Running Riford Library keeps Catherine Greene doing what she loves best


Catherine Greene was raised in rural New Jersey where she spent her youth playing with her brother and friends at neighboring dairy farms, swimming in ponds, riding her bike, and reading. She said she used to play librarian to all of their family’s books, and remembers at age 7 or 8 asking Santa for one of those rubber rotating date-due stamps for Christmas. (She still has books with her “stamps” in them.)

After getting a degree in economics, she went to graduate schools in Boston and Texas for more economics, and then to New York City where she worked on Wall Street as a financial writer and short-term financial instruments trader.

“The work was fun and remunerative, but it lacked meaning for me,” she said. “I left the firm and went back to graduate school in NYC for my Library Science degree. It’s been a brain party and labor of love ever since.”

She and her husband moved to La Jolla from Boston in 1981, living in Birdrock and Muirlands for 13 years. Their three children were born and schooled in La Jolla. She now resides in Coronado, and continues to manage the La Jolla Riford Library.

What brought you to La Jolla?

The Pacific Ocean and the weather.

What makes this area special to you?

The surprising variety of people and easy, rewarding friendships.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I’d bring back The Cove Theatre.

Who or what inspires you?

Anything/anyone that I know nothing about.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

My list would include FDR and Fala (for my own Scottish terrier!), Homer, Mark Twain, William James, Barbara Jordan, Carl Jung, Dorothy Parker and Bertrand Russell.

What are your three favorite movies of all time?

“Harvey, “ “Last Tango In Paris,” and “The Love Letter.”

What is your most-prized possession?

I wouldn’t call my three grown kids “my possessions,” but they are my prizes.

What do you do for fun?

I like bike riding, visiting comedy clubs, reading, nightly beach walks with my Westie, and taking trips with my kids.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Easy: It was raising three kind, hardworking and very funny grown kids.

What is your life motto?

Curiosity, hard work, and empathy are gifts in themselves.