Letter to the Editor: What You Can't Check Out at the Abington Library
Local writer Ted Taylor's books are not available at the library.
Once again, my friend Victor Krievins has taken issue with Abington Township librarian Nancy Hammeke Marshall over her failure to include books I’ve written in the library’s holdings.
It’s true that Ms. Hammeke-Marshall and I had a dust-up over her rejection last year of my offer to: a) donate a hard cover copy of my Ultimate Philadelphia Athletics Reference Book 1901-1954 and b) give a free baseball lecture there in conjunction with it. (I have gotten as much as $250 for this lecture when I delivered it in the tri-state area.)
The librarian found fault with my publisher, Xlibris. Apparently, it did not meet her high standards. But let’s be honest here, I chose to (as she so snidely dismissed it) “self publish” because I saw the opportunity for larger returns than had I opted for mainstream publisher McFarland (in North Carolina) who had, in fact, offered me a contract to publish the book.
My experience with Xlibris was based on the publication of two earlier books—both of those books had mainstream-publisher contracts, including Philadelphia’s Running Press. The Xlibris book I co-authored with Jimmy Rubino, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, 100 Years & 100 Recipes, sold close to 40,000 copies. Self published? Of course. Successful? Absolutely.
But getting back to the Athletics Reference Book, I decided that self-publishing this 457-page volume was, again, the better option. The results bear me out. Even though it wasn’t “good enough” for the Abington Library, it was perfectly fine for Barnes & Noble (I did three in-store signings for them.), the Phillies (They are in their second year, second order, of carrying the book at Citizens Bank Park.), and local bookstores in Bucks and Montgomery counties. For the record, the royalty checks from the publisher keep rolling in, thanks to orders on amazon.com and other Web book sellers.
So now I’ve written my seventh book—The Glenside Kid—and, to be candid, I didn’t even offer it to the Abington Library. It’s about growing up in this area in the mid-20th century, and if they want a copy, all they need to do is ask. It is, however, already in the collections of two local libraries, as well as the Ocean City, NJ, Library. It is selling extremely well at five local outlets, including Keswick Theatre, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. I’ll be doing a signing Oct. 7 at the theater.
Reviews have been many and gratifying. KYW Radio even did a spot on it, WIBG Radio AM and FM in South Jersey had me on twice, live, and Tom Kirk’s “Abington News & Views" did a half-hour show on Comcast 190. And people from over a dozen states (perhaps ex-Glensiders) have ordered it so far, thanks to the “Glenside Kid Facebook Page.”
Does it bother me that the tax-supported library in the township where I reside (and pay hefty taxes) thumbs its nose at my book? No, not really. It shows a vindictiveness that, I’m told, extends to anyone not in the librarian’s inner-circle. I’m told that even the township commissioners are afraid of her. How did this happen? Why is it tolerated?
If you’d like to read the book, there are many places you can do so—just not in the Abington Free Library. It’s a joke, for sure, but I’m not so sure who the joke is on. I suspect it’s on the Abington taxpayers.
H. R. Ted Taylor