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December 20, 2017

Novels and Nonprofits: An Interview with Librarian Trish Hatcher

My love of reading can be attributed to my mother, who is a librarian. As a child, the library was one of my favorite places, with its seemingly endless amount of books and the peaceful environment. I would spend hours curled up in “my” chair by the window, lost in another world.

Once, In fourth grade, I was so engrossed in my book that I didn’t realize the entire class had lined up for lunch. On my first visit home while at college, I stayed up until 3 am finishing a new book because I had missed reading for fun. To this day, not much has changed- I still lose track of time when I’m reading a great book, and am definitely guilty of canceling plans with friends so I can stay home and read instead.

This love of reading and learning has shaped who I am, and I hope to help other children develop the same love. That’s why I was so drawn to the mission and vision of Reading Partners, and its firm belief that everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status or background, can be successful in reading and in life. I was very fortunate to have instilled within me an appreciation for reading and libraries from a young age on, but many children do not have that opportunity, and that’s where Reading Partners comes in.

What I’ve learned from both growing up in a library and serving with Reading Partners is that reading is one of the most important educational tools and has the ability to transform lives. I’m so glad that I have the chance to support an organization with such an incredible mission that means so much to both me and my mom. Hear some of her thoughts on libraries, books, and the importance of reading.

Please tell us a little about yourself, your professional background, and your personal interests.
I’m a mom of two daughters and three dogs, and military wife of retired Coast Guard officer.  I worked as a fundraiser and educator for nonprofit agencies for about 10 years. I have worked at libraries in both Alameda, CA and Wilmington, NC as a library associate, doing everything from circulation to reference to leading story time! I now combine the two career paths as the fundraising specialist at the local public library. This includes managing the biannual book sale fundraiser- it’s the second-largest in the state, and last year we raised over $71,000 for the library!

Why did you decide to become a librarian?
Quite honestly, I am passionate about reading and love to share that with patrons. I have many fond memories of going to the library in my hometown.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
When a patron, young or old, returns to tell me how much they enjoyed I book that I recommended.  

What do you feel is most challenging about working in a library?
Trying to make everyone happy!

What role do you think libraries play in our communities and schools?
A large and important role! Students need to be able to readily access the information they need for school or find a great read while at school- and libraries provide that.  Community libraries provide activities that promote literacy, help adults find jobs, and learn new languages. You can even download a movie or some music!

What is something people might not know about libraries or librarians?  
The amount of events offered is staggering- from live music to storytellers to large events to celebrating holidays, not to mention reading to rescue dogs or researching one’s genealogy.

How do you envision the future of libraries in such a technology-focused world?
While e-books continue to be popular, I don’t see an end in sight for “real books.” But libraries also have computers, which means we can continue to provide services such as helping people apply to jobs or research a variety of topics. While of course the books remain the focal point of a library, it also serves as a cultural and educational center for all members of a community, providing opportunities for learning and fun.

What are your favorite children’s books?  
Island of the Blue Dolphin or the Little House on the Prairie series.

Are there any particular ones you read with your children when they were little?
Anything they brought home from the library! My oldest daughter especially loved Junie B. Jones, while my youngest preferred Queenie Farmer Had Fifteen Daughters. The Harry Potter series was a big hit with everyone in the house, my husband included.  

Why do you think being a lifelong reader is important?
Not only is it a healthy pastime, but it keeps the mind engaged. And children who are readers always do better in school.  

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am so thankful to have passed my love of reading onto my children- one of whom works at a literacy nonprofit, helping other children find the joy of reading.  

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