Wyoming author Craig Johnson is coming to Centennial today for a reading and fundraiser to benefit the Centennial Library.
“Longmire Comes to Centennial: An Afternoon with Craig Johnson” is scheduled for 3-6 p.m. today at the Fish On Ranch, 32 Trout Drive. Tickets are $40 and available at the door until sold out.
The event will include live music, silent auction, food, cash bar and Longmire merchandise for sale.
Johnson writes the popular Walt Longmire mystery series, which follows a sheriff in fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming, a setting similar to Johnson’s home in Ucross near the Bighorn Mountains. The series was adapted for television in 2012 and ran for six seasons.
“People really enjoy reading something with local flavor and history,” said Lynette Parkhurst, vice president of the Centennial Library and Cultural Association.
The fifteenth and newest book in the series, “Land of Wolves,” is set for release next month. “Depth of Winter,” the most recent publication, was just released in paperback by Penguin Books.
Parkhurst said Johnson is planning to read from and talk about his yet-to-be-released title, which takes Longmire back home after an excursion to Mexico. He investigates the mysterious death of a Basque sheepherder, which appears at first glance to be suicide.
“I’m glad he’s taking the characters back to Wyoming,” Parkhurst said.
Johnson is scheduled to begin national tour to promote “Land of Wolves” on Sept. 17 with stops in Casper and Cheyenne.
Johnson has come to Centennial several times in the past, and Parkhurst described him as a riveting storyteller and speaker who values public libraries.
“He is so generous with his time to visit small-town libraries,” she said.
Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Centennial Library and Cultural Association on behalf of the library, which Parkhurst said fills a critical role in the small town at the base of the Snowy Range.
“We’re really popular, and we serve the whole Centennial Valley,” she said.
The library is open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5-7 p.m. Thursdays during the summer. A librarian from the Albany County Public Library system comes once a week, while the rest of the hours are staffed by volunteers. Free wireless Internet access is available from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays.
“Many people or campers that are up in the Snowy Range don’t have access to their computer network, and they’re often parked in our parking lot after they get the wi-fi password,” Parkhurst said.
During the school year, the library offers a weekly story time and library session for students at Centennial Elementary School, located next door.
“We like to call ourselves the heart of Centennial,” Parkhurst said.
The Centennial Library and Cultural Association, which has about 120 member families, individuals and businesses, schedules educational programs at the library throughout the summer and oversees maintenance of the library building.
“I really believe in literacy and libraries, and this little one here is unique in so many ways,” Parkhurst said. “It’s really important to the community, and we and we are supported by the community.”