What I’m excited about right now: How libraries are changing, yet still a comfort

January 4, 2023

A rainbow descends on the roof of Musser Public Library. Treasure and comfort can be found here.

Molly Garrett,
Assistant Library Director

When I was a young teen trying to find myself, I wandered into the Wilton Public Library. That library slowly became my home away from home, a place where I felt safe and secure, and most importantly, accepted. I embraced that feeling and wanted it to continue. So I became a library page, then continued to work at the library. I loved everything about it.

I chose my college based on who had a library graduate program. While attending school, I worked at both the University of Iowa’s library and the Coralville Public Library. I couldn’t imagine more welcoming and encouraging people than librarians. The people in those libraries made a huge difference in my life, and I still love all of them dearly.

Making the move to Cedar Rapids was a huge change. Small town girl in the big city. I was lucky to work with teens, reaching them in so many wonderful and different ways. I saw these kids make this library their home, just like I had. They were welcomed wholeheartedly into a world of experiences and learning. My library family made it possible for me to be innovative and grow in ways I never thought possible. We reached thousands of people every year, breaking every barrier to access we could find. We learned from each other and our patrons every day.Even when I didn’t see my library family for a while, there was always a conference around the corner. When going to a library conference, it is like a family reunion. We all get to catch up and share, learning and growing together.

I received the sad news that my mentor had passed away shortly after I made the decision to leave my position in Cedar Rapids. I was so honored to be the director of the Wilton Public Library and to be home again. The patrons made it feel even more like coming home. Most of them had known me since I was small. As much as I loved my hometown family, I knew I still had more to learn.

Then I came here to the Musser Public Library. The minute I stepped in the door, I knew that I would be so happy here. Everyone was excited to be here, both patrons and staff. The exchange of ideas was almost tactile. Songs floated around the building. This library is alive with learning and love.

As this new year starts, it’s important to look back and reflect on how we’ve changed as people. I find it important to reflect on how libraries have changed, and I hope that everyone comes to think of the library the way I do: A place to call home, where people are treated like family and everyone can learn and grow together. This is what I am excited about.

“What I’m excited about right now” features one library employee at a time writing about their current favorites in books, magazines, music, TV series, movies, games or other activities that inform or entertain. 

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