The September meeting is always something to look forward to as we meet the new year’s Helfeld Fellows. But this year we had a special mystery guest – Nancy Pino! It doesn’t take long for anyone involved with ACL to hear this name and to figure out that she has something to do with pulling all our reviews together into each month’s issue of BayViews. But despite rumors that she had been sighted at some long-ago Institutes, even old-timers like me had never met her. So I decided that my last official act as President would be to invite her to the September reception – and she jumped at the chance to match our faces with the names on the reviews that pass through her hands month after month. What a job she does – from picking up the actual reviews each month to incorporating the hand-written revisions from the copy editors, proofing the first draft, working with the proofreader to correct any additional errors, adding in Penny Peck’s BayNews material, delivering e-files to various people, arranging for printed copies and then labeling and mailing off those printed copies to various subscribers. Nancy is ACL’s one real employee, and it has been a privilege for us all to have someone so responsible, dedicated, and willing-to-work-through-changes as Nancy.
When I asked her how she actually came to ACL originally, she credited Virginia Reed with recommending her to the group, and Bob Muller, then President, with interviewing her and offering her the job. As she recalls, Bob drove from South San Francisco to her Oakland home, and her then-three-year-old son kept them company as they discussed the job. Soon after Bob left, Nancy’s son began inquiring anxiously where “that man” had gone. When Nancy explained that he would not be coming back, her son burst into tears, “I hid your car keys on his car.” Indeed, there were no keys to be found in or around the house, and Nancy was soon on the phone with Bob. “Hold on,” he said – and came back jingling the keys. They had been tucked into probably the only safe place where they could have survived a 15-mile trip on freeways and across the Bay Bridge – a snug little nook behind the license plate! And the next day, Bob drove them back to Nancy.
The evening after our September meeting, I got the following email from Nancy: I really enjoyed my time with you and your group and was pleased to see ACL remains a wonderfully friendly, fun group of dedicated professionals serving our children and education. Librarians are like teachers in that they, too, are people oriented and always willing to help kids. Our family has certainly appreciated you all these years. To guarantee my interest in children’s books, and my grown children’s memories of good books, I have a Narnia poster hanging in my office where everyone who enters can see it. I enjoyed my stint as a mystery guest and loved matching faces to names. It was fun. It was a pleasure to meet you at last, and I look forward to reproducing your reviews in future months as I always learn from them. Thanks again for a lovely morning. Take care.
Over the years, Nancy has worked with many other groups large and small, but she has always been faithful to ACL– and we are all so grateful. What a treat to finally meet in person!
Elizabeth Overmyer, retired