Carnegie winners credit librariesNEW YORK - Richard Ford and Timothy Egan, winners of literary medals presented by the American Library Association, both credit libraries for making their work possible.
Ford and Egan are this year’s recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence for the best works of fiction and nonfiction. Ford was cited for the novel “Canada,” narrated by the teen son of bank robbers. Egan won for “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher,” a biography of photographer Edward Curtis, who compiled an encyclopedic archive of North American Indians.
Egan, a prize-winning author and reporter for The New York Times, noted in a recent interview that libraries were a vital part of his research for the Curtis book. Curtis, who died in 1952, had compiled a 20-volume set of his Indian photographs. Few copies exist today, but Egan looked through the pictures at the University of Washington library in Seattle.
“It was really magical,” said Egan, winner of the National Book Award in 2006 for “The Worst Hard Time,” a history of those lived through the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. “You have to put on these white gloves and look very carefully through this glowing, magical achievement. Libraries, in many ways, are the keepers of our stories.” AP