[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Picturebook Biography of an Intrepid Visionary Librarian Who Camped Out On A Roof

nfwed

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

As we celebrate all things books, how can we possibly not share stories about intrepid, fierce librarians with eyelashes as long as bird feathers? RoseAleta Laurel just happens to be one of them.


Librarian On The Roof! A True Story

Written by: M. G. King Illustrated by: Stephen Gilpin
Published by: Albert Whitman & Company, 2010
ISBN-10: 0807545120 (ISBN13: 9780807545126)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I chanced upon this book in our library shelves as I was hunting down for picturebooks that will fit our reading theme. It was truly such a pleasure getting to know this daring, stylish, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer librarian who became the Head of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas in 1989.

The Foreword indicated that the building is a known cultural center and has been in existence since 1899. However, it clearly needed to be refurbished, repaired, and remodeled to fit the needs of the evolving and growing community.

Add the fact that the children are missing from the library because they felt that it is a space meant only for adults. After requesting for funding from numerous donors and receiving no response, RoseAleta took matters in her own hands and camped out on the roof until she raised enough money to set up the children’s area of the library and to purchase computers and new books.

At first, I was conflicted about the illustrations of the book, as I initially found it too cartoonish. And then it grew on me. I especially loved these pages that need to be flipped sideways (portrait, rather than landscape) for the reader to truly feel that sense of climbing up, up, up on the roof. Things became a bit suspenseful with heavy rains and tornado warnings testing this librarian’s resolve. Whether or not RoseAleta raised the funds she needed, I shall leave for you to discover. I also found this youtube link that shows the entire news coverage of RoseAleta’s camping up on the roof to raise money for her library.

Clearly, she is a gutsy visionary who is determined to get things done – everything that a great librarian should be. For more inspiring librarian stories, do check out a few of the books we have reviewed over the years. Put your cursor over the book covers to find the links to our reviews.

  1. It’s a new story to me, Myra. What a gutsy librarian, but aren’t’ most of them willing to take good care of their libraries? Thanks!

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  2. This was a fun book. I love books about libraries.

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  3. Myra, this woman became the librarian in Portland, TX where I was living. I did not know about this adventurous woman and found the book on the library’s shelves. I was looking for a book to review and then I found that I knew this woman, said “hi” to here most days I came in. So I had fun reviewing this book too. GREAT!

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