December 6, 2010
One woman was determined to change the oldest library in Texas to a great place for kids to learn. OBU alum Miriam Pelletier King tells the true story of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in her children's book, "Librarian on the Roof!" recently published by Albert Whitman & Company.
"Librarian on the Roof!" was chosen by the Texas State Library to represent Texas on the "Great Reads About Great Places" list for the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
In October 2000, from the 50-foot roof of the oldest library in Texas, RoseAleta Laurell brought a diverse town together to achieve something remarkable. "Librarian on the Roof!" is a modern "Little Engine That Could" story about a librarian who wouldn't give up until the generation growing up in her bilingual rural town had a library that served its needs.
When Laurell moved to Lockhart, Texas, to become director of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in 1989, she found a small town on the wrong side of the digital divide. Laurell wrote once, "For many young people, the library serves as their first exposure to books, reading, art and technology."
Braving heights and severe storms, Laurell refused to come down until she received $20,000 in donations to improve the children's section and to bring computers and public internet access into her rural, bilingual community. During her weeklong campout, the local community came together to raise nearly twice that amount.
"When I first heard the story about Lockhart's librarian camping out on the roof for a week, I knew I had to write it," King said.
For young readers, "Librarian on the Roof!" is a fun story about a librarian who defied stereotypes and never gave up. It also teaches about taking challenges across the nation, especially with budget cuts and shortages.
"Miss Laurell's words have resonated with me in a deep way," King said.
King graduated from OBU in 1990 and later returned to school at the University of Texas at Tyler for a bachelor's degree in nursing. King has worked in critical care for several years but now she is a stay-at-home mom and serves as a volunteer for Cub Scouts at her local elementary school, as well as a volunteer at her church.
Albert Whitman & Company Publishing Company exhibits at several national conventions every year, including the International Reading Association, the American Library Association and the Book Expo.
"Librarian on the Roof!" is illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. It can be purchased at Barnes & Noble and at other independent book retailers.
For more information about King, click here.
To learn about Albert Whitman & Company, click here.