Hanna Lee

Hanna Lee, Youth Services Coordinator for the First Regional Library System, is eager to open up whole new worlds to children and young adults through reading.

Turning the page and opening a new exciting chapter on her library career, Hanna Lee of Batesville has been named as the new Youth Services Coordinator for the First Regional Library System. 

Lee, who commutes back and forth from Oxford, is a native of Florida and was raised in St. Louis.

Libraries have always been a special safe haven for her in addition to being a place of wonder and imagination.

"When I was a kid, the library was my favorite place, said Lee, who officially began her new duties in April. "When I hear kids say that they don't enjoy reading, I say to myself that is a missed opportunity. We know that reading is fundamental."

In her new position, Lee is responsible for supporting and enhancing​ ​library services for youth across the library's five-county region, which includes DeSoto, Tunica, Tate, Panola, and Lafayette Counties.

Lee's husband Zachary Kagan Guthrie is a professor of African American History at the University of Mississippi.

Lee hails from a family of academics. Her mother recently went to seminary and is a chaplain.

"I was a teacher right out of college," Lee said. "After having been a teacher I found that libraries are so much more fun. Reading for pleasure promotes learning."

Library officials are excited about having Lee on board.

"Hanna is going to be a dynamic support for all of our Youth Services staff and she brings an exciting vision for serving our communities' young people with her to this role," said Meredith Wickham, Director of the library system.

"I am thrilled to have her stepping into this position at this pivotal moment for our libraries, " Wickham said. Previously, Lee served as Branch Manager​/​Head Librarian for Batesville Public Library.

"Leaving my position in Batesville is really bittersweet — I am so, so

grateful for the warm welcome I've received from the entire community

during my time here," said Lee. "There is so much great momentum in

Batesville, and I'm thrilled that I will still get to support library

programming for youth in our region, together with our essential community

partners including our schools, our civic organizations, the City of

Batesville, and so many others."

During her tenure as Branch Manager, Lee, with the support of the City of Batesville, oversaw an increase in library outreach services, including Library Connect, a mobile library van, which brings library and technology services to those who may not be able to visit the branch.

Before coming to Batesville, Lee worked at Princeton Public Library as a Youth Services Librarian, the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access at Georgetown University, in Baltimore City Schools, and at the American International School of Mozambique.

She received her Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. In her new position, Lee plans to continue to promote libraries and literacy, with a focus on young people who are underserved. "Reading is essential, and I'm excited to continue working with our Youth Specialists to continually foster a love of reading and learning among every young person in our community. Our work continues."

Lee took on her role in late April, just in time for Summer Reading, the busiest time of the year for youth-centered programming in public libraries. This summer, she has been busy supporting​ ​those programs in all 14 of the system's branches​,​ plus​ ​applying for grant funding to continually improve and expand service. She encourages community members with suggestions for youth library service to contact her at​hlee@firstregional.org.

"We were fortunate to find the perfect person for this role within the ranks of our own talented staff," said Wickham​.​ "It made the ​​team's jobs a little harder, because we then had to organize a national search for a new Manager for Batesville during our busy seaso​n. But I know that children in every community we serve will benefit from Hanna's expertise - and that makes it all worthwhile."

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune or at 662-29-6397, Ext 252.

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