Ingram Blog

Libraries and the Places We Call Home

Joyce Skokut, Director, Collection Development, Ingram Library Services

Life sure can take some interesting turns. A casual mention by a proud mom spurred a whole series of events, including the writing of this article. I am responsible for Collection Development, aka Content Curation, at Ingram Library Services. Last week one of my team members (and proud mom), Rita Allison, happened to mention to me that her son, Brian Allison, has his second book coming out this fall, Murder & Mayhem in Nashville. That casual mention came on the heels of a few related events.

The week before last, my friend, Williamson County Library Director Dolores Greenwald updated me on how her library is collaborating with local organization Franklin Tomorrow and author Robert Hicks for events around Robert’s upcoming book, The Orphan Mother. Now if there is something that is the opposite of a history buff, that’s me. I remember agreeing to read Robert’s earlier book, Widow of the South, under duress. I reluctantly picked it up, couldn’t put it down, and to this day will tell you that it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read! My husband and I were hosting my brother and sister-in-law a couple of years back, and with that book fresh in my mind, we all spent an absolutely fascinating day visiting Carnton Plantation, the Civil War site featured in that book. Robert Hicks was kind enough to do an interview with one of our team members recently, and you can read it here.

I was visiting family in Pennsylvania this past weekend and noticed a copy of Arcadia Publishing’s Pittsburgh's Mansions on my uncle Tom’s kitchen table. He mentioned that his son bought it for him knowing how much his dad would enjoy visiting those fancy and history-laden old homes. And indeed, the book was dog-eared and dotted with Post-it Notes in preparation for a couple of weekend outings planned for this fall. I suspect he’ll be visiting his neighborhood library after that to see what other cool things he can check out locally (pun intended!).

In nosing around online to check out Brian Allison’s new title, I stumbled on the Franklin on Foot tour on TripAdvisor – something I’m adding to my list of fun things to do one weekend soon. All of this got me thinking about the importance of local interest/history/author collections in public libraries, and the rich ways that libraries can use the books in these collections to nudge their patrons to get off the sofa and to explore their local areas to see and experience all of the expected and unexpected treasures that await. Local interest/history/author collections are SO much more than guides to area hiking and biking trails; these collections can bring communities to life in ways that are fascinating, even for those who aren’t history buffs or hikers.

Ann Lehue, Manager, Collection Development Programs at Ingram Library Services, loves the kind of mystery and intrigue featured in Murder & Mayhem in Nashville – see her highlights from this title below, check out the book trailer and see a photo of Brian’s mom, Rita, below!

Brian Allison explores the fascinating history behind the darker side of Nashville, a recent “It City” and one of the fastest growing areas in the nation. From Andrew Jackson’s violent duels, to the brutal lives of women in the brothels, to the gruesome Meadowbone Creek mass murder, this readable book covers the disturbing and unknown stories hidden beneath the bustling tourist industry’s music, bars, and hotels. Allison writes an engaging and well-researched narrative that will hold the reader’s attention, whether a tourist, recent transplant, or that rare native Nashvillian. At times even poetic, Murder & Mayhem in Nashville deals with a sensational topic sensitively and with compassion and provides an important piece of history for a town often reduced to only country music and boots. A must-have for any Tennessee history collection, and a relatively gentle read for lovers of true crime.

Speaking of interesting turns, we’d love to hear your stories. How has your library used its local interest/history/author section to really engage and inform your patrons about how they can more fully experience the place they call home? Submit your responses (500-word max) at later than Friday, November 11 and your library will be entered into a drawing to receive 25 complimentary hardcover Arcadia titles hand-selected by Ingram’s librarians specifically for your local collection, and your library will be featured in Ingram’s blog! Ingram will notify the winner by Thursday, December 1.

If you’d prefer to share your story in person, visit us at one of the fall shows for a chat with one of Ingram’s Sales Reps, who will capture it for you. You can find us at:

Meanwhile, please don’t hesitate to contact us at if Ingram’s librarians can help recommend titles to enrich your local collections!