Years ago, as a small pile of books accumulated on my shelf, books with my name listed as the author, I thought about the futures of the individual copies. I heard from readers who used the cookbooks constantly, and others who gave copies to friends and family. I pictured the books on kitchen shelves, sharing space with The Joy of Cooking. Some copies would end up in boxes in attics. Thrift stores would hold discarded copies. And one of my favorite visions for my books was they would live on in libraries, in the back recesses of a library’s warehouse.

Yesterday, I was adding books to my Holds in our local library’s computer system and decided to see which of my titles the library still carried. I guess I was looking for reassurance of a form of immortality. I know the library did carry my books at one time because this wasn’t the first time I’d searched for my name. What came up this time? Only a book by another author who had quoted me in her book. If someone, for whatever reason, had wanted to read one of my books or cook something from one of my cookbooks, there was nothing there. It felt like a huge part of my life had ceased to exist. The library won’t purchase books older than two years old, so even if someone had asked them to replenish my books, they wouldn’t.

Funny how a simple vanity search at the local library can bring about almost an existential crisis of sorts.