I walk in the doors and inhale, smelling the slightly sweet, dusty scent of old paper. I walk straight to my favorite section and stop in front of a particular shelf, pull down a book and smile at the soft crackle of the plastic-cased cover as I ease it open and begin to read. An hour later my parents wander into the crowded maze of ceiling-high shelves to find me sitting right there on the linoleum floor, my nose inches from the pages, utterly absorbed.
I’ve always loved reading. For as far back as I can remember, I’d routinely walk around reading, completely unconcerned about bumping into walls, objects or people. I couldn’t travel without at least two books: a main book and a back-up book (being caught someplace with nothing to read ranks somewhere between “trampled by a herd of rabid cows” and “forced to listen to Kevin Costner attempting a British accent” on the Avoid-O-Meter scale). I was one of the only kids I knew whose parents would encourage her to put the book down to go outside and play.
My first library? The Miller Branch of the Howard County Library System.
It looks a lot different these days, but then it should. It’s been rebuilt twice since I was little to keep up with the growing and ever-changing needs of the community. I firmly believe that my overdue fines alone helped finance the second building – checking books out was great fun. Returning them? Not so much.
So why am I telling you all of this? Simple. This year, I’ve been asked to return as a Celebrity Bartender for Evening in the Stacks: Sparkle and Spurs being held at the Miller Branch of the library. How cool is that? I’m definitely going to need your help, though.
“But Mickey, we didn’t know you were a celebrity!”
I’m not, but I’m happy to perpetuate the myth for the purposes of supporting the Howard County Library System. I’m selfless like that.
“But, Mickey – do you even know how to bartend?”
Yes, of course! And by “yes” what I actually mean is “no.”
I’ve never worked in the service industry, preferring to focus on retail during my formative years because, let’s face it, retail is far more forgiving of sarcasm. If you want to know about pressure treated 2x4s or how to fold a shirt for a shelf display, I’m your woman. The good news (for me, anyway) is in order to level the playing field, we’ll only be pouring beer and wine. Even I can’t screw that up too badly. Right? Right? Hello?
If you can join us on Saturday, February 23 from 7-11 pm at the Miller Branch, it’s sure to be an amazing evening. During the first hour, all six Celebrity Bartenders (Dick Story, Vicki Goodman, Tom Coale, Pam Klahr, Paul Skalny and I) will be serving drinks simultaneously at the Antler Bar. I have no idea what that means, but I have to admit I’m intrigued. And it will all be in good fun, because we’re really not all that competitive:
Okay, so we’re a little competitive.
If you can’t join us, you CAN virtually tip your favorite bartender by going to the Evening in the Stacks page, clicking on the “Donate” button under Celebrity Bartenders and filling in the name of choice when you click “Add special instructions to the seller.” I think I speak for ALL of the Celebrity Bartenders when I say that the name you MOST want to virtually tip begins with Mickey and ends with Gomez. Just a thought.
Hahaha! I’m joking!
In all seriousness, the most important aspect of the event is supporting two outstanding programs: A+ Partners in Education (which includes the STEM Program, Battle of the Books, Spelling Bee and Rube Goldberg Challenge) and Project Literacy, a wonderful and successful adult literacy education program. So please consider donating – it really would mean a great deal to me.
To get you in the mood, so to speak, here’s a photo of spurs (not mine), boots (mine), my dad’s Akubra hat from Australia, the guitar I need to start playing again and two book recommendations:
Territory by Emma Bull, a retelling of the events that unfolded once upon a time in Tombstone, Arizona.
The Dark Tower by Stephen King, a series featuring the ultimate gunslinger, Roland Deschain of Gilead.
If I make it through this year’s event, perhaps next year I’ll ask if I can return as something far, far cooler than a Celebrity Bartender: a Celebrity Librarian.
And thank you kindly for considering my request to support my favorite library system.