Famous librarian visits Whatcom

By Monique Everett

Nancy Pearl, a well-known icon in the literary world, was featured at Whatcom Thursday, Sept. 21, where she discussed her debut novel, “George & Lizzie.”

The audience was composed of book lovers, writers, musicians, and fans of the Chuckanut Radio Hour, a variety radio show broadcast on KMRE, 102.3 FM.

Partnered with Whatcom, the Chuckanut Radio Hour is produced around 10 times a year, and is recorded in the Heiner Theatre.

“Nancy Pearl is the most famous librarian in America,” Robert Lopresti said, a librarian at Western Washington University who performed a humorous original song called, “Reference Librarian.”

Pearl has come out with 10 books, the first novel she wrote was “George & Lizzie.”

She frequently reviews books for NPR’s Morning Edition, and has received numerous awards for her work in the literary world.

In 2011 Pearl was awarded Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year, and is pictured on an American Library Association poster.

 “Nancy makes reading sound fun,” Amory Peck said, a library trustee, and audience member.

Opening with a comedic retelling of how “George & Lizzie” began, Pearl described tales of foot surgery, pain meds, and the chain of events leading up to the spark of her novel.

“These two characters came into my head,” Pearl said. “I’ve just thought about them all the time. It was like uncovering little bits about them, and every day I learned more.”

Born in Detroit, Pearl later attended the University of Michigan where she earned her master’s in library science.

She described her writing development as starting with poetry, evolving into prose, and eventually leading to short stories.

 “Librarians are important,” Lopresti said. “They provide a link between people and information. Cultivating an interest in reading opens the world of ideas.”

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