Librarian Susan Roseberry with Rachel at the Lee County Library – Estero Branch

Lilly and Grandma Nellie present the book to preschoolers in Fort Myers

The kids danced with Lilly and Nellie along with the music on the CD

We presented in the afternoon to children ages 6-10 at a Catholic Charity in Fort Myers

We all learned all about peaceful problem solving, reading, Costa Rica and music

I met Susan Roseberry for the first time today, yet I feel as though I have know her my entire life. Susan is an extra special librarian who runs the Bookmobile for the South County Regional Library, part of the Lee County, FL Library System (Fort Myers area). Susan has a heart of gold, extraordinary dedication to her work and more energy than the many of the kids she serves. In addition to her long hours and being a Mom herself, she is going to school to earn a Master’s Degree in Library Science.

Susan has been working in the Lee County Library System for 3 years. Her goal is simple. She strives to get library books to low income and no income kids, many of whom have never owned a book and would never visit a public library otherwise. Many of her young readers are in the foster care system and move from place to place. But they always know when the Bookmobile is on its way, and visiting the moving library is always a special treat.

Susan showed us the photos of the new Bookmobile Vehicle, which was custom-made for her needs. And let me tell you, it is impressive! It holds more than 5,000 titles and is the creme da la creme in moving libraries. “We’ve had the old Bookmobile for more than 17 years now, and it was time for a more efficient one,” Susan explained. Susan drives the huge rig herself (which looks very intimidating to me!) and has a background as a school bus driver. The new vehicle will be delivered any day now.

Susan is one of the lucky ones who has a job that can really make a measurable difference in childrens’ lives. “Every day I tell myself that if I can help just one child to get more interested in reading, then I feel as though I have done what I set out to do,” she said. As an author I can certainly relate to that, since the main reason I wrote and recorded Lilly Badilly was simply to make reading more fun and encourage kid to want to read more. From what I saw today, I can tell you that Susan makes a HUGE difference in many lives every single day.

Running a Mobile Library Unit is not an easy job. Susan drives many miles around Lee County to reach the kids who really need books the most. It is both physically and emotionally exhausting. One of her greatest challenges is getting kids to return the books they check out. Loss is just an unfortunate part of the process. “I try to teach the young readers and their caretakers to be responsible with the books and their library cards, since it is a privilege,” Susan explained. “It is frustrating when the kids show up to check out a book without their cards or fail to return books. But just knowing that we are providing them with reading opportunities – the tools for future success in life, I can deal with those challenges as well as others.”

In addition to running the Bookmobile, Susan creates storytime and craft programs for the kids. That’s why Smart Poode Publishing went to FL’s West Coast today – to present Lilly P Badilly to some of the cutest little people I have ever seen. Rachel and I talked about the book and Lilly’s love of reading, peaceful problem solving, geography, fears and much more. We sang and danced, and I spoke in all my cartoon voices. I can honestly say I have never been with such well behaved kids (ages 3-5) before. We presented to 2 groups of about 30 each in the morning and NO ONE misbehaved. What a pleasure it was!

So please support your local library. It is truly an amazing resource for all Americans and particularly those who cannot afford to buy books.

Click here to learn more about the Lee County Library.

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