Alumni Updates

Filling Her Own Bookshelves

Teresa R. Bateman (BS ’82) is the kind of librarian any young student would love. When her school doesn’t have a book a student is looking for, Bateman is liable to just write it.

Fiona's LuckIt’s happened at least once.

“I had a kindergartner who kept saying to me, ‘Do you have a mermaid book? Do you have a mermaid book?’ until I finally wrote one and got her off my back,” says Bateman.

Growing up in Washington, Bateman honed her writing skills in unusual ways. “I used to drive my teachers crazy by doing bizarre things with their writing assignments, like writing state reports in poetry.” After receiving her master’s degree in library and information sciences from the University of Washington, Bateman was hired as an elementary school librarian, a job she had aspired to since third grade.

In her spare time she wrote children’s stories and was published in several magazines. She also sent a letter of inquiry to a book publisher. “Six months later,” she says, “I received a letter back, saying, ‘I’m so sorry. I lost your letter behind my in box. Send us some manuscripts.’” She did, and Ring of Truth was published in 1997.

FluffySeventeen books later, Bateman is still the librarian at the same elementary school, and she frequently reads her books to the schoolchildren. They love her characters, which range from pirate poodles to Death’s cobbler. She often writes about Ireland. Her most recent book, Fiona’s Luck, tells of a young woman who saves the Emerald Isle after the leprechauns have hoarded all the country’s luck, sending Ireland into a potato famine. “Around St. Patrick’s Day, after telling stories to children all week,” says Bateman, “I start talking with quite a thick brogue, and the kids look at me like I’m crazy.”

Bateman strives to incorporate her values into her writing. Once a reader thanked her for having a man in one of her stories spend the night in a single woman’s barn instead of in her house. At times like those Bateman knows she’s using her talents the way she’s supposed to.