Two years ago, a friend called and invited my family to see Justin Roberts with her and her children. I didn't know who he was, but my daughter, who was only three at the time, was familiar with his music (she and her father had watched his music videos on YouTube). "Willy Was a Whale" was a huge favorite.

Two years ago, a friend called and invited my family to see Justin Roberts with her and her children. I didn't know who he was, but my daughter, who was only three at the time, was familiar with his music (she and her father had watched his music videos on YouTube). "Willy Was a Whale" was a huge favorite.

We went to the show, held at a local church, on a hot and sunny afternoon. I expected 50 people at the most. I was tremendously surprised when there were literally hundreds of people jam-packed into the place. The enthusiasm of the kids was matched only by that of the performers. Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players put on quite a show, inspiring kids to dance, clap and sing along throughout. We all had a wonderful time, and I thought he would be a perfect programming fit for the library.

Bringing Justin Roberts to Worthington Libraries was finally made possible through the generosity of the Friends of Worthington Libraries, the library support group that funds all library programs. They will present Justin Roberts in a free concert on Friday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. in the outdoor performance area of Northwest Library, 2280 Hard Road. In the event of rain, the concert will be held at Davis Middle School, 2400 Sutter Parkway (call 807-2626 for information).

As a children's musician, Roberts has been called "on your feet and laugh-out-loud funny" by People magazine and "in a league of his own" by the Chicago Tribune. He's received several awards and his CDs, seven in total, are highly recommended by parenting magazines and Web sites.

He got his start, however, as an indie rocker in the Minneapolis-based band Pimentos for Gus. Although the band was popular, Roberts had to keep his day job teaching at a Montessori preschool. To entertain the children in his care, he made up songs for them. The kids, as you can imagine, loved it.

One year for Christmas, he recorded a series of children's songs and sent them to friends as gifts. One of the people who received the CD was an old college pal and record producer Liam Davis. Davis was so impressed by the songs that he invited Roberts to record his first album, Great Big Sun, which was released in 1998.

Ten years later, Justin Roberts' videos are now in regular rotation on the Noggin network, he's performed for millions of viewers on the Today show and his concerts are regularly attended by hundreds of screaming, adoring fans--just like any rock star.

The Justin Roberts concert is the last in the library's summer concert series and serves as the culminating event for the summer reading programs for children. Families are invited to bring a picnic supper and join us on the library lawn at 6 p.m. for fun and games prior to the start of the show at 7 p.m. Don't miss it.

Lisa Fuller is director of community relations and development at Worthington Libraries.

Lisa Fuller