Q&A with Author Calyssa Erb

Q&A with Author Calyssa Erb

Ahead of the upcoming Author Talk with Calyssa Erb, Huron County Library branch assistant Shannon O’Connor connects with the author to discuss her book, Maya Plays the Part, the journey to publication, what inspired her to feature an autistic female main character, and more!

What inspired you to write a middle school book featuring an autistic female main character?

I wrote this book for 10-year-old me who loved to dive into stories of characters going for their goals. I read a lot when I was younger, but I never saw an autistic female main character in the books that I read. When I received my own autism diagnosis a few years ago, I decided to revisit my experience at that age with this new understanding and to imagine what might have been different if I had this knowledge then.

Were there any parts of writing Maya’s story you found particularly challenging and if so why?

The most challenging part of writing Maya’s story was my own inner critic and my worries about whether she would be likeable. I wanted her to feel authentic and shed a light on some of the comments I received as a young girl, but I also wanted her to be someone that young readers would want to spend time with as she works towards her own dreams.

 What was your journey to publication like? Did it take a while to find an agent or publisher for your story?

I have wanted to be an author since I was very young, and I wrote my first contest winning short story in the 3rd grade. However, I struggled a lot with finishing projects. It wasn’t until I received my autism diagnosis that I was able to recognize the factors that were impacting my writing like autistic burnout and sensory overwhelm. It was around the time that I started working on Maya’s story that Annick Press set up their mentorship program. I received such valuable feedback from them during this mentorship that it gave me the momentum to keep working on Maya’s story. About a year later, I had revised enough that I felt confident in sending the book out to publishers and agents. I received a lot of rejections! But then, serendipitously, Annick reached out and offered to publish the story.

 Growing up did you have any favourite middle grade books or characters that you connected with? 

As a pretty shy and reserved kid, young girls who were determined and the heroes of their own stories resonated with me. It’s interesting because the way we designate a middle grade book now is different from how children’s books were categorized when I was growing up! These are some of the characters and books that hold a special place in my heart from when I was 10-12 years old: The Dear Canada series, Meggie from the Inkheart series, Mitsuki of the manga Full Moon o Sagashite, Ella of Ella Enchanted and Anne from Anne of Green Gables.

 Have you noticed an increase in more #ownvoices autism stories in fiction and do you have any favourites or any authors you admire?

I have noticed there are more #ownvoices stories and stories about autism from a lived experience. There’s still lots of opportunity for more autism stories in fiction because the autistic experience is so varied. My favourites in the middle grade space include A.J. Sass, and Meg Eden Kuyatt. I’m also a huge fan of Elle McNicoll whose A Kind of Spark was adapted into a TV series! It’s really incredible and a must-watch for autistic representation in kids media.

Do you have any plans for more books featuring Maya in the future and if not can you tell us anything about what you’re working on next?

I am interested in returning to Maya in the future! She’s already started whispering that she’s got more stories to share with readers, but right now I’m working on a story about neurodivergence and body image. I’m hoping to create a wonderfully connected universe of characters, so that readers can jump in from any book and feel connected to a larger world.

Holds pick-up lockers now available at Bayfield and Goderich Branches

Holds pick-up lockers now available at Bayfield and Goderich Branches

The Huron County Library has made it easier for patrons to pick up their books with the addition of two new holds pick-up locations at the Bayfield and Goderich Branches.

The lockers will allow patrons 24/7 access to pick up their holds, making it convenient for patrons to get their books after regular branch hours. The locker at Goderich is located outside the front door by the book drop, and the locker at Bayfield is located in the post office next to the library.


To select one of the lockers as your pick-up location, simply place a hold on the item of your choice, and when prompted to choose your location, select either Goderich Holds Pickup Locker or Bayfield Holds Pickup Locker, and select the ‘Place Hold’ button. You will be notified when your item is available to pick up at the locker. To pick up your items, all you need to bring with you is your Huron County Library card!

Image of the library's online catalogue showing how to select one of the lockers as a pick-up location


If you’d like to keep one of the lockers are your default pickup location, follow these steps:


  • Find an item you want to borrow
  • Click Place Hold
  • Choose the locker you want to be your pickup location from the drop down menu
  • Put a checkmark in the box next to the words: Enable Single-Click Holds
  • Click the Blue Place Hold button
  • Your preference will be saved until you decide to change locations.
Image of online catalogue showing to how set locker as default  pick up location

If you have the “Single-Click Holds” enabled on your account, and want to use one of the lockers as your pickup location instead of the branch, you will have to change the location option by following these steps:


  • Click on your Username (top Right-hand corner of screen)
  • Select On Hold (Under “My Borrowing”)
Image of setting up locker pickup on our online catalogue
  • Click the link “Single Click Holds is ON”
  • Choose the locker of your choice as your pickup location
  • Click Save
  • You’ll know you’re successful when you get the message of successfully choosing your pickup location.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to branch staff at Bayfield and Goderich.


Image of setting up locker pickup on our online catalogue
Smart Card transit passes now available to checkout with a Huron County Library card

Smart Card transit passes now available to checkout with a Huron County Library card

Set yourself FREE with Huron Shores Area Transit by checking out a Smart Card Library pass with a Huron County Library card!

The Library is very pleased to partner with Huron Shores Area Transit (HSAT) to make five Smart Card Library Passes available through the Object Library, giving patrons unlimited free rides during a one-week loan period.

According to a media release issued from HSAT, the new Smart Card Library program is designed to encourage residents who have not yet tried local public transit to experience convenient and affordable travel options and access various destinations and venues without worrying about transportation or parking costs. The program is planned to be in place for the full year and may be extended into 2025.

Passes can be borrowed from branches in communities with HSAT transit stops: Bayfield, Exeter, Goderich, Hensall, and Zurich. Of course, holds can be placed online and picked up from any Huron County Library branch. The pass is non-renewable, enabling as many cardholders as possible to borrow the pass and try out local public transit. 

“We are proud to partner with local libraries in offering Smart Card Library Passes,” said Susan Mills, Transit Coordinator from Huron Shores Area Transit. “This collaboration aligns perfectly with our mission to provide accessible transportation solutions and enhance community connectivity. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this initiative will have on residents.”

HSAT’s affordable, inter-community public transit links Lambton Shores, South Huron, North Middlesex, Bluewater and Kettle & Stony Point First Nation with each other and Sarnia, London, Goderich and Strathroy. The fully accessible service provides an important transit service for seniors, students, workers and youth for employment, education, health and wellness, and leisure.

For more information about routes, schedules, fares and Smart Cards, visit HuronShoresAreaTransit.ca. To speak with a live operator about times and schedules, call 1-888-465-0783 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.

Tiny Art Show returns to Clinton Branch

Tiny Art Show returns to Clinton Branch

Calling all artists of ALL abilities! The Clinton Branch‘s Tiny Art Show returns this spring and we invite you to join in on the creative fun! Pick up a 5” X 5” board from the branch to create your tiny artwork. Use your own art supplies to decorate your board using any medium you choose (paint, draw, decoupage, collage, sew, etc.).

The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 15, 2024. The Tiny Art Show opening will be held on March 23, 1 p.m. Artwork will be displayed in the library from March 23 to April 20, 2024. Tiny refreshments will be served.

Download an entry form and return to the Clinton Branch along with your piece by March 15. Entry forms are also available from the branch.

Art Show Rules:

  • One board per person or group. Available while supplies last.
  • No candles or electrical devices, including battery operated.
  • Objects, paper, and materials of any kind, except food, may be glued to the canvas, but artwork must remain 5” X 5” and must be able to hang flat against the wall.
  • Please write your name on the back of the canvas and include an arrow to show which way is the top.
  • Fill out the entire Tiny Art Show entry form and bring with you when you submit your art.
  • After the show opening on March 23, artwork will be displayed until April 20. Art must be picked up at the Circulation Desk by April 30. Please note, any artwork not picked up will become library property for use as we deem fit.
  • The Huron County Library reserves the right to refuse any work considered unsuitable and/or does not meet these guidelines. Or if it cannot be accommodated safely or comfortably within the library space.
  • By participating in the Clinton Branch Tiny Art Show, you agree to allow Huron County Library to publicly display and photograph your art for promotion and engagement.
Most Anticipated Releases of 2024

Most Anticipated Releases of 2024

There are SO many great books coming out in 2024! The following are just a few of Huron County Library staff’s most anticipated upcoming titles across a variety of genres and reading levels.

A staff-created list with even more recommendations can be found on our online catalogue.

Book cover image of Closer Together

Non-fiction: Closer Together by Sophie Grégoire Trudeau

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau invites readers on a deeply personal journey toward self-knowledge, acceptance, and empowerment, drawing on the expertise of top psychologists, psychiatrists, scientists, and thought leaders. Release: April 23

Place a hold online…


Book cover image of Expiration Dates

Fiction: Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle

Told with her signature warmth and insight into matters of the heart, Rebecca Serle’s newest book is a gripping, emotional, passionate, and (yes) heartbreaking novel about what it means to be single, what it means to find love, and ultimately how we define each of them for ourselves. Release: March 5

Place a hold online…


Book cover image of Secret Keeper

Historical Fiction: The Secret Keeper by Genevieve Graham

From bestselling Canadian author Genevieve Graham comes a gripping World War II novel about two sisters who join the war effort—one as a codebreaker and the other as a pilot—and the secrets that threaten to tear them apart. Perfect for fans of The Rose Code and The Nightingale. Release: April 2

Place a hold online…


Book cover image of This Summer Will Be Different

Romance: This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune

A nostalgic, moving second chance love story set on Prince Edward Island that is sure to be in everyone’s beach bag this summer! This is Carley Fortune at her best and one not to miss for romance lovers and fans of Emily Henry. Release: May 7

Place a hold online…


Book cover image of The Grey Wolf

Mystery: The Grey Wold by Louise Penny

The highly anticipated nineteenth book in the best-selling Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. Plot details themselves are still a mystery! Release: Oct. 29

Place a hold online…


Book cover image of Murder Road

Horror/Suspense: Murder Road by Simone St. James

A young couple find themselves haunted by a string of gruesome murders committed along an old deserted road in this terrifying new novel. Release: March 5

Place a hold online…


Book cover image of Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Fantasy: Somewhere Beyond the Sea by TJ Klune

The hugely anticipated sequel to the bestselling, The House in the Cerulean Sea, is a story of resistance, lovingly told, about the daunting experience of fighting for the life you want to live and doing the work to keep it. Release: Sept. 10

Place a hold online…


Book cover image of Annie Bot

Science Fiction: Annie Bot by Sierra Greer

For fans of Never Let Me Go and My Dark Vanessa, a powerful, provocative novel about the relationship between a female robot and her human owner, exploring questions of intimacy, power, autonomy, and control. Release: March 19

Place a hold online…


Book cover image of Ace and the Misfits

Young Adult: Ace and the Misfits by Eddie Kawooya

In his debut novel, Eddie Kawooya presents a fish-out-of-water story of immigration and the pains and joys of integration into a new and sometimes frightening environment. Arriving in Canada, Ace finds himself living in a basement apartment, having to integrate into a new community where he is the “African.” This book tackles self esteem and how it can be easily lost when one feels alone. At the core of this story is the isolation a child feels after his world is snatched from him, and the journey of self worth and self confidence he must undertake to rise above it. Release: Feb. 13

Place a hold online…

Book cover image of Tree. Table. Book.

Middle Grade Fiction: Tree. Table. Book. by Lois Lowry

Eleven-year-old Sophia endeavors to prevent her increasingly forgetful 88-year-old neighbour and best friend Sophie from entering assisted living, and in the process, uncovers unexpected stories of war, loss, and hope. From two-time Newbery medalist Lois Lowry comes this warm and resonant story of an unlikely friendship, which unfolds as a revelation on how we hold on to – and pass on – what matters most. Release: April 23

Place a hold online…

Book cover image of There's No PLace Like Hope

Picture Book: There’s No Place Like Hope by Janet Lawler; Illustrated by Tamisha Anthony

This sweet, rhythmic picture book is a gentle yet powerful exploration of how hope makes us loving, courageous, and connected to one another. Release: Jan. 30

Place a hold online…