Monday, August 14, 2017

Meet the Staff - Trent Hanner

Welcome to "Meet the Staff," our newest feature on the Library and Archives blog. Today, let's meet Trent Hanner. Trent is a reference librarian and supervisor with Public Services.

How long have you worked here?

My first day at the Library & Archives was Sept. 25, 2006.

What are some of the things you do as a librarian/supervisor?

In addition to my supervisory duties like scheduling our librarians and attending meetings, I spend at least half of each day working on one of our public desks: the Tennessee Room, in Legislative History or on telephone reference. I also serve on our Collection Development Committee, which selects books to purchase for the library.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love working with the public. It’s fun and a joy to field questions from folks who visit us in person, online or on the telephone. My fellow reference librarians and I delight in helping individuals discover their lost ancestors or hidden family secrets. Working in Public Services also allows me to build relationships with staff from other state agencies and with people in the local history community. I enjoy fostering those connections.

Do you have a favorite collection?

My colleagues in Public Services know that I’m proud to oversee our massive surname and subject vertical file collection. Since the 1920s, our librarians have been collecting clippings and ephemera to facilitate research for genealogists and other seekers of the past. We have over 6,000 files on Tennessee families and prominent people, and over 2,000 files on places, events, and other subjects unique to the Volunteer State. Although the internet has made clipping newspaper articles nearly obsolete, our backlog of files contains a wealth of information that’s not available anywhere else. And these files continue to grow. Today I focus on adding pieces of ephemera that I think will be of interest to researchers in the future, but which may not be collected anywhere else. For instance, I’ve recently created files on hot chicken and on the new 505 skyscraper in Nashville. We’re always happy to accept family Bible records and other uncatalogued genealogical donations for the surname files as well.

What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

I’m grateful we have a Secretary of State and a legislature that recognize the vital role the Library and Archives plays as a cultural center and repository of state history. Like other libraries and archives across the country, our presence symbolizes the value we place on preserving and providing access to our history. Our new home on Bicentennial Mall will serve as a state-of-the-art destination for Tennesseans to gather in a dedicated place to discover that history. But just as important as the physical structure, our team of librarians and archivists serves as expert resources for the Tennesseans who are researching their history. As information continues to be digitized, the public will increasingly need professionals to help navigate that information. Librarians and archivists are trained and experienced in knowing exactly where to find information, and we know how to discern what is true and authoritative and what is not.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett


  1. Very nice article on Trent. He is a great asset to the Library and Archives.

  2. Reading about Trent makes me happy. He was my student in 9th grade!