Title & Author : Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics – Chris Grabenstein
Genre: J Fiction
Publisher: Audio Book via Audible.com
Book Challenge Category: A book published this year
Description: Welcome, boys and girls, readers of all ages, to the first-ever Library Olympiad! Kyle and his teammates are back, and the world-famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, is at it again! This time Mr. Lemoncello has invited teams from all across America to compete in the first ever LIBRARY OLYMPICS. Will it be fun? Like the commercials say. . . HELLO? It’s a Lemoncello! But something suspicious is going on . . . books are missing from Mr. Lemoncello’s library. Is someone trying to CENSOR what the kids are reading?! In between figuring out mind-boggling challenges, the kids will have to band together to get to the bottom of this mystery. Now it’s not just a game—can Mr. Lemoncello find the real defenders of books and champions of libraries?
Review: As a librarian, I love authors who decide to use libraries as settings in their books. But just like a nurse who watches Grey’s Anatomy or a detective who reads James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels, it’s almost as much fun to pick out the plot points that would NEVER actually happen. I thought that Chris Grabenstein’s first library-themed book, The Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, set the bar for fantastic (and entertaining!)things that would never happen in a library, but he out did himself with the Library Olympics! I’m not talking about the hoover ladders that allow you to float 25ft above the ground, (don’t they sound awesome?!), but instead the organizational structure that governs how libraries operate. The depiction of an angry library board intent on taking away control and removing all books about squirrels makes for a great literary villain, but it isn’t a true reflection of how important and supportive library boards are for libraries. In the author’s defense, I wasn’t exactly his intended audience and since most young readers don’t even realize that libraries have boards, I’ll give him points for raising awareness!
What I loved in this book, and what is absolutely true to UDPL and most other public libraries, is the attention Grabenstein pays to the role of libraries as more than just book depositories. Just like Lemoncello’s Library, UDPL provides users with new technology, video games, and space to meet and talk. We don’t have holograms of Leonardo da Vinci, but we can help you print a da Vinci glider on the 3D printer! We don’t have the latest Lemoncello virtual reality game system, but we do have WiiU games you can take home with you! And even though we don’t have a sunlit atrium with tables for students to work on projects, but we do have lab tables in the STEAM lab that will fit every member of the group. Half of my job title is Head of Emerging Technologies and it makes me proud to see that someone is extolling the importance of public library evolution!
Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics is a quick read that’s a lot of fun and while it doesn’t exactly get everything about libraries right, it doesn’t get it totally wrong, either!