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Between the Lines: April Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight, TLA Membership, TLA News

Chad Hetterley
Assistant Library Director
Grapevine Public Library 

What inspired you to become a librarian?
I didn’t grow up aspiring to become a librarian. My dream was to be a music journalist, covering rock bands and writing for Rolling Stone like the main character in Almost Famous. However, after receiving my bachelor’s in journalism, I had one interview for a music writer position at a local weekly, decided I couldn’t live off a journalist’s salary, then changed course and got a gig as a graphic designer based on my experience teaching students how to use Photoshop and Quark page-layout software in the UNT journalism computer lab. It was after working ten years as a designer that I became interested in pursuing a library degree focusing on digital asset management. After spending the next five years as a digital asset librarian at the same company, corporate layoffs provided an opportunity for a career change, and I transitioned to working in public libraries. After just a few weeks, I knew I had found my true calling.

What is an innovative practice at your library/organization (current or former) that you’d like to share with others?
I am particularly proud of three grant-funded projects I have been a part of in Grapevine—the Grapevine Public Library Esports Academy, the addition of a professional-level recording and podcasting studio to the library, and the creation of a musical instrument lending library, which I’ll be sharing about in a session at the TLA conference. All three of these additions to the library have contributed to the library’s goal of fostering digital literacy and the pursuit of lifelong learning in our community.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
I’d be spending a lovely evening dining with Douglas Adams, so I could ask him how he came up with the insane, hilarious plotlines and zany characters in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series; Neil deGrasse Tyson so we could discuss the future of space travel, the multiverse theory, and dark energy; and Patric Gagne, author of the just-released Sociopath: A Memoir, so I could ask her a gazillion questions about what it’s like to be a functioning sociopath.

What are you reading right now?
I recently saw the second Dune movie which inspired me to dive back in and reread Frank Herbert ‘s classic Dune novels. I’m currently halfway through God Emperor of Dune, the fourth book in the series. As for nonfiction, I’m currently reading A City on Mars: Can We Settle Space, Should We Settle Space, and Have We Really Thought This Through? cowritten by husband and wife, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith.

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
Being part of the TALL Texans class of 2017, which led to my other most memorable experience of serving on the TLA conference program committee for the 2019 conference. Oh, and singing Led Zeppelin with a live band at the conference president’s party.

Advice to new librarians?
Get involved with TLA as soon as possible and take advantage of as many professional development and networking opportunities as you can. Also, as I learned in TALL Texans, “lean into your discomfort” by pushing yourself to grow as a professional and experience new things outside of your normal comfort zone.

Anything else you would like to share?
Always wear comfortable shoes, bring a phone charger, and leave room in your suitcase for ARCs when attending library conferences.

Please finish this sentence. “I am a TLA member because…”
I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now in my career without the experiences I’ve had participating and getting involved with TLA. Librarianship is not a stagnant profession. Our roles are continually evolving and TLA helps me to keep up with the changes and new challenges faced by library professionals.