People often ask me when I first knew I wanted to be a writer. That’s usually a hard question for any writer. I think we dream of being a writer long before we see it as a possibility. But, if I had to name one place where it all began it would be an old western mansion that now sets in the heart of downtown Amarillo. 


In 1955 the home of Lee and Mary Bivins became Amarillo’s Public Library. A few years later it became my summer hangout. I’d ride the bus downtown, walk the four blocks down Main Street and spend my Saturdays reading. If you look closely you can almost see me curled up with a book on the porch.


My imagination came alive in such a wonderful environment. Years later when I began to write CHANCE OF A LIFETIME I wanted to write about a woman who came back to her hometown as a librarian. The memories of the Bivins Library were so strong in my mind that it was easy to mold my imaginary library. I felt I was going home again.


I hope you’ll come along with me in my story as Emily discovers the secrets hidden in the stacks and makes her library come alive with the people inside. You’ll love the writing group who meets there and the kissing teenagers in the back of the stacks and the volunteer who is worth every dime she’s paid.


I hope CHANCE OF A LIFETIME touches your heart and sparks pleasant recollections as well. I’d love to hear your memories of a library in your past

that meant something special.



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26 thoughts on “Jodi Thomas: CHANCE OF A LIFETIME”

  1. Luckily I came from a home where both of my parents were avid readers. Weekly they would bring books home from the library. It was called the Joseph Mann Library. I went to story time with my older sister. I fell in love with Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Heidi, The Secret Garden etc

    I instilled the same love of books, of reading with all 4 of my children.

    Best wishes for success with your story CHANCE OF A LIFETIME>

  2. Hi, Jodi, and welcome home to the Junction!

    I loved going to the public library in my home town. Saturday mornings, sitting on the floor picking out what I got to take home that week–great memories.

  3. What a gorgeous library! From stately home to a warm, cozy habitat for book worms. It’s lovely. I spent many hours in our small town library as a kids as well, and even though our building was a square glass and concrete structure with no innate charm, the books inside still whisked me away to historical eras and rousing adventures that set me on a livelong path of reading.

    Thanks for sharing, Jodi.

  4. Jodi, thanks for sharing your story. I have always enjoyed going to the library. Starting when I was around six years old my mom would take me to the library every week usually on Tuesday afternoons and I loved looking through all the books and choosing one to take home. So many memories.

  5. Welcome back, Miss Jodi! We always love it when you come to visit. It’s like a family reunion. Libraries have always had a special place in my heart. I love the smell of the books when I walk in and it always gives me goosebumps. There’s an excitement that sweeps through me and I can’t wait to discover the adventures I find in the pages of books. I absolutely haunted the library when I was growing up. My mom would drop my sister and I off and we’d spend the whole day. We always left with eight or so books each in our arms. So many memories, memories that I wouldn’t trade anything for. When I moved here to this small town almost four years ago the first place I visited was the library. It’s not very big but it’s a welcome haven.

    Congratulations on the new release! I just started it last night and you’ve already hooked me. You did that in the first chapter. Wishing you tons of success, my friend.

  6. Your book sounds really good.
    I grew up on a ranch and we did not have a lot to do after our chores so we read in the evenings. i think my sister and i read every book in the little library in my hometown. I read books i probably wasn’t supposed to for my age but hey, it was the printed word and it was magical for me. I also had parents who loved to read so i consider myself fortunate.

  7. The librarian was my special friend. The librairy was my wonderland. So many places I visisted! People that I learned to know! Even my siblings remember because I often drug them along so they could pick out the books I would later force them to listen to 🙂 My sister recently found some of her favorites: Snip, Snap Snur, and Ricka, Dicka and Flicka. Stories of triplets always getting into trouble. I LOVE to read!! I lived just three blocks from the library so was there constantly!

  8. Our local library is a “Carnegie Library” and is one of the few built with Carnegie funding that is still a library. For its centennial in 2007, the interior was remodeled and decorated to return it to its original high windows and high ceilings using modern energy conserving materials. Every time I climb the steps to the front door I think about all the history this building has seen. It is a very special place.

  9. Hi Jodi. Your book sounds wonderful. We have a small library in my town. I always loved going to the library.

  10. I’m lucky that I came from a home that encouraged reading. Every Saturday my mom would pack my sister and I up and take us to the local library where we would spend hours. When I was old enough to go myself, I would gather my backpack, a lunch, and my library card and spend the entire day there. I knew all the librarians by name and loved that they were always willing to help me find whatever obscure thing I wanted to look up.
    This book sounds fantastic. Can’t wait to read it.

  11. That Bivins Library is beautiful! My parents and grandparents were all readers… and the local library was only a block down the street from our house!!

  12. As a child and young adult I spend a lot of time in our library. Until I read all of their books that I want to read and started collecting them myself.
    My father didn’t (and still doesn’t) understand my reading addiction. He would stand before the bookshelves in my bedroom and ask “What are you going to do with all those books?” Hmmm, eat them?! :p

  13. Love the horse outside! 🙂 I remember going to the library when I was younger… the one where I lived was huge. Where I live now has a small one… but I still enjoy taking my little nephew there once a week to show him what they have to offer.

  14. My small town library is the reason I have such a love for books. Checked out many books from there to win a reading challenge during first grade.

  15. Books meant the world to me when I was young. I used to bike over to the neighborhood library and choose as many books as possible for the week, devour them and then repeat the trip the next week. I grew up appreciating books, reading and love libraries. We have a great system here which I enjoy greatly.

  16. I always checked out from our little library books on horses or the Old West. I still read Westerns when I can.But I really got hooked on reading romances along in the 70s I think by reading Shanna written by Kathleen Woodiwess. Now I belong to two Mystery book clubs. So my reading is pretty much anything except Sci-Fi and Paranormal. I love to read.

  17. I love small town libraries! I sent two summers during my high school years working at our local library and loved it so much I almost felt guilty for letting them pay me. I discovered so many new authors and even new genres during that time – it was like working in a treasure house.

  18. We are also fortunate to have a Carnegie library, but the true blessings have been the wonderful women who have served as librarians.
    What a great idea to write a book set in a library! I’m looking forward to reading it.

  19. What a great post! Love libraries! Just dropped in to tell you I love your books and I can’t wait to read this one. It sounds really good.

  20. Seems we spent similar childhoods. I walked the mile into town to our library which was in a large brick government building. Love the house in which yours was located. I was the oldest of 6 and relished those Saturdays spent alone with books. I read mostly non-fiction, primarily science, archeology, anthropology, and started on Nancy Drew. I did want to write in high school, but my family shot that down pretty ruthlessly. College didn’t see much reading for pleasure – too much work.

    I was lucky enough to work as a children’s librarian for 8 years in a small county library. Teens kissing in the stacks (check),staff making out in the library (check), and volunteers worth their price or much more (check), wonderful co-workers & some who don’t have a clue, and power hungry board members. Most importantly, the wonderful variety of patrons.

    I will be looking for CHANCE OF A LIFETIME and am certain its release will be successful.

  21. The library was always my home away from home. If my mom could not find me she would look at the library. I think it was love at first sight when I went to the library in I think Grade 1 in school. Then when they built a library in my I was there nearly every day after classes..

  22. When my family and I moved to Oregon I found the nearest library and couldnt get enough. I loved going because it would take to me worlds and places i would never see otherwise and read about different kinds of people i would never meet. The library became like an enchanted castle. Cant wait to read your books

  23. Hi Jodi!

    Books were very important in our family when I was growing up. I remember how, every Saturday, Mom would drop me off at the library before she went to the beauty shop to get her hair done. She knew I would be totally occupied for however long it took her to get finished there. Our library was an old, old building there in Seminole, Oklahoma. Our librarian was Miss Goldie Barnett–a sweeter, kinder woman never lived. She never married and was very old when I was just a kid going in there. She knew every book, practically, and made sure we didn’t stray into anything inappropriate. We could check out seven books. Well, there was no way I could read all seven books in one week’s time, but I sure felt wealthy to be able to have all of them “just in case” I could! That library picture you posted is gorgeous. It’s got a magical feel to it. I can’t wait to read Chance of a Lifetime. Looks like yet another winner!

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