The New Town Librarian by Kathy Anderson
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 01/31/2023
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Length: Novel / 63,300 Words / 256 Pages
Genre / Tropes: Contemporary, contemporary, lit/genre fiction, humorous, lesbian, LGBTQA, library, librarian, small town, East Coast, New Jersey, second chances, starting over, over 40, book clubs, readers, friends as family
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Queer middle-aged librarian Nan Nethercott, a wisecracking hypochondriac with a lackluster career and a nonexistent love life, needs to make a drastic life change before it’s too late. When she lands a job as librarian in a seemingly idyllic small town in southern New Jersey, Nan quickly discovers unforeseen challenges.
Nan’s landlady, Immaculata, launches daily intrusions from below. The library, housed in the former town jail, is overrun by marauding middle-schoolers. A mysterious reader leaves distressing messages in book stacks all over the library. Thomasina, the irresistible butch deli owner, is clearly a delicious affair and not the relationship Nan craves.
There’s no turning back though. Nan must come up with her own wildly unorthodox solutions to what the town and its people throw at her and fight for what she wants until she makes a shiny new life—one with her first true home, surprising friends, a meaningful career, and a promising new love.
The New Town Librarian
Kathy Anderson © 2023
All Rights Reserved
So many delightful possibilities tonight. Nan Nethercott poured herself a hefty glass of red wine from the big box perched on her table and began.
Children’s Librarian on Sanibel Island! Oh, to work in flip-flops and stroll the beach at lunchtime.
Research Librarian for the Irish Government in Dublin! She’d read lots of books set in Ireland. Surely that would count toward the requirement of a second master’s degree in Irish history and fluency in Gaelic.
Film Archives Librarian in Hollywood! She loved movies. So what if she didn’t have a background in art history with a film focus?
Cruise Ship Librarian! Ahoy, maties. Beach reads only.
Prison Librarian, Cuba! She focused on the Cuba part and disregarded the prison part.
Nan never concerned herself about her qualifications for jobs before she applied for them. She could dream, couldn’t she? Other people played the lottery or spun the online dating roulette wheel; she applied for jobs.
She had to do something; she held the dubious distinction of treading water in her profession for twenty-five long years, still stuck on the entry-level librarian step on the civil service ladder in the Philadelphia public library system. People she’d graduated with from library school had risen over the years to become department heads, system managers, and directors. Not Nan. She disliked ambitious librarians clawing their way up. She had other priorities in life—so many women, so little time.
But now she was fifty years old, and what did she have to show for herself? A studio apartment so small she could lie on her lumpy futon, reach her arm out, and open the refrigerator door. A heart so bruised from disappointing love affairs that she was surprised it still worked to move blood around her body. A city full of reminders of the hopeful young Nan who had moved there to take her very first job after graduating from her Master of Library Science program. Her very first job that was still her only job; if it weren’t so pathetic, it would be laughable.
The geographic cure for what ailed her life—that was the ticket. She craved distance from this city full of her mistakes, a clean landscape to start over in.
She didn’t know why happiness was so hard for her to achieve. She felt that life rubbed her the wrong way, like when you put on an itchy sweater and you couldn’t wait to rip it off. It wasn’t depression; it wasn’t melancholy; it was something else, something missing. She had a starved beast-child inside her, living on whatever crumbs of attention and affection she could find in the world; she hated knowing that about herself.
She wanted to be happy at unexpected times, to feel that her life was amazing, to enjoy little things like watching squirrels go crazy running up and down the trees into their hidey-holes, chasing one another and bouncing from branch to branch like acrobats.
If she got to that level of happy, she’d be the first woman in her family to do so, which would be quite an achievement among the martyrs, worriers, and sad sacks she came from. Time was running out; she was impatient, demanding herself to do something, anything, right now.
Wait, this job posting was different: Town Librarian, Pinetree, New Jersey.
She had never seen an ad like that before. A slow excited burn started in her stomach. Or was that acid building up from her liver, overworked by too much cheap wine chugged down too fast? The potato chips and onion dip she had for dinner probably didn’t help either.
When Nan located Pinetree on a map of southern New Jersey, she saw a tiny dot surrounded by a national forest reserve. The details in the job posting were sparse, which was unusual, and the requirements were even more sparse—they asked only for an accredited Master of Library and Information Science degree, which Nan actually had. Although hers was an ancient, creaky version of the degree. She flinched at the listed salary, even less than the pitiful one she was making as Librarian I in the Philadelphia public library system. But that didn’t matter. She was playing her job roulette game. It was all in good fun.
She poured herself another wallop of wine and applied for the job. Hope felt like that third glass of wine on a rainy night, a little luxury to warm herself by.
Meet the Author
Kathy Anderson is the author of the short story collection, Bull and Other Stories (Autumn House Press), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards for Lesbian Fiction, Publishing Triangle’s Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, and Foreword INDIES Book of the Year in Short Stories. The New Town Librarian is her first novel. Kathy holds a Master of Library Science degree and worked as a librarian for over twenty-five years in small-town public libraries in southern New Jersey. Her home is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her wife, who is her exact opposite in every way and therefore her perfect match.
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