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Will James books bring the Wild West to Delta County Libraries

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Photo submitted Benji Lloyd reads Will James books with his father, Andy, and grandmother, Bonnie.

Delta County certainly has its share of real-life ranchers, men and women who earn a livelihood from herding cattle, riding horses, moving irrigation and mending fences. However, for many residents the Wild West is only a dream, views of fields from car windows their only contact with cows, horses or the cowboys themselves. Fortunately for the cowboy or the city slicker who loves to reminisce about the days when almost everyone worked on a ranch or farmed the land, a multitude of books are available to fuel the imagination.

Delta County Libraries has always carried a good supply of Westerns. Books by authors like Louis L'Amour, Ralph Compton and William Johnstone frequently check out to patrons all over the county. But there are options beyond these popular paperbacks. Families wanting to read cowboy adventures together, or those looking for a more varied take on the Old West might choose to look to different authors for their reading material, authors such as Will James.

James was a cowboy who lived and worked in the early 1900s. He wrote and illustrated over 20 books about his experiences, and his books have remained popular for the past hundred years. He has written fiction and non-fiction for adults and children, covering many aspects of life in the West, from rodeo riding to blizzards to love to childhood. All of his books include healthy doses of adventure; in fact, James was a cattle rustler among his other talents, eventually landing in jail for his failure to obey the law. The tales of his experiences have made it onto New York Times bestseller lists, and his artwork has provided inspiration for countless Western artists.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Will James Society, Delta County Libraries has placed an enjoyable selection of Will James books in all five library branches. The Will James Society, a non-profit organization based in Nevada, has worked for years to keep the works of this author in the public eye through promotions, education and donations. According to the website, www.willjames.org, "The society seeks in turn to support our ranching and cowboy heritage by demonstrating the positive affect it has had on our lives."

"We recognize the importance of ranching and cattle in Delta County's history, community and economy," says district director Annette Choszczyk. "By sharing these books in our libraries, we hope to help preserve the cowboy way of life for future readers in Delta County."

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