Library hosts NPR/Fox news personality Diana Nyad

A world traveler, sports journalist and champion swimmer, Diana Nyad attributes much of her life's success to the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., public library.

A child of an abusive home, Nyad focused her energy on swimming and found an escape in the library's quiet halls.

"It was open lots of hours, on the weekends, and I was allowed to go by myself," Nyad said. "Getting a library card, I think, was the first thing that made me feel like an adult. The pool and the library were my safe havens."

With Tom Sawyer she traveled down the Mississippi and she fell in love with New York and Paris in the pages of books.

She liked the jacket covers of Random House books and imagined one day writing a book that could have such a cover. Random House published her first book, "Other Shores."

Nyad, senior sports correspondent for Fox Sport Net and host of National Public Radio's "The Savvy Traveler," will kick off National Library Week at the Carson City Library at 7 p.m. Monday with a discussion of her love of libraries mingled with, perhaps, a few tales from her storied life.

Themed "Travel the World@Your Library!" the library will celebrate the week with a variety of travel-related events.

Nyad calls her NPR show "inspirational" with "interviews and stories about people who've traveled the world." She said she plans to interview and record some attendants at Monday's lecture as an addition to a story she's doing on libraries around the world.

An accomplished swimmer, Nyad made history in 1979 by making the longest swim recorded to that date, 102.5 miles from the Bahamas to Florida. She also was the first person to swim around Manhattan Island.

Her swimming feats drew her into the world of broadcast journalism where she has carved a niche as an investigative sports reporter. She spent eight years with ABC's "Wide World of Sports" before hosting her own show on CNBC. Since 1998, Nyad has reported on such sports events as the International Olympic Committee's bribery scandal for Fox's sports magazine, "Goin' Deep."

Through all her work, libraries have remained a fixture in her life.

"I go there still to sit in a big comfortable chair to have that wonderful atmosphere which is kind of quiet, but there is still this murmur," she said.

In her 20s, Nyad won a fellowship to write her first book in the Frederick Lewis Allen room at the New York Public Library. Being in the beautiful room with a library staff at her disposal "was epic. It was a magical heaven."

While her interns offer her Internet research, she often drags her "guys" down to the library to pass on the art of searching for tangible information to her technologically-savvy but library challenged staff.

"With the Internet, people have sort of forgotten libraries, like they're sort of archaic," Nyad said. "But I'm old school."

Nyad travels extensively and said she always makes a point of visiting libraries, which offer a window to other cultures.

Library week starts Monday at 12:15 p.m. with a brown bag lunch in the library auditorium and showings of the PBS show, "Wild Nevada." The shows, which will take visitors on a tour of Nevada's back yard, will air daily through Friday at 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.

Travel-related events will be featured each evening, including tips for intrepid travelers Wednesday and a Japanese anime movie 7 p.m. Friday. From 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, the library will host music from around the world on the library lawn, weather permitting. Groups slated to preform are The Wild Sage Group, Sierra Highlanders, Sabor Andino, Stewart Baptist Indian Drum Group and the Sierra Nevada Balalaika Society. Check the Nevada Appeal daily for a listing of the day's events. For information, call the Carson City Library at 887-2244.

If you go:

What: Carson City Library Week featuring guest speaker Diana Nyad

When: 7 p.m., Monday

Where: Carson City Library, 900 N. Roop St.

other Monday events:

12:15 p.m. Wild Nevada video episode No. 102, "Ghost Towns"

1:15 p.m. Wild Nevada video episode No. 103, "Black Canyon and the Valley of Fire."

For information on National Library Week activities, call the Carson City Library at 887-2244.


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