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Salinger's widow wants former general store to be a library

Salinger's widow wants former general store to be a library

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FILE - A 1951 file photo shows J.D. Salinger, author of "The Catcher in the Rye", "Nine Stories", and "Franny and Zooey." The authors of a new J.D. Salinger biography are claiming they have cracked one of publishing's greatest mysteries: What "The Catcher in the Rye" novelist was working on during the last half century of his life. (AP Photo, file)

CORNISH, N.H. (AP) — The widow of author J.D. Salinger wants to donate the former general store she owns in New Hampshire to the town so it can be converted into a library.

Salinger, author of “The Catcher in the Rye," spent the last nearly six decades of his life in Cornish, far removed from the public eye. He died in 2010.

Colleen O'Neill, his widow, bought the town's former general store in 2016. It reopened, but closed about 18 months later.

“A library can be that vital place that helps our community thrive,” she said in a letter read aloud by a friend at Tuesday's Town Meeting, the Valley News reported. “Libraries today are more than just about books. They are about connecting us to the wider world, serving the community and creating a sense of place. What I love about this town, what I love about Cornish, is that when help is needed, this community comes together. It is what makes Cornish so amazing and so special.”

The town's current library was built around 1910 and lacks off-street parking and running water, library trustee Laura Cousineau said. It also isn't complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We need a new place and this is possibly an answer to our prayers,” Cousineau said.

O'Neill, who wasn't at the meeting, attended it in 2010 to thank the town for respecting her husband's privacy.

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