Author Proclaims "I Would Be Dead Without Libraries"

From Telegraph Herald OnLine: A librarian saved Gary Paulsen's life. More than 100 people listened with amazement Sunday as the self-proclaimed street kid who became an award-winning author shared his life story at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque IA.

"I would be dead without libraries," said Paulsen, 71.

Dressed in a black turtleneck sweater and blue jeans, the author of three Newbery Honor Books -- "Hatchet," "Dogsong" and "The Winter Room" -- held nothing back.

Paulsen described how he sold newspapers as a teenager at bars. One cold night, he walked into a library to keep warm until the drunks got so sloshed that he could easily swipe extra change.

Once inside, something amazing happened. A librarian asked Paulsen if he would like a library card.

"Nobody gave me anything," Paulsen said. He was shocked when the librarian gave him his very own card with his name correctly spelled. She encouraged Paulsen to read more and more books over the next few years.

Although he failed in almost everything at school, Paulsen continued to read. "Everything that I am or ever will be in writing is because
of (that librarian)," he said.

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"I would be dead without libraries"

This vividly demonstrates how vital a person's first contact with the library / librarian is. Is the title of Paulsen's first library book on record?

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