Meet Your Librarian: Nancy Perry

By Laurie Corbett, Publisher, Macaroni Kid South Shore Boston June 13, 2018

This week in our Meet Your Librarian series we headed to a library in the woods. Set among trees in an almost fairytale-like setting you will find Ms. Nancy the Children’s Librarian at Norwell Public Library. 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.

Want to meet other local children's librarians? Check out our South Shore Children's Librarians Guide HERE.

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

Sometimes when I’m asked this question, I have to wonder why my early experiences and interests didn’t clue me in sooner that librarianship was my cup of tea.  For instance, the time I scooped up piles of scores off the floor of my high school band director’s office and organized them into a music library.  Or the summertime “preschool” I set up and ran for the tots in my neighborhood when I was twelve.  Or simply knowing that I’ve always loved being in a library.  

For whatever reasons, I came late to the field, in my forties, following years of work in public relations while raising my two sons.  When I decided I needed a change of pace, I went about the process rather methodically (as librarians are wont to do), homing in on librarianship through a process of elimination of other occupations.  The “aha” moment for me came on my first day of work at the Hingham Public Library, where I’d been hired as a circulation assistant; I immediately felt a connection with the children’s room and all that was happening there.  I knew right then that there was a place where the quirky set of skills I’d accumulated over a lifetime had the perfect outlet … and so I applied myself to graduate school and became a children’s librarian.  

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

I credit two people-- my mother, who raised me on nursery rhymes and stories she read to me every night, and a neighborhood friend who handed me books when she was finished with them-- for inspiring my love of reading.  My mother exposed me to the classics and Newbery winners like Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, by Rachel Field, while my friend introduced me to fantastical places like Narnia and characters who moved me deeply or tickled my funny bone, like Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web and the golden ticket winners in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  

I rediscovered the joy of sharing books and reading with my own two sons, who are now all grown up and readers themselves, and feel privileged every day to offer guidance to our young patrons as they embark upon their own reading adventures.

What was your favorite book as a child?

When I was really small it was Nurse Nancy--- for obvious reasons, but also because it came with Band-Aids affixed in the back! Then it was One Morning in Maine, when I lost my first tooth and could identify with the author’s daughter Sal who had lost hers. Charlotte’s Web and Misty of Chincoteague (probably a bigger hit in Virginia where I grew up than it was here) came next.  And Nancy Drew mysteries, of course!

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

That’s a tough one, as there are so many!  One delightful series I love is The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall, for the relatable characters, realistic storytelling, and Massachusetts/New England settings.  The last book in the series, The Penderwicks at Last, has just been released—I can’t wait to read it!  I’ve also enjoyed The Wild Robot books by Peter Brown.  Stand-alone novels I’ve liked most recently include Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen, by Candace Fleming, and Walking with Miss Millie, by Tamara Bundy – both of these are historical fiction, my favorite genre.
But my all-time favorite is Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White.

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

The short answer is E. B. White, because he wrote the absolutely pitch-perfect Charlotte’s Web.

But depending on my mood, I may like Kate DiCamillo one day (Mercy Watson; Because of Winn Dixie; Raymie Nightingale) and Katherine Applegate (The One and Only Ivan; Wishtree) the next.

My favorite children’s authors can be like comfort food; their words touch our hearts, make us think deeply or laugh out loud, maybe inspire us to action or reflection---  Jennifer Holm, Jacqueline Woodson, Katherine Rundell, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Lauren Wolk are some who fall into this category.
Picture book authors/illustrators also inspire me.  I’m a fan of Virginia Lee Burton’s work (Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel; The Little House).  Mo Willems has motivated a new generation of children (and adults!) to read, through his brilliant and seemingly simple Knuffle Bunny and Pigeon books and his Elephant & Piggie series; I am in awe of his talent as a writer and illustrator.  Oliver Jeffers’ work is amazing; Ryan T. Higgins’ Mother Bruce books are hilarious!

I also admire the work of narrative nonfiction writers and biographers, such as Shana Corey, Steve Sheinkin, and Tanya Lee Stone.  These authors write fluidly and compellingly about complex subjects, making them accessible to young readers who enjoy reading non-fiction.

What is your favorite program at the Norwell Public Library?

I’d have to say “Books & Bubbles,” which is a non-stop 20 minutes of nursery rhymes, song, and bounces for the littlest ones and their caregivers.  Who can resist babies, toddlers, and books?  

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

I would consider offering any program if there was demand for it, at a time that worked for peoples’ already jam-packed schedules.  Cooking programs are always popular but they are expensive to offer, so that would be on my “pie in the sky” wish list (pun intended)!

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

If you come to the Norwell Public Library, you will find a friendly staff eager to help you find what you’re looking for, and maybe inspire you to try something new!  You’ll find a well-curated children’s collection of quality materials that are continuously updated and showcased—check out our monthly themed bulletin board and displays, and take home books on topics you might not have considered otherwise.

In about two years, you’ll be able to visit us in a new state-of-the-art building, on the same wooded lot where our “library in the woods” currently is located.  We’ll be moving temporarily, from spring to early summer of 2019-2020, with a grand opening targeted for mid-to-late summer 2020. Find up-to-date information on this exciting project at

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