We made a million-dollar pledge
This is us
Books gave us each other.
We are giving back.
My name is Keith Eldred. When my wife Janet and I reached our 25th anniversary in 2015, we set a goal: To raise $1 million from my writing and give it all to our public library, which serves 25,000 people across seven municipalities in Central Pennsylvania.
Since then, I completed a debut novel that we believe will earn that much. We believe it will earn more than that, to benefit other public libraries as well.
Something else happened before 2015 that helped motivate this: Janet received a diagnosis of early-onset dementia. To this point, this mainly means problems remembering. Janet continually forgets things such as names, trips, incidents, and books that she has just read. She is still able to do exemplary work, due to thoughtful help from her staff and board of directors … and generous amounts of Post-it notes! Janet has been the director of our public library since 2004.
This library, and books in general, have given Janet and me so much that we want to give back. Books gave us our college careers and our marriage: We are English majors who met working in a bookstore.
Our vehicle for giving back is also a book—the novel that I wrote for this cause. I started it in 2014 and completed the latest draft on the last day of 2018. I launched this website on the first day of 2019.
I will spend the coming years seeking the widest possible audience through publishing and other partners. Janet and I agreed that I would leave my corporate position to do this. I left that job in the fall of 2018 after 29 years and 25 days, with a flood of well wishes.
We want to do this while Janet can still be aware of it, should her mind decline. This is the crowning effort of our marriage. It is not the most important effort—that was raising our kids—but this is the last big thing we want to do.
You can help by buying the novel when it is available (as soon as possible) and by inviting me to speak to your group (immediately!) or appear on your podcast or other program. You can preorder the book at the button below. The other button is to donate directly to our public library.
Janet and I are are proud of the novel. It will get good and bad reviews, as do even the most popular books. It will generate book discussions as good as any you have ever had. For one thing, it has a secret inspiration (click here to spoil the secret).
Thank you for your interest. Enjoy reading and public libraries.
One of my favorite pics of us (2003)
My all-time favorite pic of Janet