a library.
Just went Tues. One of my favorite places. Also volunteer.
I visited a library just two weeks ago. I practically live at them lol
I last went to my library a couple weeks ago. I’ve been out of the country so couldn’t go again. Love the library. And the socks.
I went to the library last month to check out couple of books I have wanting to read.
I don’t know if online counts, I visited the library online a couple of days ago. l went to the actual brick and mortar about a month ago.
I have always loved going to the library! My last visit was February 6th to renew a book.
I use kindle so have not been to a library for years . But as a child. I read 14 books a week and the library gave me an adult card as not many kids books were left for me to read lol
I went to the library Tuesday.????
Just got back from the Library today. 2/18/2018
I used to go to the library every week, but now my librarian comes to me. When my arthritis got bad, I was able to sign up for a program where the librarian brings me books every three weeks! I am so lucky. I love libraries. The one in Douglas, WY let me check out books to use with the students in my tiny Rural classroom for projects we worked on. These were the only reference materials available. The children’s librarian there was SO wonderful. She helped not only kids, but me also to find great books for our science studies and other topics as well.