Librarian on the Roof! A True Story

This post is dedicated to all the hard-working librarians.
This review is a few days early since the on-line book fundraiser, that I listed in the Activities section, ends this Sunday Oct 14th. Please go check out the post, and if you can donate a book or spread the word. Thanks!

Title: Librarian on the Roof! A True Story

Authors: M.G. King (interview at Miss Marple’s Musings)
Illustrator: Stephen Gilpin

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, 2010
Book Type: Non-Fiction
Ages: 6-8
Themes: Activism, Library

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

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.


Additional Info:

  • The Austin Chronicle newspaper article.
  • Local news video clips of the fundraising event. Video1 Video2

Make a Difference:

  • Opportunity to help out the library at Ballou Sr Highschool in Washington D.C. Please read this post at Guys Lit Wire blog site.  This is the third year they are running an online book fair to help stock the shelves of the Ballou library. The book fair ends this Sunday, October 14th. Excerpt from the post:

“When we began with Ballou in 2011 there were just over 1,500 books in the library, or 1.25 for each of the nearly 1,200 students. Now, they have 5,484 which means we are about a third of the way to our goal of meeting the ALA standard of eleven books for each student.”

  • Donate books to your local library!
  • Check out this awesome post from Playing by the Book – Worldwide List of Reading/Literacy Charities 2012.

Why I Like This Book:

An inspiring story of one woman’s vision and sheer determination to make people take notice of the importance of libraries for the youth. The book does a wonderful job of capturing RoseAleta’s passion and gum-shin, she clearly doesn’t take no for an answer. The story reads likes a tall-tale which is what makes it even more unbelievable to know that everything is true: tent on top of the roof, boombox and mic, storm, fundraising by the community. It is true there were mixed feelings by the community about here being up on that roof, but thankfully there were more supporters than naysayers as they were able to raise double their original goal.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.


21 Comments to “Librarian on the Roof! A True Story”

  1. Looks like a neat story. I like how they turn true stories into pb’s! Thanks, Darshana!

  2. I don’t know how I missed this on Joanna’s blog – or maybe I just don’t remember! – but what a wonderful woman and great-sounding book. i love this story. And I’m so glad we’ll be able to add it to PPB – so inspiring! Thanks, Darshana!

    • Thanks. I actually didn’t even know Joanna had a related post until I was searching for links. It was a great interview that she did with M.G. King.

  3. Sounds like a fantastic book. Thanks for sharing it, Darshana.

  4. This book tells a fascinating story — I have heard so many good things about the book, and yet I *still* haven’t read it! I must read it. Soon.

  5. I think this is a wonderful book! I first saw it on Joanna’s blog with the author interview. But, I still haven’t read the book. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I read this one last year sometime and loved it — though it’s sad when people have to resort to this to fund their libraries! Great review, Darshana.

    • Unfortunately it is the reality of today. What made me more sad is that all the press-coverage (news articles, video clips) had the headline of “The Looney Librarian”. Thankfully RoseAleta stuck to her guns and did what she knew was best for her community. I found it interesting that she didn’t have any sort of outdoor survival skills and that she was sort of winging it, that part seemed a little crazy to me.

  7. This looks amazing! Glad that Looney Librarian was brave enough to move forward in spite of what people were saying about her. What a great story. Thanks so much for sharing, Darshana!

  8. I love the sounds of this book! I’m going to pass the link along to our school librarian. Thanks!

  9. I love stories about women with a vision! Making history and news come alive in books is an art. This sounds like a winner, Darshana.

  10. Like Jarm I love stories that are based on history and women with a passion. Great choice Darshana!

  11. I love books about librarians! Love that the librarian on the roof is wearing a hard hat and also that is based on a true story!

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