RUTHANNE BASSETT, recipient of the 2015 Literacy Hero Award
Each and every day, ordinary people do extraordinary things to promote literacy in our communities. With these awards, we celebrate the selfless acts of three regional heroes who champion the cause of literacy in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.
Ruthanne Bassett’s life reflects her love of working with children, and with the public in general, in both classroom and library settings.
She started volunteering at the Manteca Library when she attended Manteca High in the 1960s.
Although she earned a college degree in agricultural studies, she decided to pursue a career path that allowed her to share her love of books and knowledge.
For two years, she taught fourth- and sixth-grade classes at Neil Hafley School in Manteca Unified School District. She also worked as a substitute teacher at various schools in the district.
She spent 15 years working as an assistant librarian for the Stockton-San Joaquin County Library System. The first three years were at the Cesar Chavez main library in Stockton; the last twelve years at the Manteca Public Library.
“I followed my heart, and I’m glad I did, because I’ve enjoyed it,” she said of being an assistant librarian. She liked the diversity of her workplace which had her working at the reference desk, helping with setting up programs, and leading Story Time for young children.
Ruthanne is also a committee chairperson and a key volunteer at the Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca. She organizes and manages the Children’s Theater at the annual event, and she shares a wealth of knowledge with other committee members. Her contributions have helped to make the regional Bookfest a huge success.
Although Bassett retired from the library in January, she continues to enjoy the best of her academic and professional worlds. She still works part-time hours at the library, volunteering her time to maintain popular library programs that she previously provided as a paid employee.
“This library is my home,” she says matter-of-factly, by way of an explanation.