Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Try to imagine a futuristic library designed and bankrolled by a
slightly eccentric gazillionaire game creator. There are a dome that
can be converted into scenes like outer space, 3-D holographic
projection statues, moving ladder contraptions that move patrons to
the shelves their books are located on when they type in the numbers,
an electronic learning center, and so much more. The benefactor is
not a game creator for nothing. The library will become the venue for
real life middle school competition. That is the delightful premise
behind Chris Grabenstein's Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library and
Mr. Lemencello's Library Olympics.
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library starts with an essay
contest. The library has just been completed under great secrecy.
There will be a library lock-in where the twelve twelve-year-old
winners will spend the night there before anyone else gets to set foot
in it. There will be games and prizes. One of them is the chance to
star in television commercials for the very popular Lemoncello games.
What the contestants don't know is that one game will test their
ability to get out of the building.
In the equally enchanting sequel it turns out that middle
schoolers from other parts of the country are seeing red. They could
have won the competition if only they'd had a chance. To squelch
accusations of no fairness, an Olympics competition is designed.
Seven regional teams are brought in to compete against the reigning
There are, however, games going on that aren't seen on the
agenda. Some people who think libraries should be a lot more subdued
and traditional are seeking to sabotage the Olympics. Their goal is
to get Mr. Lemoncello out of the picture and bring the library back to
the 1950s, complete with shushing librarians.
Either book (preferably both) would make a wonderful summer time
On a personal note, recently when I was shelf reading in the
children's room a patron apologized to me for the "mess" a group of
children (including hers) had made. I explained that the kidlets had
given us (staff and volunteers) the ultimate compliment. We had made
the place enticing and welcoming. If everything stayed in place we'd
A great big shout out goes out to all people who truly know how to
occupy a library.
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