Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries – October 2023

Local Author to Speak in November

John Faulkner

We are constantly looking for authors who are willing to come to SaddleBrooke to speak to our residents. The Author Luncheons are very popular and well-attended. However, finding authors who have a tie to Tucson and/or Arizona can be a real challenge.

Laura Benson, vice president of Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries, and Joyce Faulkner, president of Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries, heard about a book called My Life Along the Streetcar, by Tom Heath. A little research found that Tom is a local businessman, so they reached out to him about speaking to our residents. He was very receptive to the idea and will be speaking on Nov. 16. Tickets will go on sale mid-October, with more information on times and location at that time.

I was able to speak with Tom last week to get more information from him on his book, his background, and why he wrote it. The book is based on interviews Tom had done for a radio show. The show was started back in 2017, and he realized he had lots of great material that should be of interest to local Tucson residents. He said the process started with a Facebook page, then the radio show, and on to a podcast and a blog, which laid out the template for his book.

The book really brings downtown Tucson to life. He was able to interview and capture the thoughts of people who have been the “movers and shakers” who have played an important role in what downtown Tucson has become today. Here is a recap of just some of the real-life characters you will learn about in the book:

Interview with Steve Farley, December 2017. Here you will learn about what brought Steve to Tucson and his involvement in bringing the dream of a Tucson streetcar to life. It started with his joining a community advisory group in 1999, dealing with the Regional Transportation Authority, and ending with working with local politicians to make the dream a reality.

Interview with Rick Collins, November 2017. This interview brings the Presidio Museum to life through the efforts of Rick Collins. You will learn how it was started and the efforts of many volunteers to keep the museum vibrant and exciting for visitors of all ages.

Interview with David Carter, December 2018. If you have never been to see the USS Arizona Mall Memorial on the campus mall at the University of Arizona, this interview will make you want to make that cross-town journey. David Carter is the designer of the memorial and gives you lots of behind-the-scenes information on how the memorial came about.

Those are just a few of the more than 14 separate interviews Tom has in the book that will give you the incentive to get downtown and see these local treasures. The book has a vivid cover illustration done by Julie Bonner, with a multitude of great photography by James Portis.

So, circle Nov. 16 on your calendar to come and hear author and local businessman Tom Heath tell the tale of My Life Along the Streetcar. Tom says if you have never visited downtown Tucson, hearing him speak about the treasures that await you may convince you to take a “staycation” over a weekend and just walk around to see the sights and ride the streetcar. We look forward to seeing you on Nov. 17. Final details of the time and place will be coming out soon.

Author Patrick Whitehurst will be the guest speaker at the FSL lecture on Nov. 9.

FSL November Lecture Features Crime and Catastrophe in Tucson History

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

On Thursday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m. in the DesertView Theater, Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries (FSL) will host the last of its 2023-24 lecture series. Patrick Whitehurst will present “Murder and Mayhem in Tucson.”

Gunplay, foul play, playing with fire—sunny Tucson has a dark side pockmarked with murder and mayhem, and author Patrick Whitehurst hits the lowlights with this compendium of true crime and catastrophe. There’s something for everyone, from military misadventures such as the midair collision of World War II fighter bombers over Pantano Wash to notable conflagrations that consumed civic landmarks such as the Tucson Opera House and the Pioneer Hotel, to 1983’s deadly Tropical Storm Octave, which submerged homes, destroyed infrastructure, and injured nearly 1,000 people.

Many familiar, larger-than-life personalities put in an appearance, including Geronimo, Dillinger, Mafia boss Joe Bonanno, and Louise Marshall of Marshall Foundation fame, who had the distinction of being both crime victim and perpetrator when she discovered her unfaithful husband had been trying to poison her with arsenic and shot him for his trouble.

Patrick Whitehurst, who writes both fiction and nonfiction, is the author of the Barker Mysteries novellas. He lives in Tucson but previously lived in California. His nonfiction work includes the books Haunted Monterey County and Murder and Mayhem in Tucson. His stories range from true crime to thriller fiction reminiscent of Tales from the Crypt. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, including Shotgun Honey, Pulp Modern, Hoosier Noir, and Switchblade. He’s been featured in the anthologies Bitter Chills, Wild Violence, and elsewhere.

This lecture is free for FSL members and $5 for nonmembers.

How Do You Like Us Now? The Kids Corner

Kids Corner at DesertView Library (photo by John Faulkner)

John Faulkner

This is a continuation of “spotlighting” areas of the SaddleBrooke Library system you may not be aware of. Our three-library system has a lot to offer residents of SaddleBrooke and is supported financially by Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries. Through your membership and donations, the libraries are able to offer residents a wide range of books, DVDs, audiobooks, and magazines. If you have not already joined, please go to for more information on the benefits of becoming a Friend of SaddleBrooke Libraries.

So, the grandkids are coming to visit and you are wracking your brain to try and find something new and interesting for them to do. How about allowing them to enter the world of children’s books? Here, through reading, they can enter worlds that will spark their imaginations and keep them coming back for more. Yes, the DesertView Library has a children’s collection just waiting for them to come in and dig into a new adventure through reading.

At the opening of DesertView Library in 2005, space was finally available to start a children’s collection. Through a few purchases and lots of donations, the collection grew, and shelf space filled up rapidly. Finally, a few years ago, the library was able to purchase a bookcase specifically designed to hold children’s books, and the Kids Corner came to life.

It is located just behind the check desk and has room for kids to paw through the books to find one that grabs their attention. It soon became evident that trying to keep the books in alphabetical order was nearly impossible. Today, if a child pulls a book out for a test run, they can put it back on any shelf, in any order. Library volunteers tell me it is not unusual to see parents, grandparents, and kids sitting on the floor with a stack of books between them looking for just the right one. Proof that kids are drawn to these books is the high renewal rate, as children like to read the same book more than once.

The collection emphasizes books about the Southwest and also some favorites like Dr. Seuss. Most are colorfully illustrated to draw the attention of children. Kids Corner also has age-appropriate DVDs and movies that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

There are also some titles by local SaddleBrooke children’s authors. SaddleBrooke resident Judith Ellis has donated her book “Wonder Whales.” It is beautifully illustrated by Loren Chatlin and tells this story: “When Shadow is hurt by pirate whalers, and O-O is imprisoned in a cage beneath their ship, the rest of the Wonder Whales go to the rescue.” It’s an adventure just waiting for some lucky child.

Through a grant from Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries, seven to eight new books are added each year. As you might imagine, wear and tear is higher from eager, young readers. As books reach their useful shelf life, they are donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

So, bring those grandkids to DesertView Library, introduce them to their own special Kids Corner, and help us answer the question, #How do you like us now?