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
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
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
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
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
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
family including both parents, that traveled from Maple Valley
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
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!