About The Author
In July 1985, the Nolensville Public Library opened as a branch of the Williamson County Public Library system. It started as a one room library located inside what is now the Historic Nolensville Museum. It was sponsored by the Friendly Neighbors FCE Club and was staffed by volunteers during its first year in operation. In 1986, Janice Bobo was hired as the first employee - part time at first, then later full time - who handled all the day to day operations of the library. The library was in the museum building for 10 years and grew to two employees: Janice and Nancy Hatcher. In December 1995, the library moved to its current building. The new building was a culmination of effort from the employees, Janice Keck (the director of the Williamson County Public Library) and the Friends of the Library group, who campaigned and raised money for a new building. For years, Janice conducted the children’s programs at the library, but with the move to the new building and her Branch Head duties increasing, she knew she needed more help.
In 1997, funds for a new part-time circulation clerk were made available, and Janice wanted someone who would be capable of planning and performing the children’s storytimes. She hired Karen Tucker as the new children’s librarian in July of 1998. Karen had been the first president of the Friends of the Library, and Janice had no doubt that she was the person for the job. “Karen took great pains planning her programs. She had great ideas, and the Friends of the Library was wonderful to buy food, puppets, story sets, and anything we needed to have wonderful programs. All the children and moms loved her programs. She always planned her programs around the best and most fun children’s books. She was also a great resource to help the children and parents in selecting the books they would enjoy. I was always glad for her input in selecting new children’s books for the library. She kept great records of her programs, and I understand that those files are still useful today.”
Karen Tucker is a Nashville native who grew up in the Crieve Hall area. She taught students with learning differences at Westminster School (now Currey Ingram Academy) for 13 years. She started with teaching 2nd graders, but eventually worked with 7th and 8th graders to help them transition to high school after they left Westminster. In 1986, Karen and her husband Randy bought a plot of land in Nolensville where Randy spent a year building out their forever home. Karen taught up until the birth of her second child, Jessica, in 1991.
She has always held a passion for reading and working with children. “I have always loved to read. It was a fun opportunity to share that love with children and their families.” For 18 years, “Miss Karen,” as she was affectionately known by the town’s children, conducted weekly story times and managed the yearly summer reading programs. She loved helping young readers - especially reluctant readers - find books to read and love. Her favorite memories of her time as the children’s library involve the special programs the library held where her children and their friends either participated or helped facilitate the program.
In 2015, Karen decided to retire. She misses seeing all the children’s faces every week and her co-workers. “I had a wonderful experience at the Nolensville Public Library. The people with whom I worked loved the library as much as I did. They made the library a special place for our patrons. Janice Bobo, Nancy Hatcher, Karen Wooten, Sue Deweese, Nancy Seitz and Jackie Green were instrumental in producing a welcoming, friendly atmosphere that drew families to the library.”
Though she may not work at the library any more, Karen is hoping to inspire a love of reading in the next generation of Nolensville children with her book character Nolen the Bear. During her story times, she often used a teddy bear named Nolen (inspired by her own childhood teddy bear) as her reading mascot. Each winter, the children would put Nolen to “sleep” for hibernation, and wake him up with a special story time in the spring. To introduce Nolen to a new generation of Nolensville children, she wrote a short children’s picture book titled Nolen the Bear Finds A Home, which shows readers how Nolen came to live at the library.
“I think Nolen is a good ambassador for reading. He is a special, sweet bear with a big heart. He wants to inspire a love of reading in everyone he meets. He also has some fun adventures along the way!” The book is illustrated by her daughter Jessica, a graphic designer who still lives in Nolensville. Karen’s old co-workers are thrilled by the new book. “It brings back so many memories of the wonderful fall storytimes when Karen and the children put Nolen to bed in his lair,” says Janice. “The book is a wonderful story about Nolen finding our library. The illustrations are beautiful.”