Shush! Superstar librarian Nancy Pearl is getting ready to speak.
The famed librarian with her own action figure joined the Seattle Public Library in 1993 and is the former executive director of the library’s Washington Center for the Book.
Since 1998, Pearl has regaled Friends of the Langley Library with a witty talk and book list. She returns at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, this time in virtual form because of coronavirus precautions. Please register in advance for this Zoom webinar event. The Zoom link will be posted on the registration page the morning of Pearl’s book talk.
Getting Pearl back for Langley’s enjoyment was a no-brainer, other than figuring out the logistics of a remote talk, Langley Library Manager Vicky Welfare said.
“The Friends of the Langley Library first welcomed Nancy to speak at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in 1998, the same year I became the library manager,” Welfare said. “Since then, it has become an annual tradition for Nancy to come back to Langley.”
“Was it 1998?” Pearl said. “I always enjoy coming because there are so many good readers there. Plus, I love seeing friends old and new there.”
Every year, Pearl presents her list of recommended reads for the year.
“They might be current hot titles, old favorites, or books that she feels deserved more attention than they may have originally seen when first published,” Welfare said.
Pearl’s past book talks regularly sold out the 246 seats at WICA, Welfare said.
“Nancy would share her list of recommended reads for the year and then take questions and commentary from the audience, then meet with everyone in the lobby and autograph her latest book,” Welfare said.
It will be much different this time out of social-distancing necessity for coronavirus.
“I haven’t done any in-person talks since March, and I really miss it,” Pearl said.
Even though Pearl won’t cross the water to enthrall a WICA audience, the Zoom webinar means up to 3,000 of her fans can attend and watch Pearl talk books from the comfort of “the room we call the office, pretty much surrounded by my books,” she said.
Audience members will be able to ask questions in the webinar chat, which will be directed to Pearl after she reads her book list.
A Zoom webinar may not be as intimate and personal as WICA where she could mingle with the audience, but it can accommodate more than 10 times the number of guests. For Pearl, that might be a mixed blessing.
“Doing everything via Zoom or Crowdcast, or whatever platform is used, makes it harder to do the talk because I can’t see the audience respond, which is always the best part of every book talk,” Pearl said. “I’ll be doing the same thing, though, talking about books that I’ve loved.”
Welfare and the Friends of the Langley Library are still very excited about the event. On a scale of 1-10, Welfare is an emphatic 10.
“We always look forward to Nancy’s wise and witty book commentaries,” Welfare said.
“We all look forward to Nancy’s annual talk,” said Alan Whitman, co-president of the Friends of the Langley Library. “Her warmth, humor and intellect turn a simple book list into a delight.”
Friends of the Langley Library Co-President Jill Edwards concurred.
“Thanks to everyone for their work on this,” Edwards said. “I’m so glad we don't have to break our Nancy Pearl streak!”
Pearl’s talk is sponsored by Friends of the Langley Library, with additional support from Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, The Inn at Langley and The Star Store.