Harriet Henderson Coalter
Harriet Henderson Coalter is Director of Richmond Public Library, serving Virginia’s capital city of 200,000 residents. She has also served as director of the public library systems in Montgomery County, Maryland; Louisville, Kentucky; Newport News, Virginia; and Tyler, Texas.
Richmond Public Library has embraced working outside the walls of the library in order to reach more children and parents and work toward school readiness. In Richmond, the public library system serves as the lead agency for Richmond’s Grade Level Reading initiative. This effort has engaged 30 community organizations in planning how educational outcomes for children ages 0-8 can be improved. Richmond has also been selected to participate in the National League of Cities new project for Municipal Leadership to Promote Educational Alignment for Young Children.
Ms. Henderson Coalter co-chaired the national Public Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read project, which has become the foundation for public library outreach to parents and caregivers of preschool children, as public libraries engage the child’s “first teacher” in preparing children for learning. She is a past president of the Public Library Association.