Here Lies the Librarian

by Richard Peck

Paperback, 2007



Local notes

PB Pec


Puffin (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 160 pages


Fourteen-year-old Eleanor "Peewee" McGrath, a tomboy and automobile enthusiast, discovers new possibilities for her future after the 1914 arrival in her small Indiana town of four young librarians.


Original publication date


Physical description

160 p.; 7.78 inches


0142409081 / 9780142409084



User reviews

LibraryThing member PatriciaUttaro
Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck - I've been reading Peck since the Blossom Culp days and he always delivers a good story. A Year Down Yonder made me laugh out loud, and so did this one. Of course, you know I picked it up because of the title. After all, how could I resist a book that takes place in a town that had a librarian named Electra Dietz? Although libraries and library science students play a big part in the story, it really all belongs to Eleanor "PeeWee" McGrath, who operates a garage with her big brother Jake. It's the early 20th century and automobiles are just becoming an accepted form of transportation, and women are driving as often as men. Four refined but forward-thinking women arrive one day in a lovely Stoddard-Dayton automobile and promptly have a flat in front of PeeWee's garage. Although she fixes the flat, PeeWee has no idea that these women will turn her world upside down. The story is typical Peck -- lots of laughs, goofy characters, and wonderful language. I was particularly taken with this exchange between Irene Ridpath, the forward-thinking library science student, and PeeWee:

* "Grace, Lodelia, and Geraldine? They'll soon be reporting for duty [in the library]. Presently, they are floating on Lake Maxinkuckee in canoes with beaus."

"Beaus? What are they?"

"Suitors. Gentlemen callers. Fraternity men with ukuleles."

"Oh." I strove to picture this. "Are they spooning?"

"Or reading aloud," Irene said.

If you like Peck, you love this story. He's beginning to remind me of Norman Rockwell -- instead of painting those goofy slices of early American life, Peck writes them.
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LibraryThing member cmartin21
Richard Peck is a masterful author who creates memorable characters who resonate with the reader. This book is yet another example of his ability to craft hilarious situations from the most mundane events.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
It's 1914 in rural Indiana and Eleanor McGrath just wants to be a mechanic like her brother. Unfortunately, her plans are derailed by the arrival in town of four beautiful young ladies who have come to replace the town librarian. Reluctantly, Eleanor (a.k.a. Peewee) begins to learn the things young ladies have to know, although she's still just as likely to change oil or race cars as ever. She's a bit jealous as her brother falls for one of the young ladies, an heiress to an Indianapolis motor car company, and she begins to deal with the changes that are taking place in her life.

I liked this one better than I thought I would, although it turned out to be all about cars and mechanics, races and the competing car shop's plots against the McGrath shop. The subject matter of cars will be a selling point for boys, the tender coming-of-age of Eleanor will be a selling point for girls.
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LibraryThing member bibliophile26
Having loved The Teacher's Funeral, I expected to enjoy this book. Unfortunately, I didn't like it. It is historical fiction, about a tomboy named Peewee who lives with her older brother Jake and whose lives are dramatically affected when a group of young librarians take over the job from the former and now deceased, evil spinster librarian. I guess I disliked it because I'm not at all a tomboy and the plot revolved a lot around cars and racing.… (more)
LibraryThing member dfullmer
This was a fun story set in the early 1900's about a small town just on the dawn of the automobile age. It begins with a gruesome scene, a tornado rips through a graveyard and leaves several of the recently deceased townspeople suspended from trees. A great librarian epitaph "Here lies the librarian, After years of service tried and true, Heaven stamped her overdue."… (more)
LibraryThing member lis2003
I love Richard Peck's young adult novels. Didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as A Long Way from Chicago (which will certainly ALWAYS be my favorite of his novels). This one was cute - loved the small-town setting and the introduction of "cool" librarians. :)
LibraryThing member MrsHillReads
I'm a librarian...of course,I loved this book! Richard Peck is one of my favorite authors and this book didn't disappoint me. I think it is his sense of humor that I really like--he can poke fun at people and not be mean about it. Do I think my students will read it? probably not.
LibraryThing member 59Square
This book was great fun from the first word, and it zooms right along to the last. Peewee McGrath is living with her brother, trying to finish out eighth grade and eke out a living at a ramshackle automobile garage in 1914 when the librarians come. First they come on a driving trip, where their car breaks down. Then they come to interview for the job as librarian at the small town’s library, which barely has enough money to pay them. There is an auto race at the county fair, a hilarious library tea and lots of action. This tends to distract from the historical parts, but it is great. So funny, and the library parts are priceless. Peewee is a girl of her own mind, mostly raised by her older brother. She is not really a typical girl, and in fact, doesn’t want to go to high school. Things are connected seamlessly, including a fight between the McGraths and the larger garage which could have been scary. But it’s quick and just really well written. A definite recommendation. Another funny thing about this book is that Peewee's real name is Eleanor McGrath, and I knew an Eleanor McGrath who was a librarian too. Weird coincidence.… (more)
LibraryThing member tututhefirst
A great funny, easy read. Speaks well of the role of early librarians, and paints a cozy picture of life in the early days of automobiles and the American mid-west.
LibraryThing member bobcatbrarian
While I really enjoyed the text, I was extremely disappointed by the reading. For a book that is supposed to be humorous, the reader was flat and unfunny. It sounded less like a professional recording and more like an unenthusiastic student reading an essay for school. Luckily, Peck's story was enough to keep me listening, although sometimes it was harder to continue than others. I highly recommend picking up a hardcopy of this book as it was quite entertaining. Stay away from the audio, it will be slower going.… (more)
LibraryThing member NarratorLady
Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck. (Listened to audio book)

I haven't had a lot of luck with audio books this week. After listening to only two CDs of The Hunger Games and only one CD of The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, I got desperate for something lighter. I've never been good with dystopian stories and although The Hunger Games is hugely popular, it bored me to death. The Night Watch was so depressing that I didn't want to get back in the car to hear more of it. So I ditched them both and headed for what I thought would be a sure thing: a kid's story by one of my favorite authors.

This book starts out promisingly enough: in 1914 a tornado hits a small Indiana town, opening graves and causing havoc in Beulah Land, the town cemetery. There lies the crotchety librarian Miss Dietz, whose headstone carries the marvelous epitaph:

"After years of service tried and true,
Heaven stamped her overdue."

Shortly afterward, four sorority sisters from the local university motor into town with freshly minted librarian degrees, determined to put the library, and the town, to rights.

The story is told by Eleanor "Peewee" McGrath, a 14-year old who runs a local garage with her big brother Jake. These two are constantly being sabotaged in business by the Kirby family who have a larger garage closer to town. The future hopes for the parentless McGraths hang on the remote possibility that the impoverished town will pave the road leading to their garage.

It's not unreasonable to assume from the title that this story will be about librarians or reading or perhaps the intellectual enlightenment of the young Eleanor. She is dazzled by one of the lovely, wealthy young librarians, Irene Ridpath, who becomes a mentor of sorts. But this book isn't really about libraries at all. It's about cars, specifically the car that Jake and Eleanor are building out of scraps, to drive in what will ultimately be the first Indianapolis 500. And, to her credit, Eleanor learns more about being true to herself than she does about ladylike manners.

Peck is a wonderful writer and I've greatly enjoyed his other books but this one falls a little flat. His humor is intact but many of the characters are cartoonish or bland. Jake doesn't seem to be worthy of the hero worship his sister has for him. An elderly neighbor, a colonel who believes he's still fighting the Civil War, is more familiar than quirky. Inexplicably, we never find out what happens to the plucky Irene. None of this was helped by the narration which was somewhat monotone-ish. Makes me want to pick up Peck's A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago to revisit those hilariously endearing characters.
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LibraryThing member amcguinn
Peewee and Jake McGrath, a brother and sister in a small Indiana town in the 1910's, live a meager existence surviving on the money they make from repairing cars. However, when 4 female students come to town to take the librarian's job, the opportunities for Pewee and Jake drastically improve.

The first few pages of this book did not hook me. However, the more I read, the better it got. I enjoy Peck's humor, especially the part where they find the librarian dead with the library cards in her hands. Also, I think it is interesting that Peck has included adults who kind of save the day for Pewee and Jake. Most of the time it is young adults who are the heroes in such books.

Honors and Awards: None
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LibraryThing member nkmunn
In case you ever wondered why they kick you when you're down this book will remind you. In case you ever wondered how anyone ever picks themselves up again, just read this story ! it is incredibly difficult to describe this outwardly simple book about times that are often described as simpler. The plot, characters and setting are equally well matched in that the historical setting and circumstances and the way the characters behave are all part and parcel of what makes the whole book work. If you loved the movie "rocketeer" this book may be for you, If you ever went to school in a small town where a few kids had everything, but most had next to nothing you'll love this by the bootstraps story where genders and worlds collide somewhere between mainstreet and 30- 50 mph !… (more)
LibraryThing member book58lover
When a book starts out with a torando that tears apart a cemetery and puts body parts in the trees, you can only wonder where it will go from there. Around a race track, is where and by a young 14 year old girl, not her brother. The outlying village is the poor cousin and is populated by characters, as all small towns should be. Into this town rides four Library School students that want to reopen the local library, closed since the former librarian's death. Their value is not so much in opening that library, because in truth it seems that no one in that town wants that to happen, but in encouraging Peewee and her brother to stand up and become the people they would love to be. Peck does an admirable job of packing into this slim volume a lot of action and determination, coupled with some bucks. Enjoyable.… (more)
LibraryThing member rata
a brother (Tom) and his tomboy sister (Peewee) live in a one horse town in the early 1900's. Brother and sister McGrath run a small garage (where horse carts are repaired aand they both love tinkering with motors) that ekes a meagre existence.
Four young ladies (students) arrive in an automobile (cars are just becoming the mode of transport) to take up the position of librarian. Their presence in the small town make a huge, but humourous impact.
I enjoyed this book after i had read it, as i began to only then make links to early automobile history, small communities and the eccentricities of the townspeople within. Relating characters in the book to persons i personally know brought out the humourous aspect of this book. A quick, enjoyable read
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LibraryThing member dukefan86
This story was one of the most charming I've "read" in a while! Loved it! It blows the old sterotypes of librarians out of the water, in a 1914 sort of way. Also really enjoyed watching "Peewee" (Eleanor) grow and grow up in the story. I think I'd give this 5 stars if I'd liked the narrator of this audiobook. At three discs, the narrator's voice was tolerable for the neat story!… (more)
LibraryThing member paakre
Richard Peck loves librarians. Librarians love Richard Peck. I think that he wrote this book to dispel the notion that all librarians are mean, dowdy, and old. That description applies to the old librarian whose grave is shown on the cover (with a gravestone that says Shh!).

A small town in Indiana is shamed into hiring a new librarian, and ends up hiring three -- they come as a package deal with the money that will pay for them. These three librarians are educated, kind, and beautiful, and they drive the latest cars. The year is 1914 and the story is told from the point of view of Peewee whose older brother Jake runs a garage and harbors ambitions of building his own car.

When the three lovely librarians enter, there is romance in the air. One of the librarians helps Peewee learn how to look like a lady and how to drive. As a librarian myself, I was slightly disappointed by the turn in plot which is all about cars. It culminates in a precursor to the Indianapolis 500.

Peck uses his characteristic humor to charm us throughout.
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LibraryThing member KarenNunez
This story is about a young girl and her brother trying to survive and become successful with a business. The young man, Jake had a goal in life. He wanted to own a successful automotive business, and win a race with a car he built himself. The story has an interesting ending,. The writer did a marvelous job keeping my interest and using rural America's setting to give this story feeling,.… (more)
LibraryThing member SuPendleton
I really like Richard Peck but couldn't get interested in this novel. I read about halfway through before having to put it down. I just couldn't connect with the characters.
LibraryThing member mysterymax
The title conveys the idea that the book is a mystery, which it isn't. But what it is - is a delightful 'coming-of-age" story of a 14 yr old girl, Peewee, real name Eleanor McGrath. The time is just about when the US enters WWI. Peewee loves cars and is an excellent mechanic. Peewee learns to be herself. Entertaining, funny and touching.… (more)
LibraryThing member TrgLlyLibrarian
The four young, adventurous Victorian library students are awesome! I wish I got to learn more about them, though; the title indicated that they were the main topic. In reality, cars and racing become a dominant theme.
LibraryThing member MariaMigs
Don't remember much except that I liked it and thought it might be a little creepy for some younger kids although not in a Neil Gaiman sort of way. Meant to be humorous if I remember correctly. Need to revisit and refresh memory
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Not really about librarians - not about death or cemeteries either - more about early automobiles, and a tomboy who is a mechanic and her brother who dreams of doing bigger things with them. Another fun historical juvenile from Peck.
LibraryThing member Salsabrarian
Narrated by Lara Everly. Pee Wee and her brother Jake run an auto repair business in small-town Indiana in the 1910s. Both parents are deceased and PeeWee, well-versed in car mechanics, has never been encouraged to become more ladylike. Then Irene Ridpath and her sorority sisters come to town to staff the previously defunct public library. As PeeWee gets to know Irene and occasionally helps out at the library, she sees she can experience the broader world on her own terms even if she has to start wearing dresses and acting more grown-up. Rather dull narration considering the humor of the book.… (more)
LibraryThing member SmithfieldJones
Found this delightful book misfiled in the adult section of the local Library; actually written for "young adults" although young teens would be more appropriate but this day and age of such overriding fear of "offending" anyone, "young adult" it shall be. Read it anyway--in fact, straight through without taking a deep breath. Wonderfully written. Wished Richard Peck had been writing when I was young--perhaps I'd realized sooner that I could be anything I wanted if I had the skill, brains, and will rather than have my choices rather limited to teacher (a truly wonderful profession not truly appreciated), or housewife and mother (also wonderful professions little appreciated). However, generations of women having their choices so limited--now that was truly sad. Some escaped but many of us? That's another story.… (more)




(206 ratings; 3.6)
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