McWilliams takes helm of Huntingburg libraryJuly 1, 2019
By LEANN BURKE
HUNTINGBURG — For new Huntingburg Public Library Director Lisa McWilliams, the last three weeks have been a big adjustment.
In less than a month, she went from being one of two children’s librarians at the Jasper Public Library to running the library in her town of Huntingburg.
“I felt like I could bring something to my community and give back,” McWilliams said. “I just took a leap of faith.”
Originally from Henderson, Kentucky, McWilliams and her husband, Randy, moved to Huntingburg about 23 years ago. The couple has raised two kids — Elizabeth Reel, 27, and Noah, 21. Elizabeth lives in Branson, Missouri, with her husband, and Noah lives in Huntingburg.
Lisa, who holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and is pursuing library science certification, started her career in library science just shy of a decade ago when she took a job as a library assistant at the Jasper Public Library in 2010, and a few years later, she became one of two children’s librarians at that library, a position she held for the last six years. During that time, she said, she built a lot of relationships with the staff and patrons that made leaving that position “bittersweet.”
But Lisa said she’s always wanted to live in and serve her community, so when the director position opened at Huntingburg’s library, she knew she had to apply. So far, she hasn’t been disappointed.
“I’ve gotten to meet people from the community that I didn’t know,” she said. “Everyone’s been so kind and helpful.”
Both patrons and staff have welcomed her with open arms, she said. Some regular patrons even brought her candy as a welcome gift.
Lisa said that right now, she’s focused on learning the ropes of the director role and getting to know the patrons and staff. The biggest adjustment has been learning to wear many hats, instead of just one. Rather than just focusing on one area of the library like she did as a children’s librarian, she now has to split her time and attention among all aspects of the library.
“I love that,” she said. “I like to be busy.”
Once she’s gotten accustomed to her new position, she said, she plans to work to expand the library’s programming and outreach offerings.
“The patrons feel like the library is an extension of their family,” Lisa said. “That’s how we will develop programming that will fit the needs of our community.”
Lisa worked with programming in her position at the Jasper Public Library, and she’s excited to bring that experience to Huntingburg.
For now, she plans to get to know the library community and to learn what the patrons are looking for from their library.
“I would just like to encourage everyone to stop by,” she said. “I would love meet everyone.”
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