Librarian on the Roof! A True Storyby M. G. King, Stephen Gilpin (Illustrator)
When RoseAleta Laurell begins her new job at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas, she is surprised that the children of the town think the library is for adults. She vows to raise the money for a children's section and spends a week living and working on the library roof, even surviving a dangerous storm. With the help of the entire town, RoseAleta raises over $39,000 from within the community and across the country.
Today if you look through the front window of the Eugene Clark Library, you will see shelves stacked full with children's books and tables and chairs just the right size. You will see artwork on the walls, and a row of busy computers. Best of all, you will always find crowds of children who love to read and learn inside the walls of the oldest library in Texas.
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The Librarian on the Roof!
A True Story
By M.G. King, Stephen Gilpin
ALBERT WHITMAN & CompanyCopyright © 2010 M. G. King
All rights reserved.
In Lockhart, Texas, stood an old, old library, the oldest in the whole state.
A hundred years ago, everyone in town visited the Dr. Eugene Clark Library to check out good books and the latest news. Crowds came to hear bands play and schoolchildren sing in front of its giant stained glass window. But over the years, the books grew old and dusty, and people found newer, flashier places to go. The library grew quiet.
One day its creaky doors whooshed open.
"GOOD MORNING!" RoseAleta Laurell, the new librarian, arrived with a clatter of heels on the floor and eyelashes as long as bird feathers. Her laugh rattled the stained glass.
"Shhhhhhh," whispered a library worker. "Don't disturb the readers."
"What's on your hat?" a little girl asked.
"My pet doves," RoseAleta said. "Come visit them in the library!"
But after the party, the children still didn't come. "The library is for grownups," they said.
"The children need a place in our library, just for them," RoseAleta told her staff. "We need more books — picture books, mystery books, adventure books! We need tables just the right size. Comfy chairs. Colorful artwork. And computers. Lots of families around here can't afford computers."
"Where will we get the money?" the others asked.
"I'll write letters and ask for donations," said RoseAleta.
RoseAleta wrote plenty of letters to big businesses and important people. But no one sent any money.
"We could have a bake sale," someone suggested.
"We need $20,000, and we won't get it selling cookies," said RoseAleta. "We need the whole town involved. Here's my plan, but I'll need your help."
RoseAleta packed essentials, which included a tent, a bullhorn, a laptop, two cell phones, and a slingshot.
On a Monday morning, the staff stood outside around RoseAleta.
"We'll send you anything you need," they promised.
When people in the street heard where she was going, they had questions. "How will she sleep? What will she eat?" "What I want to know," exclaimed one little boy, "is how she's going to go to the bathroom?"
RoseAleta turned to him without batting an eyelash.
"Librarians are very resourceful people," she replied.
A city official came by. Startled to find the town librarian on the roof, he shouted, "Ms. Laurell, we pay you to be inside the library, not on top of it. What are you doing?" She pulled out her bullhorn and addressed the gathering crowd.
Excerpted from The Librarian on the Roof! by M.G. King, Stephen Gilpin. Copyright © 2010 M. G. King. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
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