Summary-Here Lies the Librarian
In this novel, a young tom-boy, Eleanor, is taken under the wing of the fancy college educated librarians in training. They encourage her to be a lady, but they also encourage her to be outstanding. My favorite quote from the book says, "Who'd want to be in the pit crew when you can be in the race!" Eleanor takes her brother's place in the driving race of their town's stock race...and she win's. This historical fiction novel is humorous and loosely based on real people and events. There was a Jack McGraw that raced cars and there were daughters of rich car company owners, but the rest of the details are hard to pin down. Richard Peck did a great job pulling in the reader, nonetheless.
It was humorous and not hard to read, by any means! The story is appealing two-fold: it's about growing a library and library appreciation (YAY!) and it's about driving fast! I think this book would appeal to female readers more than male readers, but since it is about racing cars, it still might appeal to boys. The setting is clear and you really feel for Eleanor since she only has her brother as family. The Library Ladies are like fairy godmothers to Eleanor and they help her become a lady but still have spirit. This is just a fun book!
“Who’d want to be in the pit crew when you could be in the race?” asks Irene Ridpath, the new librarian at14-year-old Eleanor McGrath’s school. It’s 1914 in the unincorporated Hazelrigg Settlement in Hendricks County, Ind., and feisty Irene and three other Library Science students from Butler University have come to town to fill the vacancy left when the elderly former librarian Electra Dietz died, heaven having stamped her OVERDUE. The young ladies plan to expand the 225-book collection, add shelving, a Photostat machine, lighting and subscriptions to all major magazines. And if the library is remade, so is Eleanor, transformed, with Irene’s help, from grease monkey to young woman with a sense of herself in the world, who wins the first ten-mile stock car race in Hendricks County history. As always, Peck writes with humor and affection about times past, elders and growing up strong. This ode to librarians is a fine companion to Peck’s ode to schoolteachers, The Teacher’s Funeral (2004). (Fiction. 10+)
This would be a really great book to use when celebrating and educating students about Women's History Month in March. Since the ladies in the story all play roles in society that are ground breaking, their example of strong women would be good for showing students that it is alright to be different. It would also be a great book to use when highlighting School Library Month in April. The changing importance in the town library is a key element that can be discussed with students.
Peck, R. (2006). Here Lies the Librarian. New York: Dial.
Unknown. (2006, March 1). Here Lies the Librarian Review. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from Kirkus Reviews: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/childrens-books/richard-peck/here-lies-the-librarian/?spdy=2006