John Stamos had to go to the library to figure out how to play his first role.

John Stamos spoke with the Topsham Public Library Wednesday over a live webinar hosted by the Library Speakers Consortium. His memoir, published in October, has already been named a New York Times Bestseller and a “Best Memoir to Read in 2023” by USA Today. Courtesy image

He was cast as a New York “street urchin,” he told Brandon Adler, host of the Library Speakers Consortium, over a Zoom webinar with the Topsham Public Library on Wednesday.

“I didn’t know what that meant,” said Stamos, who remembers going to the library in his hometown of Cyprus, California, with his mother to look up the word “urchin.” He was afraid to go in, he said, because of the three library books he’d had out for going on three years.

“I think I’m too loud to be in a library,” Stamos joked.

Even so, he accepted a speaking engagement with the Library Speakers Consortium, an organization that brings libraries across the country together to provide online author talks for their patrons.

Emma Gibbon, a librarian at the Topsham Public Library, said Topsham joined the consortium in part because they found that members wanted to continue online programming even after the return of in-person events.


“It brings people and their community together, forges friendships, folks can learn new things and experience a place that is not work, not home, but still belongs to them and their neighbors,” Gibbon said.

The Topsham library is one of two libraries in the state that belongs to the Library Speakers Consortium. The other is the public library in York. More than 3,600 people tuned in to the webinar Wednesday evening.

Stamos, who spoke from his home in Los Angeles, had tacked up a wall-sized poster of his book cover — featuring his own face — behind him. He didn’t reveal who had glued on a tinfoil mustache, but it was easy to imagine it was his 3-year-old son.

His book, which has already been named a New York Times Bestseller and a “Best Memoir to Read in 2023” by USA Today, was published by MacMillan last month. Stamos shared that the first two chapters were the hardest to write and that they include details of “the worst day of my life,” when the author was caught drunk driving.

According to Brandon Adler, a professor at the University of New Orleans and host of the Library Speakers Consortium, the memoir is funny and vulnerable.

It includes the story of how Stamos started acting, after he landed his first part on the soap opera “General Hospital” in 1982, when he was only 19. When he wasn’t on the set, Stamos said, he was working at his dad’s Greek-American restaurant.


It tells of how Stamos intermittently toured with The Beach Boys, playing percussion and singing harmonies. And of how the actor, now 60, found out “that small things are what count” with his wife Caitlin and their young son.

“Is there anything you were afraid to dream of because it seemed too big?” Adler asked.

Stamos didn’t know how to answer.

“It wasn’t about dreaming,” he said finally. “It was just like, I’m going to do this. Naivete worked in my favor.”

“I just wanted to be on a sitcom,” he added, “I didn’t want to be George Clooney.”

As for the book, Stamos said, that was hard.

“I discovered my story as I was writing it. I did what they call a vomit draft; I got it all on paper.”

“Everyone’s got a book in them,” he said. “And this one’s mine.”

John Stamos speaks with Library Speakers Consortium host Brandon Adler. Luna Soley / The Times Record

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