April 19, 2018

Chance Hunt | Movers & Shakers 2004

Acting on Behalf of Youth


Few might think there is much of a connection between acting and librarianship, but Chance Hunt says his acting career in Los Angeles provided him with skills he uses today as a youth services librarian, from programming with kids to representing the library at citywide meetings.

Hunt oversees systemwide services for children and teens at the Seattle Public Library and is the key liaison to the school district and all other governmental agencies that serve kids.

Representing the library in government circles has taught Hunt how politics works and how strong a role the library can have in it. ‘I’ve always known that youth services is a political tool for public libraries, but what I’ve learned is how to adequately represent the services in a way that city leaders understand them,’ he says. The most important thing he does is communicate the library’s mission. That way, when city officials shave the budget, they’ll remember that the public library is a key part of early literacy, student achievement, and the overall quality of life, he says.

One of Hunt’s major victories was a citywide book club for kids. Seattle already had a well-known ‘one city, one book’ program. In 2001 Hunt worked with the Seattle Children’s Theater on the idea of producing a play while the library pushed a book. The theater acquired the rights to adapt Louis Sachar’s Holes
for the stage. ‘They did the play, and the library worked with the school district, our foundation office, and the King County Library to…have all kids read the same book.’

Years prior to the kids reading project, Hunt picked up one of the theater’s bookmarks that featured a list of titles relating to the current production. He asked the theater folk if they would like the library to generate book lists, and they jumped at the opportunity. ‘Now there are three library systems working with the theater producing book lists. We all get to remind people to come to the library after they see the play.’

Though a bookmark might sound minor, one of Hunt’s philosophies is, ‘little things lead to big things…. You never know when speaking at a [city] meeting could lead to the next great thing we do as a library,’ he says.




Current Position: Youth Services Coordinator, Seattle Public Library
Degree: MLIS, University of Washington, 1992
Teaches: Children’s Literature, University of Washington
Previous Experience : Actor and game show contestant