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Reviewer Profile – Pat L.


Patl2015-cropped-225Our featured reviewer for February 2010 is Pat Leach. Pat has worked for the Lincoln City Libraries system for many years, in a variety of branches and departments, including, most recently, as Youth Services Coordinator and now Library Director (since the fall of 2008). Her reviews show up fairly regularly on our Staff Recommendations displays and occasionally on the BookGuide web site, focusing on an eclectic variety of non-fiction and fiction titles. However, you’ll find several of her reviews in her Library Director blog — Firefly, also available on the library web site, and for the past several years she has shared reviews on the radio by hosting NET: All About Books. Reading has long been an important part of Pat’s life, as she indicates in her answers to our questions about books and reading:

How long have you worked for the Lincoln City Libraries, and at what locations?

31 years–in Youth Services, Technical Process, Outreach, Reference/Periodicals, Circulation, South Branch and now in Administration

secretoftheoldclockWould you care to share any personal info with our readers — such as where you grew up, what you read as a child, etc.?

I attended school in Kearney, York, and Aurora, Nebraska. As a child, I liked to read series, and read every Nancy Drew and Happy Hollisters book. I was very fortunate to have many teachers from elementary through high school who were passionate about reading, and who took the time and energy to share that.

How long have you been an active reader, and were there any particular books or authors or other people that “made you a reader”? Has there been any book or author that “changed your life” or strongly influenced you?

I’ve always enjoyed reading. I learned to read from some old school readers that my Aunt Virginia had given to our family; I paid attention to my older sisters and brother when they read.

How important are books and reading to you?

Reading’s very important to me, and I spend a lot of time reading. I especially enjoy conversations about reading.

How do you select what books to read next?

I make an annual project of the books from the American Library Association Notable Books list. For several months each year, I’m reading those. When I’m not involved in that, I choose books based on what a variety of friends have recommended. I especially enjoy memoirs, so I watch for those.

What do you enjoy about writing book recommendations?

I like the challenge of distilling a book into a one-sentence summary. I think that other readers appreciate a frank opinion in addition to that. It’s important for librarians to think outside of their own boxes to consider which readers would enjoy a book, regardless of our own opinions and experience.

brightyAre there any interesting book- or reading-related stories or bits of trivia in your past that you’d like to share with our readers?

In Colorado Springs in the summer of 2009, my sister and I reconnected with Mrs. Barrilleaux, who had been our fourth grade teacher at Willard Elementary School in York, Nebraska in the late 1960s. I often refer to Mrs. Barilleaux’ passion for reading aloud as a lovely example for all adults to role model for young people. My sister and I still remember Mrs. Barilleaux’s reading-aloud performances of Brighty of the Grand Canyon and Nancy and Plum. It was great to re-connect, and have an opportunity to tell her what a difference she made to us.

and finally…

If there was only one author you could convince people to read, that author would be:

I adore Alice Munro’s short stories, but I’m pretty sure she isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Booklists from Book Talks presented by Pat:
ALA Notable Books – 2006/2007 – A Selection (June 2007)
ALA Notable Books 2008 (September 2008)
ALA Notable Books 2009 (November 2009)
ALA Notables – 2010 books (December 2011)
ALA Notables – 2011 books (November 2012)
ALA Notables – 2012 books (October 2013)
ALA Notables Book List – 2013 Titles (November 2014)
ALA Notables List – 2014 Titles (November 2015)
ALA Notable Books List – 2016 (November 2016 & April 2017)
ALA Notable Books List – 2017 (September & October 2017)
ALA Notable Books List – 2018 (Fall 2018 & Spring 2019)
ALA Notable Books List – 2019 (Fall 2020)
ALA Notable Books List – 2021 (April 2021) (for 2020 titles)
ALA Notable Books List – 2022 (March 2022) (for 2021 titles)
Podcasts this Reviewer participated in:
‘Casting About, Program 3 (May 2008)
‘Casting About, Program 7 (June 2008)
‘Casting About, Program 9 (July 2008)
‘Casting About, Program 15 (September 2008)
NLHA Book Talk – Sep 17 2008 – ALA Notable Books 2008 (May 2008)
‘Casting About, Program 28 (January 2009)
‘Casting About, Program 29 (January 2009)
‘Casting About, Program 47 (August 2009)
Gere Books Talk – Nov 30 2009 – ALA Notable Books 2009 (November 2009)
Bethany Books Talk: ALA Notable Books 2011 (November 2012)
Bethany Books Talk – Nov 6 2015 – ALA Notables for 2014 (November 2015)
Bethany Books Talk – Sep 29 2017 – ALA Notables for 2016 (September 2017)
Lunch at the Library – Apr 3 2019 – ALA Notables for 2018 (April 2019)

Read Library Director Pat Leach’s Reviews

Posted to the BookGuide site in January 2010 | last updated April 2022 sdc