The Real Librarians of Chelmsford

What is the best way to get to know a librarian?  By getting them to dish about books, of course!  Each month, we will introduce you to one of the librarians of Chelmsford Public Library.  This month, we talked to Melissa McCarthy, our Office Administrator.

You may not see Melissa very often, but the library would not run smoothly without her!  She is the first person you’ll encounter going into the Administrative Offices on the lower level. Besides handling payroll, managing library supplies, and lots of other internal duties, Melissa is also the point person for most general library questions.  When not at work, Melissa likes to play board games, spend time doing outdoor activities (swimming, sledding, walking local trails and sitting by a fire pit roasting marshmallows), and most of all she enjoys going on spontaneous road trips with her family.


We asked Melissa…

What was your first library?

“My first library was the Moses Greeley Parker Memorial Library in Dracut, MA.  I still remember the day that I got my first library card.  I was so excited and could not carry all of the books I wanted to borrow in my hands.  Growing up, we did not have a computer in my home until I was a Junior in High School.  I spent a lot of time doing research at the Library.”

What is on your nightstand right now?

The Art of Happy Moving by Ali Wenzke.”

What book do you like to recommend to patrons?

“The book I like to suggest to patrons is Untamed by Glennon Doyle.  It is an empowering book for women that makes you take a deep look at the choices that you make and analyzes if you make decisions based on what you want for your life or based on the expectations placed upon you as a mother, daughter, spouse, etc.   A major lesson to take away from this book is that a good responsible mother does not neglect their needs and happiness for their children but instead shows them how to live authentically and to do things that make you happy even if it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.”

Who is your favorite character from a book?

“Isabelle Rossignol from Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale.  She is rebellious, strong, and fierce.  The story takes place in France during World War II.  Instead of following orders and staying quiet, Isabelle joins a Resistance Group and helps transport airmen across the Pyrenees mountains into Spain.  This gives them the opportunity to rejoin their military forces and to avoid being captured by the Nazis.  At that point in the book, her codename becomes the Nightingale and Nazi soldiers are desperate to find out who the Nightingale is and capture them.  I love her strong personality and inner strength.”

What is the last book that made you laugh or cry (or both)?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  It is a powerful work of fiction that truly highlights the race disparity in our country.  I enjoy reading books that open my eyes to the world around me and help me to better understand the struggles that other people face.  We all struggle and have difficulties in life and I think it is important to know what makes us different and what makes us all the same.”

Who are your top five favorite authors?

Kristin Hannah

Daniel O’ Malley

Matthew Desmond

Jason Reynolds

Mary Pipher


Where is your favorite place to read?

“It is actually in the staff room at the Library.  Typically, you walk in the room during lunch hours and will find people sitting down and reading.  It is an enjoyable space to read and talk about the latest books you have read.  I get most of my book recommendations during my lunch time – chatting with co-workers and hearing about their favorite books.”

Why do you like working at the library?

“There are so many reasons why I love working at the Chelmsford Public Library.  Almost too many to name but here are a few of the top reasons:  The staff is like a family – somehow there is a beautiful dynamic amongst the people I work with and it really feels like we are a family.  We have so much support from the Town, our community, and the Friends of the Library.  I love attending programs and after-hours events and seeing the glow of amazement on patron’s faces when they see all that the Library offers.  Additionally, I love that inclusiveness and diversity are big priorities and that we work hard to make everyone feel like they are seen and heard at the Library.”