My time in the service… as a Library Cadet! by Molly Idle

“L-I-B-R-A-R-Y the library

Lots of fun for everyone

So come and say HOORAY for the library!”

There was a catchy little tune that went with that chorus. It was part of a film reel on using the library- and though I’ve Googled and YouTubed it six ways from Sunday- I haven’t been able to find the film I remember so well from my elementary school days.

But, if we ever meet in person, I’ll be happy to sing it for you!

I wasn’t doing much singing in 5th grade though…

My best friend had just moved to another school, I got glasses (big ones)… not being particularly athletic, or popular I was branded….a nerd.

Mind you, now I wear my “nerd badge” with pride! But at the time I was an awkward ten year old busy dodging dodgeballs and gossipy girls. Recess had turned from a time to be enjoyed into a time to be endured.

I sought sanctuary in the library.

Every recess and lunchtime I asked my teacher for a note to hide in… er, visit… the library. And there, sheltered in the stacks, I found solace reading about the adventures of other misfits, like Rat,Walter and Winston Bongo in Daniel Pinkwater’s The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death.


 Or reading about resourceful, outgoing kids like Honey and Trixie, who were always able to set things right in the Trixie Belden Mysteries.

And so I wiled away my time until, Mrs. MacDonald, our librarian- tripped over me for the umpteenth time sitting on the floor in the fiction stacks- and decided to put me to work.

“Here,” she said handing me a few Beverly Clearys, “put these on the shelf for me.”

I shelved them. And then a few more books, and a few more… “How’d you like to be a Library Cadet?” she asked me, “You could help me in the library every day.”

That was all I needed to hear. I enlisted right then and there!

Mrs. MacDonald taught the Library Cadets how to file cards in the card catalog, stamp the library cards in the books with their due dates, and how to set up the film projector and screen to show films about the library (like the one with the catchy chorus I can’t find online). We even got to read aloud to the younger grades at story time. And once she discovered that I liked to draw… she let me make posters to decorate the library too.

Then, she cleverly steered me towards the non-fiction section and introduced me to the Draw 50… series by Lee J. Ames. Draw 50 Cats, Draw 50 Dogs, Draw 50 Dinosaurs…

I drew my way through them all! Those books changed the way I looked at the world. I checked them out over and over and over again. The lessons they offered and the skill that I acquired by practicing them, opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me, and gave me the confidence to venture back out of the library.

My newly-gained 10 year old artistic “prowess”singled me out from the other kids,but this time in a much nicer way than my glasses had.  I went from being a “nerd” to being a “good drawer” a coveted label in many a grade school class.  And it was being a “good drawer” that lead 10 years later to my first job working as artist for DreamWorks… and the work I did there led me back to the library… this time helping to make the books that fill the shelves.

But the truth is, I am both a “nerd” and a “good drawer.” Heck, if I hadn’t been the former, I might never have become the latter. And I’m ok with that. I’m proud of that, thanks to Mrs. MacDonald and my time spent in the service of the library.

Mrs. MacDonald, and librarians everywhere,  this Library Cadet salutes you!

Sing it with me!

 “L-I-B-R-A-R-Y the library

Lots of fun for everyone

So come and say HOORAY for the library!”

Molly IdleMolly Idle has been drawing ever since she could wield a pencil. But while she started scribbling before she could walk, her professional career as an artist began slightly later…

It was upon her graduation from Arizona State University, with a BFA in Drawing, that Molly accepted an offer to work for DreamWorks Feature Animation Studios.  After five years, a number of film credits, and an incredibly good time, she left the studio and leapt with gusto into the world of children’s book illustration!

9781452110066Molly now lives in Arizona with her brilliant husband, two wonderfully mischievous sons, and two snugly cats. When not making mischief with her boys or watching old Technicolor musicals, she can be found at her desk scribbling away, with a pencil in one hand and a cup of espresso in the other- creating a plethora of profoundly whimsical picture books!