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Librarian on the Roof! A True Story Hardcover – September 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From 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
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This is the true story of how librarian RoseAleta Laurell brought the oldest public library in Texas into the twenty-first century. To raise money for a children’s section, she stationed herself on the roof of the library, declaring that she would stay there until enough money was collected. Vibrant cartoon-style illustrations depict RoseAleta’s weeklong vigil on the roof of the stately domed building. Caution: dramatic perspectives depicting the 50-foot drop from the roof are not for acrophobes. An author’s note sets the stage for the telling of this story, but additional details would have been helpful, such as whether RoseAleta’s tent really blew off the roof (as is depicted) and how she managed bathroom issues. Nevertheless, this will work well with groups, whether they are children, legislators, or future librarians. Pair with other works about notable librarians, such as The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq, by Jeanette Winter (2005), or The Storyteller’s Candle, by Lucia Gonzalez (2008). Grades K-3. --Randall Enos

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807545120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807545126
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I became a writer in the third grade, when my best friend started the illustrious Cat Courier and needed reporters to capture feline news around the Southern Indiana neighborhoods where we lived. We sold copies up and down the block for five cents each.

I've held a few jobs since then. I've been a camp counselor, ESL instructor in Japan, and a registered nurse who has worked critical care, transplant, and surgical recovery. The only job I've ever been fired from was my brief stint as a short order breakfast cook -- I've never been able flip fried eggs over easy without breaking the yolks.

Now I live in Texas with my husband and two sons, a Labrador named Bowzer and a cat named Mews, who all keep me laughing. None of them doubt my talents as a short order cook. (It helps that they don't like fried eggs). We spend a lot of time looking for lost keys and homework assignments under the books that clutter our house.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on September 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
RoseAleta Laurell had already built a strong reputation as a mover and shaker during her tenure as library director at Dr. Eugene Clark Library, the oldest public library in Texas. She had overseen a thorough restoration and expansion of the building, brought in more Spanish resources, and pressed for greater public access to library computers.

Ms. Laurell outdid herself, though, in October 2000 when she went on a major fundraising drive by camping out for a week in a tent that she pitched on the library's dome rooftop. She aimed to raise $20,000 to fund the creation of a children's section, but would people respond to such an outrageous stunt?

Based on a true story, young learners will gain an interesting account of the energy and creativity that can go into fundraising efforts, particularly during lean economic times when donors are less willing to open their wallets and pocketbooks. Cartoon-style illustrations and the catchy title will help to draw in readers who otherwise may avoid a book about finances and community activism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen L. Rix on September 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
With its cheerful cartoon-like and colorful illustrations, Stephen Gilpin helps author M.G. King create a little gem of historical writing for children in Librarian On The Roof!

It's about how a small town Texas librarian lives up on the roof of the 100-year-old library for a week, vowing to remain until the community donates $20,000 to upgrade the children's section. Obviously, she gets her way, but not before an unexpected storm nearly knocks her off.

If you've ever been to the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas you will recognize it immediately in the drawings. And if you haven't been to the Barbecue Capitol of Texas, come on down, yall.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laura Edge on September 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Librarian on the Roof tells the true story of RoseAleta Laurell, a feisty librarian in the oldest library in Texas. To raise money for the children's section, RoseAleta spent a week on the library roof. She braved cold, rain, and gusty winds, but refused to come down until the town worked together to meet her fund-raising goal. Whimsical illustrations enhance this delightful story that shows how one person can make a huge difference to a community. Perfect for children of all ages. You won't be able to read it without smiling!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Based on a true story, Librarian on the Roof! follows the adventure of librarian RoseAleta Laurell, who was determined to transform the dusty, outdated children's library of Lockhart, Texas into a place that would appeal to children and show them that reading can be fun. To make changes, she needed money - and to raise money, she decided to spend a week on the library's roof! The colorful, whimsical illustrations bring to life this story of a plucky, megaphone-carrying librarian whose inventive stunt successfully appealed to the hearts and minds of the townspeople. "'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." Librarian on the Roof! is just plain fun to read aloud and share, as well as an inspirational storybook about motivating oneself and others to get great things done. Highly recommended, especially for public library collections!
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By Rebecca M. Douglass on January 12, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I saw this book I just had to have it. RoseAleta Laurell is a librarian after my own heart, and one the Ninja Librarian would be proud to call a colleague! The story is pretty simple, and fully summed up above, and it's as delightful as it sounds. It is non-fiction, but reads like a flight of the author's imagination, and is charmingly told and wonderfully illustrated. I very much enjoyed Stephen Gilpin's illustrations, and thought they complemented the story perfectly.

There is a full page (for the adults) at the beginning which tells the true story of RoseAleta Laurell's efforts to revive the library in Lockhart, Texas in 2000.

Recommendation:
I first recommend this for every librarian I know, because it's just wonderful. But I'll also recommend for anyone, adult or child, who loves books or loves their library.
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By C. G. Davis on November 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I may be a bit biased. I drive past this library everyday. I live and work in Lockhart, TX, but this book tells a great story of perseverance no matter where you're from. It also speaks to the importance of making sure that we continue to support our local libraries.

From a child's standpoint, my son loves this book. He thinks its quite funny. It keeps him entertained and interested.
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This librarian, RoseAleta is a very creative and smart gal - and she is a funny person to have around. I admire her guts to do something like this in order to get moeny for the library. Lockhard is a very lucky and blessed town to have had her help them improve the library like she did. Not only children but adults will enjoy this book. Loved it!
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By Norma on December 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my Library Director for a Christmas gift, as we are building a new Library. We are in need of doing many fundraisers. This book gave her a good laugh and she read the book to the adults present, they thought the book was so appropriate and a good book to read to the story hour children.
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