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Librarian on the Roof! A True Story

Librarian on the Roof! A True Story

by M. G. King, Stephen Gilpin (Illustrator)

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
This is an amazing and amusing story about the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas and its feisty new librarian RoseAleta Laurell, and it's all true. Laurell tries to wake up the dusty old library with new materials and some humor. But the children don't come. She realizes that they need their own space and materials. To raise the necessary funds, she climbs to the library roof, to stay until money is raised for the children's section. Her time up there is an adventure indeed; her success is a triumph. Cartoon-y characters express skepticism and wonder at Laurell's actions. Drawings of the library and town are crisply colored using photo editing software. A note fills in factual information behind the happy story. Check out the jaunty figures on the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—When RoseAleta Laurell arrived at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, TX, she found a beautiful old building rich in history but short on patrons, particularly children. Attendance improved as she updated the collection, pushed for computers, and addressed the needs of the Spanish-speaking community, but she needed substantial funding if she was going to provide an attractive and appropriate children's section. What does any dedicated librarian do in such a situation? RoseAleta elected to pack a tent and supplies and be hoisted 50 feet up to the library's roof, and to remain there until the town raised enough money for the children. She remained on the roof for one week, braving severe weather at times. When she descended, the town had raised almost $40,000, twice her original goal. King's writing is clear and often witty, and she does a credible job of capturing Laurell's determined and forthright personality, as well as the drama and excitement of this unusual approach to fund-raising. Gilpin's hand-drawn, vibrantly colored cartoon illustrations enliven the story, particularly the spread that depicts the woman being hoisted to dizzying heights. Librarians will enjoy sharing this tribute to one of their own, but so will anyone wanting an inspirational tale of a committed and ingenious professional.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
A laughing new librarian with "eyelashes as long as bird feathers" arrives at the creaky, almost-100-year-old library in Lockhart, Texas, and, to her surprise, the children do not use it because they say it's for grown-ups! Though RoseAleta buys new books and magazines, makes sure the library is buzzing, even leads a Christmas parade through the town square with a sign ("Come to the library!"), the children do not visit. She decides to create a space just for them, but nobody will contribute to the $20,000 required for the new space. "We need more than a bake sale," she says, and without further ado, she decides to camp out on the library's roof until the money is raised. Her meals are delivered via the electric company's bucket, and she even weathers a storm in her little tent, but the town rallies and the money is raised. Energetic, if slickly unsubtle drawings match the text and take advantage of the rooftop perspective with two vertically oriented double-page spreads of RoseAleta ascending and descending. Based on a true story, this will be popular with librarians and their readers. (Picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
AD900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Librarian on the Roof!

A True Story

By M.G. King, Stephen Gilpin


Copyright © 2010 M. G. King
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8075-4512-6


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.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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