You are listening to "Rocking" from "Goodnight, Sleep Tight"

1. Wallingford Library

When I arrived in the parking lot for the first concert, two little boys burst out of a car, their mother behind, explaining that they had come to help me carry things in. We got my poles, containers, guitar, and assorted other gear all settled, and the boys got down on the floor, full of questions, looking for ways to help. The next concerts were the same– the boys met me, and we had lively conversations as I set up. However, they would leave shortly after I started each concert. Their mother explained to me that the boys were easily overwhelmed in large group situations. So they had come up with the idea of having some quieter time with me. Pre-concert time is the most interesting to some children, and I would have missed this if I’d simply arrived my with guitar and started singing!

2. Magnolia Library

This was my first clue that the series was going to be a success. Zane had to move the furniture back a little bit more every week, as we crammed more and more children into a small space. Children here, as at the other branches, quickly figured out where to sit in order to increase their chances of being a helper in the show ( I know, because I would overhear them plotting)!

3. Green Lake Library

The first week, among the audience was a Bellevue family I recognized from my mailing list. Their son attended a daycare in downtown Seattle. The mother told me she copied my newsletter and put it in all of the children’s cubbies. All of the daycare’s families had come to the concert, and they planned to go to a nearby home for brunch afterwards. For the next three concerts, they did the same thing, so the concerts led to brunch and playtime for the children. How wonderful! Libraries really are a community gathering place

4. Henry Library

I couldn’t believe the audiences we packed in here! This was where I learned from an audience mom who attended, that I use the pronoun “he” more than twice as often as “she”. (She had kept an accurate count during the concert ). She tried console me in the error of my ways by sharing that she, too, had once suffered from the same affliction. She suggested I try the solution that had worked for her– the exclusive use of the pronoun “she”. That way, I would be safe from the societal wrong that had been so long perpetuated. I, of course, took her constructive criticism to heart, but couldn’t help but notice she seemed to miss the bigger picture. I am a woman, role-modeling for her children just by being. Ah, language– one can always count on it to cause trouble!

5. North East Library

When I think of North East, I immediately see Gayle rushing around in her no-nonsense manner, doing half a dozen things at one time. My concerts there were at 4PM, so the library was always bursting with patrons of all ages, most busy at serious research work. She would leave me to my setting up, then magically reappear just before the concert with her commanding packing tape dispenser, sweeping it across the floor to create the “audience line”. Then she would give the children their audience instructions, graciously introduce me, and disappear back to the half dozen things she had been doing before I arrived! Whew! What a busy library! Gayle shared with me that after one of my concerts, a little girl went to the puppet area and reenacted the entire concert (she, of course, was me!)

6. Lake City Library

What impressed me about Lake City was how adults (without children) would gather all around the back, peering over the bookshelves, as enthralled as the children. One evening an older gentleman, probably in his seventies, stayed after my Mother Goose concert, and with tears in his eyes, said how the familiar childhood songs brought back so many memories. He then sang me a few Irish rhymes. Music goes straight to the heart, and lives there for a lifetime.

7. Greenwood and Queen Anne Libraries

My favorite memory of Greenwood really began at Queen Anne Library. A family new to my music had come to my first concert at Queen Anne. The mom studied the brochure afterwards, making note of the other three in the series. She realized that the family would be in Mexico for the Bugs concert, and didn’t want to miss it. She then saw that I would be doing the Bugs concert later that same day in Greenwood. I’ll be darned if they didn’t show up a couple of hours later at Greenwood! She ended up coming to several other concerts, and I sang at her daughter Ivy’s birthday party.

8. NewHolly Library

I watched as something very interesting happened here. We generally had young untrained audiences at NewHolly. The first week, a daycare of about a dozen children from Burien and their teachers attended (they learned of the series through my newsletter). As the children from Burien and their teachers participated, I could see all of the other children watching them, and then imitating their behavior. Some of the best teachers of children are other children, and they did a great job! I didn’t get to meet Cass until the last week of the series, since she was in meetings, but Rueben was wonderful, enthusiastic and very helpful. Thanks, Rueben!

9. University Library

We had a wonderful turnout, having to push the chairs back just a little bit farther every week. This was where I first met Audrey and her grandson, Torin, although I had seen them at other branch concerts. More about them later…

10. Queen Anne Library

Lots of strollers, and lots of grandparents at this library! I usually arrived to find Val vacuuming the large downstairs meeting room (do they have classes in housework and furniture moving in librarian school?).

11. High Point Library

Boy, what a little pistol of a library! All of the staff, including Terina, and Dennis, were enthusiastic participants. Apparently there are two daycares whose teachers for some reason don’t get along, so they typically alternate attending programs. Well, they both showed up for one of my concerts, and we had a great time! There wasn’t a single fist fight! Whew!

12. Beacon Hill Library

After one of the concerts a mother with a two-year old came up to me and said with great excitement, “ I can’t believe it! After you finished my daughter asked me if we could check out some books (on bugs)! This is the first time she has ever asked! I’m so excited!” - Does it get any better than that?
Remember Audrey, from University? Well, she and Torin arrived halfway through the concert. She apologized afterwards, and said they had had to take three different busses to get there, and had underestimated the time it would take! I couldn’t believe it– THREE busses!!

13. Fremont Library

Every week a family with both parents, and their two home-schooled children arrived early and stayed afterwards to help clean up. The first three weeks the youngest didn’t say a word. By the fourth week, she was my little buddy, and chatted away. This was just one of the benefits of having a series– being able to get to know children on their own terms.

14. Mobile Services

This series was unique, as I did the same concert at four different childcare centers. As Suzanne escorted me to all of the concerts, we had extra time to visit and at one point were comparing gardening stories. I came home one day to find a small gaura plant on my doorstep, from Suzanne. She had told me it was her favorite, and I had never heard of it. I planted it in my garden, and enjoyed watching it bloom from my kitchen window all summer. Since it’s a perennial, I will continue to enjoy it year after year, and it will always remind me of this concert series.– a fitting reminder of a seed planted that grew!

15. Broadview Library

There was a little four-year-old boy sitting in the front row, singing along with EVERY word of the Bugs concert! He had attended several branch series, had checked out the recording, and knew the songs better than I did! His mother had just had surgery, and this was their first outing since.

16. Columbia Library

Little 2-year-old Shawn Marie and her father attended many of the branch series. They also traveled by bus, and often took two to get there. One of the sweetest memories I have is of Shawn Marie sitting with her father after the Mother Goose concert. She had selected one of the large Rosemary Wells Mother Goose books from my decorated bookshelf, and insisted that her father read it to her, right then and there… all of it! He several time tried to suggest they check it out and read it later, but she insisted. As I packed up, I listened to this patient and gentle father read every word, and discuss every detail of the illustrations with his sweet daughter. Now that is the stuff of a wonderful childhood!
This was where I introduced the Read ‘n Sing Bookshelf. I realized that many SPL libraries didn’t have room to display books for the program. And I thought it would be fun to make the book display a part of the show. The first time I put it up, the books disappeared into little hands before the show even started! The bookshelf has become a regular part of all of my library programs.

17. Douglas-Truth Library

My concerts here started at 10:30, so the library was closed when I arrived to set up. I will always smile remembering Samuel whistling as he walked around the stacks, collecting books for the Read ‘n Sing display. There's something about a library before opening that’s so full of peace and promise. I also remember a family including both parents, that traveled from Maple Valley to attend!

18. West Seattle Library

The first week the branch manager greeted me, as Leslie was unexpectedly away on personal leave. He brought me a bottle of water, and said he’d been given explicit instructions to make sure I got it! I felt like the prim Madonna rock star who insisted that all blue M&Ms’ be removed! The following three weeks the downtown staff filled in, Chance, Betsy, and Kim.
O.K., I have to tell you that the day Chance hosted, his children helped me carry things in and set up. Now you should know that Chance’s son, John, is one of the few children I have never been able to keep for a whole concert. So having this special pre-concert time with him and Olivia, as they chattered and bounced up and down in CONSTANT motion, was so much fun! As I recall, Olivia had to go to the doctor, and John, once again, didn’t make it through the concert! Chance attempted to make me feel better by telling me he was behind the stacks, listening at least. Children like that keep you humble!

19. Ballard Library

This library simply isn’t big enough! We crammed it to overflowing every week. And every week there was this one little boy whose mother always arrived a few songs into the concert. Although we were crammed in like sardines, he somehow always managed to quickly wiggle his way up to the front, and inevitably behind the backdrop– a little Houdini! I always kept one eye in back of me, ready to catch whatever might fall. It kept me on my toes, for sure. Of course, his mother always wandered off to do her own library business, then returned to tell me what a wonderful time he had had!

20. Southwest Library

Again, we packed them in. One preschool group was always there when I arrived, a half hour before the concert. They had come to watch me set up, and had begun calling my backdrop the “blue wall”. “Look, there goes the blue wall.” “What’s going on the blue wall today?” So from that day forward, my backdrop became the blue wall!

21. Montlake Library

The most remarkable thing about this library, was the logistics. I was determined to use my backdrop, which might have taken up a third of the precious audience space. Fortunately, Amy was a willing accomplice, and between her furniture moving and my re-design, we made it work. I removed the stand, and put it up against the stacks, tying it to the bookshelves. If I can do these concerts here, I can do them anywhere!

22. Rainier Beach Library

I was surprised at how many of my KCLS fans showed up at this branch. The children always arrived early, by bus and car and on foot, and Kate had them wait outside the meeting room. Of course there are glass windows and doors all around that meeting room, and I watched their little faces pressed up against the glass, waiting, waiting, waiting, until show time!

23. Temporary Central

What can I say– we had a ball! With 2-3 children’s librarians at every concert, I was in kid-heaven! Since the children’s area has its own room, we could really cut loose. Oh, remember Audrey? Well she showed up for the concert without her grandson. He was busy, and she decided she wasn’t going to miss it .- Of course, she took the bus.

24. Madrona-Sally Goldmark Library

What a way to finish! There had been some speculation that there would be low turnout for the series at this branch. Lesley, who was filling in as a children’s librarian did a wonderful job. She rearranged the furniture to accommodate the audience of nearly a hundred people! We had lots of returning patrons, and lots of new faces as well. One mother who had been faithfully bringing her three children to series all over the city, said “Finally, you are in our neighborhood!”. It was great to go out with a bang!

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