Meet Your Librarian: Melissa McCleary

Pembroke Public Library - Pembroke, MA

By Laurie Corbett, Publisher, Macaroni Kid South Shore Boston January 24, 2018

Our Meet Your Librarian series is back this week and we're are headed to the southern part of our coverage area to introduce you to the Youth Services Librarian at Pembroke Public Library Miss Melissa (McCleary). At Macaroni Kid we LOVE our local libraries! They provide a free place for families to connect, learn and play right within our community. They are warm, inviting, and full of life thanks largely to our fabulous children's librarians. So, without further ado here's a little more about one of the people who keep the children's departments at our local libraries humming in her own words.

What inspired/encouraged you to become a librarian? Is there one specific moment when you knew this was what you wanted to do? 

I’ve always been drawn to libraries and the paradoxes they present: a place for quiet solace or a noisy community event, a place to learn or to teach, and a place where you can travel anywhere just by opening a book. I did not consider librarianship as a career until high school when I was researching colleges and majors, trying desperately to discover something that would make me happy while also bringing those around me joy. It finally occurred to me that every time I went to research a new path for my future, my first thought was the library and our wonderful high school librarian. After making the decision to pursue my passion the rest fell into place! I’ve been very fortunate in my life as I get to do something I love every single day.

How did your childhood experience with books or libraries affect becoming a librarian? 

Many children pretend play at a variety of occupations; my sister and I were no exception. We became everything from Hogwarts professors to chefs to pop stars but one of my favorite scenarios to imagine was always a librarian. Our living room became a giant library and we would pile books in the center of the room and discuss the logistics of fine payments and storytimes while allowing our friends to borrow books from our collection. Overall, this was just one of many great experiences that stands out. Our family made frequent trips to the library and, when I was old enough, I walked by myself to eventually read almost every Goosebumps book in existence. My reading chair was often occupied as I sprawled out to think and imagine with my latest adventure; reading is an exciting activity even when it looks like you’re sitting still. The beauty of books is that I can still experience their magic today.

What was your favorite book as a child?

When I was a very small child, my favorite book to select for bedtimes was Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg. As a young reader I devoured anything that came in a series such as A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, and (of course) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

What is your favorite children's book, or series, now?

I get this question all the time and I never had a ready answer! The book I’ve most been looking forward to in 2017 was Soman Chainani’s Quest For Camelot from the School for Good and Evil series; Chainani’s books are a great mixture of fun and philosophy that is accessible to a wide range of ages. My favorite picture book from this year is Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds; the kids love how scared I act whenever the underwear appears in the story! Finally, because I also read plenty of YA to keep up with my teens, my 2017 favorite in this category is Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds; fast-paced does not even begin to describe this novel about revenge and decisions.

Do you have a favorite children's author and why?

Rick Riordan is my favorite author as a librarian. His writing reaches many different readers and each addition to his world showcases the diversity of characters and their fantastic strengths, all expressed with a strong plot, witty writing, and a clever inclusion of mythology.

What is your favorite program at the Pembroke Public Library?

My favorite program is our LEGO Club. This is an opportunity for all ages to gather for an hour and build a secret challenge. The creativity and cooperation I see every month in our Craft Room makes me smile wide!

What is the one program you would love to start if you had the resources for it?

I would love to expand our after-school workshops and clubs! For teens, this would include a variety of programs focusing on skill building such as baking or coding. For kids, I would focus on more STEM workshops to increase interest in these incredible fields.

Is there anything else we should know about you or the Pembroke Public Library?

Did you know our staff love questions? We do! Every time a patron approaches with a question about a book, research paper, or computer problem, I get excited because that means we’re doing our job! We want the community to know we’re here to help.

Meet the Other South Shore Children's Librarians

Erin Puleio - Rockland Memorial Library

Ann Lattinville - Scituate Town Library

Monica Brennan - Ventress Memorial Library

Macaroni Kid South Shore Boston is a free weekly newsletter and website focused on fun family events and information in 13 towns on Boston's South Shore. We gather together all kinds of local family events and activities each week and add useful information about classes, family-focused businesses, book and product reviews, recipes, crafts, school and camp guides and more. We proudly serve families in Hanover, Norwell, Hingham, Cohasset, Scituate, Hull, Marshfield, Duxbury, Pembroke, Whitman, Hanson, Rockland, and Abington!

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