Meet Amanda Reynolds Cooper, Hampton's Librarian

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By Valerie Cellucci

Hampton Union, Friday, April 23, 2010

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Hampton Public Library (Lane Memorial Library) librarian Amanda Reynolds Cooper, Wednesday, April 21, 2010.
[John Carden photo]

HAMPTON -- Amanda Reynolds Cooper has been Lane Memorial Library's librarian for almost two years. Although the job is still fairly new to her, Cooper is far from being a stranger to working in a library.

"I have never had a job that wasn't related to the library," said Cooper.

While studying to become a marine biologist at Bates College she worked at the school's library. After graduating, Cooper realized she had more real-world experience in working in a library so she decided to earn her master's degree in library sciences at Syracuse University.

"I didn't know I wanted to be a librarian growing up," she said. "When I met Catherine Redden (former librarian) she told me she had wanted to be a librarian since before she could remember. For me it just sort of fell in my lap and I'm really lucky because it suits me."

For four years Cooper worked as Epping's Harvey-Mitchell Memorial librarian. Now that she has settled in at Lane Memorial, Cooper says she could work there forever.

"Epping was my time to gain experience and learn how to do everything," she said. "This is a career job. I can see myself here for 30-plus years."

Currently, Cooper and her family live in Raymond. She and her husband Christopher met while they were both studying at Bates College. Christopher shares Amanda's passion for the library and is working as the librarian at Southern New Hampshire Library.

Soon after taking the job in June 2008, Cooper had her now 18-month-old daughter, Ada.

"When I bring her to the library she's like a little celebrity around here."

The Coopers have no plans to move as of now but, because they are such a new family, Cooper said that may change depending on what Seacoast school will be best for Ada.

She also said that she likes the idea of working in a different town than she lives in because the town knows her votes are professional and not personal.

"Right now the commute is a nice split for Christopher and me."

Cooper is used to moving around growing up since her father was in the Air Force. Originally from Texas, Cooper has lived in Virginia, England, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts and now New Hampshire. Though it is clear now that she is going to stay put.

While working at the library she has helped install the Weston Theater and last year she helped install new shelving to increase shelf space by 12 percent.

"I'm mostly looking to not break anything. The library has such a good dynamic, it's very patron based and everything just works really well."

Being at the young age of 32 and new to the community, Cooper said she has faced a few challenges. She said it is a new experience to oversee a staff of 13, compared to Epping's two-person staff. Cooper said that her employees make it easier for her.

"Everyone here has such a good work ethic and work so well together," she said.

As a relative newcomer to Hampton, Cooper said she hasn't yet met a lot of people.

"Since I'm not on the front lines I encourage people to come in and ask to talk to me," she said.

One of her favorite parts of working at the library is that no day is the same for her. She's also excited by the plethora of information at her fingertips.

"I have yet to be asked something that I haven't found an answer for," she said.

Hampton Public Library (Lane Memorial Library) librarian Amanda Reynolds Cooper, Wednesday, April 21, 2010.
[John Carden photo]
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