Most of us are familiar with librarian Nancy Pearl--from her work at the Washington Center for the Book, as the model for the hilarious "librarian action figure" and for her two tremendously successful books--Book Lust and More Book Lust that have caught the interest of the general public as well as those of us in the profession.
Now, dear LISNews readers, you'll get to know Nancy even better in this one-on-one interview with reporter Robin K. Blum, aka birdie.
Read on to learn about Nancy's first serious boyfriend, how she was chosen as the model for the librarian action figure, what she thinks is the most rewarding part of being an author and what she views as librarianship's most significant issues.
A bit of biographical background about Nancy from her Wikipedia listing: Born in 1945, Pearl is a librarian, best-selling author, book reviewer and was, until August 2004, the Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at Seattle Public Library. Her prolific reading and her knowledge of books and literature first made her locally famous in Seattle, Washington, where she regularly appears on public radio recommending books.
Pearl achieved broader fame with Book Lust, her guide to good reading. Pearl's approach to enjoying reading is the Rule of 50 which states "If you still don't like a book after slogging through the first 50 pages, set it aside. If you're more than 50 years old, subtract your age from 100 and only grant it that many pages. "
She founded the pioneering and much-imitated "If All Seattle Read The Same Book" project. She has had her face on American Library Association posters and has received numerous awards. Her book reviews appear in the Seattle Times, Booklist, Library Journal, and on the radio on KUOW Seattle, and KWGS Tulsa, Oklahoma, and most recently, nationally on NPR.
In 2003 she received an unusual honor when the Seattle-based company Accoutrements created a librarian action figure in her likeness to be sold in their Seattle store, Archie McPhee. Featuring Pearl with a stack of books and a finger to her lips, the doll's "push to shush" action was popular with some librarians and dismaying to others who felt that the doll reinforced librarian stereotypes. Pearl herself said that the shushing aspect of the action figure would determine "which librarians have a sense of humor."
"More Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason", the sequel (published in summer of 2005) also received much acclaim ("a sprightly follow-up"), and was chosen by the Today Show as one of their book-club selections.