Lorraina Harris: Stockton’s first library worker and her legacy

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Lorraina Harris, 69, spent 34 years working in the city’s library system. She passed away last week.

STOCKTON, Calif. — For the three daughters of Lorraina Harris, 69, it was impossible not to want to read a book.

“She was going to present these books to you, and then you would leave the library with a stack of books,” her daughter Bianca Harris said.

Harris spent 34 years working as a library assistant in the City of Stockton library system.

Her family said she died last week of natural causes.

She is believed to have been the first African American to be employed by the city to work in the libraries.

She worked at the Airport Way and Maya Angelou Library branches in South East Stockton.

She also worked at the Cesar Chavez Library in downtown Stockton.

His career as a librarian ended in 2007.

“She loved helping kids and all of us with reading, writing. The main thing with her for us was reading books, and she really expressed that,” her niece Carmen Marie Carr said.

Former Stockton librarian Alex Bailey worked with Lorraina for seven years. Bailey worked 26 years as a librarian in Stockton.

“Lorraina was groundbreaking, working for the library. And it was such a wonderful match and connection because she has roots in southeast Stockton and knew so many people in the community,” said Bailey.

Before the Maya Angelou Library opened in 1996, Lorraina Harris was instrumental in community engagement, asking people who lived here what they wanted in a new library.

“She had such high standards for how people should feel when they walked into the library,” Bailey said.

A graduate of Edison High School and San Joaquin Delta College, Harris began her pioneering career as a library assistant in Stockton in 1973.

She instilled the importance of reading in her three children and countless others.

Those who knew her said she was funny, very caring, caring and more.

“She walked into the room. She was lighting up the room. She was a prayer warrior,” Carr said.

“She left a legacy where she taught children that reading was important,” said Lavonia Duncan, Harris’ daughter.

Lorraina Harris’ funeral will be held this Thursday at 11 a.m. in Stockton at the Progressive Community Church at 2820 South B Street.

Services are open to the public.

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