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The sister and brother, currently serving terms as presidents of the two boards charged with managing Quincy Public Library, both recall fond memories of their visits to the QPL Children’s Department when they were young.
“I grew up with this building,” said Chris. “The children’s department, which was downstairs at the time, had a real wooden bridge over a carpet river. There were trees with cubbyholes and I could curl up and read for hours.”
Visits to the library were a “very fundamental thing,” said Malinda. “We had books. As children, we had toys, but we spent most of our time reading.”
Both agree that visits to QPL were instrumental in helping them build skills needed for success in school.
The pair described a childhood of humble beginnings. “We did not come from wealth. We were two of six kids,” said Chris. Their mother stayed at home and their father worked as an electrical technician. “But we came to the library regularly every two weeks. Each time, we’d check out as many books as were allowed.”
“No one could have afforded (to purchase) the number of books that we read,” Malinda interjected. “We were constantly burning through the children’s collection,” said Chris.
The Pratt parents set the example for their children that reading was important. “Dad read, but I remember mom reading more than dad,” said Melinda. “She liked murder mysteries.”
“The interest in reading and the library given to us by our parents gave us a solid foundation and a leg up in our education,” said Chris, now an attorney. “And I continue that foundation with my own children.”
Malinda, who earned a degree in psychology and works as a licensed clinical professional counselor, explained, “Educationally, because of our exposure to the library, we could keep up with people who had more financial resources.”
In their positions – Malinda as president of the Townships of the Quincy Area Public Library District and Chris as president of the Quincy Public Library Board of Trustees – the brother and sister advocate for the library.
“The link between young literacy and success is so strong,” said Chris. “Studies have shown that early readers have a leg up on their education. We want to have a community of educated fellow citizens contributing to the work force. Quincy Public Library can help with that, from early literacy and reading, to tech tutors and computer and job skills. QPL has stepped up to fill the gaps in learning.”
Malinda said, “The library has an amazing wealth of resources with no further outlay beyond your taxes. Why wouldn’t you use it?”
Chris finished, “The library is there, waiting for you. You just have to walk in the door!”