Saturday, February 11, 2006

Columbus' first guidebook

As much as it pains me to admit this, there is so much I want and need to learn about the city I now call home, Columbus, Ohio.

Having lived in or around the same city my entire life, it's been daunting to be in a new environment where I'm not familiar with the many stores, restaurants and neighborhoods. Add to that the fact that I'm the most directionally challenged person you're likely to meet (who is rotten at remembering street names to boot) and you'll begin to understand the challenges I've faced. Luckily, I have some kind and understanding colleagues who have patiently answered my many questions.

Now I also have another resource to turn to, a guidebook that is the first of its kind for Columbus.

It all started when author Shawnie M. Kelley went looking for a guidebook for a friend who was considering a move to Columbus and couldn't find one. She contacted Globe Pequot, the publisher of the Insiders' Guide Series, and suggested they find someone to write a book about Columbus and all it has to offer. It soon became clear that Kelley was the person who was best suited for the task. She has traveled extensively and lived in various places abroad and also teaches travel courses for a local lifelong learning program.

Kelley, who moved to Columbus in 1997, spent eight months researching the book and visited around 95% of the places she highlights within it. In other chapters dealing with topics she had no background in, such as child care, she interviewed experts and business owners about their experiences.

"When I first moved here, I could have used a guide like this," Kelley says. "I did include a lot of the traditional tourist stuff, but I wrote it from a relocation standpoint."

"Insiders' Guide to Columbus, Ohio," which is Kelley's first book, will be followed next month by her second, "It Happened on Cape Cod." She is also planning an "Insiders' Guide to Cleveland" and is busy compiling information for a second edition of the Columbus guidebook.

Kelley's friend ended up not moving to Columbus, but Kelley hopes the book will prove useful to others: "Hopefully, my explorations will benefit new people in town or people who have lived here already."

You can read more about Kelley and her book in two recent articles. The first, from a community newspaper in New Albany, Ohio and the second from today's The Columbus Dispatch.


Anonymous Shawnie Kelley said...

Hi Amy- I am the author of the Insiders' Guide to Columbus and glad to hear it is coming in handy. I was searching the internet for an article related to my book and came across your blog. I assume you read the Close-up featuring the "Columbus Metropilitan Libraries" in the Relocation chapter. I must admit I was quite pleased my editor gave me the chance to update the information (late in the editorial process) once CML was named #1 in the country. Definitely something to brag about. I am in the process of compiling new material and updates for a revised edition. Thanks for your kind words about my first book and the city's first guide. Enjoy! Shawnie Kelley.

3:22 PM  

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