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You Never Make It Until Your Books Are In the Library

A story by Robert Kanehl



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Story of Manchester – You never make it until your books are in the library.

By Robert Kanehl

All my life, I had one goal, to walk into the Mary Cheney Library and see my name in the card catalog. Before there was a computer, there was a multi-drawer wooden file with little white cards listing books, their authors, and the book's location on the shelves.

As a writer, this was the goal of hometown recognition.

In the 1980s, I worked for the Willimantic Chronicle and the Glastonbury newspapers. An article I wrote about Manchester/Glastonbury’s Nike Site was donated to the library, as was one on the Bolton/Manchester airplane watch tower.

But they had not achieved the goal. I was not listed in the card catalog.

Before they closed, I turned down a job at the Manchester Evening Herald and hunted for a similar hometown paper.

So off to Maine, I worked at the Lewiston Sun Journal and its sister paper, the Advertiser Democrat. While there, I was published in Portland Magazine, Down East Magazine, and even one of my best sellers, the fiction book, Murder in the Newsroom.

Norway (Maine) Memorial Library put me in its card catalog. But that was not my age-old goal.

Coming home to visit my parent, I stopped by Mary Cheney Library and looked at the cards, but no Robert Kanehl appeared.

Only after 2013 and several additional books did the computer near the reference room blink awareness of my name. I was finally in the library but not the card catalog. A computer screen had replaced that wooden cabinet and the little white cards.

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2023 Bicentennial Story


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