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February 24, 2018

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Library News Release

Release Date: 06/09/2004

Nancy Pearl announces retirement

Nancy Pearl

The Seattle Public Library's Nancy Pearl, model for a "Librarian Action Figure," author of best-seller "Book Lust," and creator of the internationally recognized program, "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book," will retire in August.

Pearl has been executive director of the Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library since 1993. The Washington Center for the Book is a state affiliate of the national Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

As the center's executive director, Pearl has been an enthusiastic promoter of books and reading throughout the state. She gives frequent book talks, solicits grants for literary programming, and gives weekly book reviews on KUOW 94.9 FM. In addition, has been a key spokesperson on intellectual freedom issues. Over the last two years, she also has managed youth services at the Library.

In announcing her retirement to Library staff, Pearl said she will turn 60 in January and wanted to spend more time with her family. Her children live on the east coast and one of her daughters is expecting a child in August. Pearl also is busy writing a sequel to her new book.

"My husband and I have no plans to leave Seattle, a city that has been extraordinarily kind and supportive of my work," she said. "I expect to spend a lot of time in the Writer's Room at the new Central Library to work on 'Book Lust II: The Morning After.' I am looking forward to having lots of time to speak to groups, read even more, and write.

"My heart is with The Seattle Public Library and the Center for the Book, and I will continue to do everything in my power to support the joy of reading in our community."

During her tenure, the Washington Center for the Book received two major grants from the Wallace Foundation, a major challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for an endowment for humanities programming, and other grants to support the ongoing programs begun in the 1990s, including the McClellan/O'Donnell Living History Series, the A. Scott Bullitt Lecture in American History series, the Washington State Book Awards, Reading Across the Map and If All Seattle Read the Same Book.

If All Seattle Read the Same Book has now been adapted to almost 200 communities across the world, from Boone, N.C. to Omaha, Neb., from Perth, Australia to Toronto, Canada.

With the success of Pearl's recent book, "Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason" (Sasquatch, 2003), she is now under contract to write a sequel, which is due to the publisher in January 2005. She is also the model for the Librarian Action Figure, sold throughout the world by Accoutements, Inc., a Seattle- area company.

She reviews books regularly on KUOW, the Seattle affiliate of National Public Radio, as well as on Wisconsin and Tulsa public radio stations. Among her many honors and awards

  • 2004 Brava Award from Women's University Club in Seattle, recognizing "women of exceptional ability in the greater Seattle area";
  • 2004 Louis Shores Greenwood Publishing Group Award for excellence in the reviewing of books and other materials for libraries;
  • 2004 Media and Communications Award from the Ontario, Canada, Library Association;
  • 2003 Humanities Washington Award, "which recognizes an individual or organization whose time and talents enlarge the meaning of the humanities in our lives and whose work reflects the spirit and programs of Humanities Washington";
  • 2001 Public Library Association's Allie Beth Martin Award, which "recognizes a public librarian demonstrating a range and depth of knowledge about books and other library materials and the distinguished ability to share that knowledge";
  • 1998 Totem Business and Professional Women's "Woman of Achievement Award"
  • 1998 Library Journal Fiction Reviewer of the Year; and
  • 1997 Open Book Award from the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference.


She is also the author of "Now Read This: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction, 1970-1998" and "Now Read This II: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction, 1990-2001," both published by Libraries Unlimited.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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