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 Maria Palacio, our new Assistant Director of Outreach Services.

Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Maria lived in Florida for 21 years before moving to the greater Boston area in December 2020. She earned her BA in English from Montclair State University in New Jersey and her MLIS from Florida State University in Tallahassee. Maria enjoys spending time with her husband, two adult sons, and two clingy dogs. She is an avid reader who enjoys trying new foods, cooking plant-based meals, baking treats, traveling, and going for walks.

We asked Maria…

What was your first library?

The first library I can remember is the one at my parochial school in urban northern New Jersey. The one-room school library was run by a retired couple who did their very best with the resources they had. The husband knew I was fond of the Nancy Drew series and saved any “new” copies for me. To this day, I do not know where the books came from as they weren’t brand new.  I imagine past students or parishioners paying it forward made it possible for us to have these books.


What is on your nightstand right now?

Loving Day by Mat Johnson

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

The Lowells of Massachusetts by Nina Sankovitch (I am new to MA and wanted to know more about this family)

Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu




What book do you love to suggest to patrons?

I like to suggest literary fiction titles as that is the genre that I enjoy reading the most.

Who are your top five favorite authors? 

  1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  2. Jillian Cantor
  3. Elizabeth Strout
  4. Isabel Allende
  5. Dani Shapiro

What book should be adapted into a movie, but hasn’t been yet?

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

 What book would you most like to read again for the first time? 

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Last book that made you laugh or cry (or both)?

I would say The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor. I ugly-cried myself to sleep at the end!

Why do you love being a librarian?

I love introducing readers of all ages to something new. I know this might sound cliché, but there is no greater joy for me than to expose someone to a book they might otherwise never have chosen to read.