The Secret Life of TLC Nielsen

Welcome to the second post in our wonderfully weird world of writers. Allow me to introduce Tracey “TLC” Nielsen.

Chief MsTery RealmMakers15

Besides writing, what is your secret identity (day job and hobby)?

I’m a library worker by day, a jazz trombonist by night and a writer sandwiched somewhere in the middle. I’ll reveal my true secret identity a little bit later. One hint: it has to do with books!

lfestival 006
Tracey playing the trombone during a concert in Italy

What do you find most interesting about being a librarian?

I love books, I help kids find books and I like writing books. The library is filled with all kinds of books so I think I have a great job. Plus I get to design interesting programs for kids of all ages. I have way too much fun at the library! And I haven’t even talked about the computer lab, which can be fun in a completely different way.

What are some common misconceptions people have about librarians?

For some reason, people still think you have to whisper in the library. In the kids department, we don’t like running or screaming but we’re pretty chill about normal conversations and kids having fun.

Give us the skinny – what are some interesting facts about librarians that most people don’t know?

Chief Ms.Tery, Head of GAPLD Novel Detectives
Chief Ms.Tery, Head of GAPLD Novel Detectives

My job as an assistant youth services librarian at GAPL has a secret component to it but you can’t tell anyone I told you. I’m also known as Chief Ms.Tery, Head of the Novel Detectives Group. We uncover good books no matter where they hide. We even have secret agents who go undercover searching for a few good books.

Another fact no one seems to know is that your library is a limitless place – if our library doesn’t have the CD, DVD or book you are looking for, we can probably interlibrary loan it from another library. Plus, you can take your library card and use it anywhere in our state if you take a few moments to register it. I’m registered in at least 7 libraries so far in Illinois.

How do you balance writing, work/hobby, and your private life?

Balance, you ask? I think I do a form of weaving, running from event to event and jotting down stories along the way. I spend a lot of time practicing music, hanging out with my family and attending as many family events as I can handle. I’m proud to say I’m a 10 Minute Novelist, writing in 10 minute chunks of time, which helped me finish the rough draft of my first Teen Fantasy book this year.

Does the library ever sneak into your writing?

TLC Jedi
Library Jedi – May the 4th

Definitely, my job and my life sneak into my stories. Some of the characters in my novel talk about books and one book they mentioned took my story in a whole other direction. As for life stuff, one of my characters became a “toothsayer” for their job at a time when I had to visit a lot of dentists. Even fictional characters go to the dentist.

Thanks, Lisa, for hosting me. My blog, The Extraordinary Ordinary, can be found at and I interview ordinary folks with extraordinary life stories. I’m occasionally on Twitter as Read2Mii2, mainly for library-ish events.



One thought on “The Secret Life of TLC Nielsen

  1. I love the request policy at my local library – up to 50 requests per patron per year! I’m using it a lot for hubby and daughter to get good audio books. And I’ll admit I still talk pretty quietly at the library. It’s a respect thing for me, I guess? In fact, I quit visiting one small library close by because one day I visited and there were kids running around screaming and hogging the computers playing games (besides the librarian, I was the only adult in the room). That part wasn’t so bad but when I wrote them about it (at the time I was job hunting and internet-less so I’d really needed the computer) and they replied along the lines of, “deal with it.”


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