It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and novelist Doug Marlette, who died yesterday in a car accident at the age of 57. He was scheduled to appear at the Central Library later this month to discuss his recently published novel, Magic Time. In anticipation of his appearance, Mr. Marlette took a moment to talk with us several weeks ago about the role libraries had played in his life. What follows was his response to one of our questions.
“My mother got me a library card before I could read. We made regular visits to the public library, and I came home with stacks of books. Also, the bookmobile was as popular as the ice cream truck in my neighborhood. As a child I went through obsessions with the American Revolution, the War Between the States, inventors, and ventriloquism, and I read everything I could find on these subjects. The Dewey Decimal System was my imaginary friend. When I was a teenager I was encyclopedic about cartooning and voracious for anything I could get my hands on about cartoons and comics (this was before Google), and I would haunt libraries and devour the card catalogs ... looking for any books ... I might have missed. Any new public or school library offered the possibility I might find something I’d never read before about cartooning. My favorite groups to speak to are librarians and Friends of the Library because I have noticed, after a lifetime of speaking to various audiences, that people who work with books and love books--librarians and booksellers, and people who work in publishing, for example--seem to be the happiest or perhaps I should say, most satisfied, people on the planet.”