Author Karin Slaughter's appearance to help libraries

Holley Calmes

Holley Calmes

The Norcross Barnes and Noble store will be the site of best-selling author Karin Slaughter’s highly anticipated annual appearance at 7 p.m. July 1. The event will also be a benefit for Gwinnett Public Libraries.

Slaughter, who was born and raised around Atlanta, will make her annual appearance to kick-start her tour promoting her newest book, “Fallen.” Slaughter’s series of beautifully written thrillers are based in the Georgia and Atlanta areas. The books’ popularity has sent her around the world each year with each new release. This year, she will also be awarded the Silver Bullet Award, an honor created by the International Thriller Writers in conjunction with “Reading Is Fundamental” to recognize outstanding achievement in the pursuit of literacy and the love of reading.

This honor goes hand in hand with Slaughter’s quest to support our libraries.

“Almost my whole tour will be held in libraries,” Slaughter said. “I want to raise awareness for what’s happening to libraries across the country.” Although library usage increased 23 percent from 2006-09, the federal budget proposal will cut $20 million from library funding.

Slaughter’s response to this predicament started at the Library Association meeting in Portland, Ore. She was encouraged to write a check in support of the library, but, she thought, more could be done.

Her first event was held in Decatur, where she called upon her author friends and held an event that raised $50,000 for the DeKalb Library. Now there are plans for similar events in Boston and New York City.

“I was always at the library as a child,” Slaughter said. “It was one of the few air-conditioned places we could go back then. My Dad loved that I was a reader, and he encouraged me as much as he could. He loved for me to see women librarians as well educated role models.”

Gwinnett’s Library System will benefit from the July 1 event. From July 1 through 3, any customer who purchases any item, even coffee, from the Norcross Barnes and Noble can make a contribution with their purchase. Customers need to say that they want their purchase to go in support of the Gwinnett Library System at checkout, and a portion of their purchase will be sent to the GPL. Also, customers can visit www.bn.com, and if making a purchase indicate that they want to support the GPL in the appropriate place on the form, using the code 10503043.

Those who purchase “Fallen” will be in for a thrilling ride. The story, which takes place in Atlanta, follows Slaughter’s Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents Faith Mitchell and William Trent. The book opens with a school shooting scene that was inspired by an experience Slaughter had with the GBI. She was allowed to observe a training event where the GBI agents tackled a simulated school shooting.

“Ever since Columbine, agents realize that old methods didn’t work,” Slaughter said. “Now they just go in after the shooters. It was fascinating to watch them though it was not a real crime scene, just an exercise. But it was scary and exhilarating all the same. We are so fortunate to have these wonderful agents to protect us.”

The public is invited to come and meet Slaughter at the Barnes and Noble in the Galleria, Norcross, at 7 p.m. July 1. Slaughter will speak and sign books. Best of all, purchases will make a difference in our community by giving back to the Gwinnett Library System.

For more information, email the Gwinnett Library System at www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154. The event location site, Barnes and Noble, is located at 5141 Peachtree Parkway in Norcross.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.