Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

What I enjoy most about our current reading theme is that it leads me to stories of fabulous librarians I would not have known otherwise. Two weeks back, I shared the story of an intrepid librarian who went up the roof to raise funds for the children’s book section of the library. This week, I am glad to share a tall tale of another fearless librarian named Library Lil.

Library Lil

Written by: Suzanne Williams Illustrated by: Steven Kellogg
Published by: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1997 Literary Award: New Mexico Land of Enchantment Award for Children’s (2000)
ISBN-10: 0140568379 (ISBN13: 9780140568370)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Most people tend to think of librarians as shushing old women with eyeglasses and wearing a bun. This is the first myth that both Suzanne Williams (a real life librarian) and Steven Kellogg wanted to dismantle at the very beginning of the story.

Clearly, they have not yet met Library Lil, who from a very young age, had always loved books (and the outdoors too). In fact, it is her love for books that made her develop those firm muscles, from carrying all those heavy encyclopaedia in one hand, and holding the book that she is reading in the other, as she flips the pages with her teeth.

It came as no surprise that she eventually became the town librarian. However, she did have her work cut out for her. While it is clear as day how much she lived for books, the rest of the townsfolk were too enamoured with television that they couldn’t be bothered to borrow any of the new books she bought for her library, nor any of the children visit her read-aloud sessions.

It was a real conundrum for Library Lil. Then one day, there was a huge storm that knocked down the power lines, leaving the whole town of Chesterville without their usual means of entertainment. Library Lil used that challenging time as an opportunity for her to make people rediscover their love for reading, even if it meant dragging her bookmobile around town.

I love stories like these that show unwavering commitment in the part of librarians – with that deep-seated knowledge of how transformative a book can be to readers, young and old. Why she needed to wield that motorcycle in the book cover, I shall leave for you to discover.

Do you know of other inspiring librarian tales? Do share them with us. Here are a few that we have reviewed over the years.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

1 comment on “[Saturday Reads] A Motorcycle-Wielding Librarian in “Library Lil”

  1. I have such a soft spot for Steven Kellogg’s illustrations. I might have to check this one out.


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