GALION — A new face is welcoming visitors to Galion Public Library as it opens its doors again. Mike Kirk recently took over as the new library director.
Kirk started July 1. He is originally from the Mount Gilead area. He graduated from Ohio University, earning a teaching degree, and taught in the Mount Gilead school district for several years. After a few years of teaching, Kirk decided he wanted to be a librarian and earned his master’s degree from Kent State in library and information science.
And then a director’s position came open at the public library in Mount Gilead.
“I applied for that and got that and served there for 14 years,” he said. “I was both director and fiscal officer for about 10 years. I wore several different hats there.
“I’ve always enjoyed libraries and I’ve always enjoyed working with people and helping them find the information they need,” Kirk said. “I just like helping people and in this business that’s important, whether what they need is on the shelf or online or wherever. Sometimes we even try to find resources outside the community.
Kirk’s teaching experience marries well with the library.
“I like to educate people. That’s where the teacher and library go hand-in-hand,” he said. “I like to educate people and that’s what I like about the Galion library. There are so many programs here they have developed to educate people”
Kirk said the Galion director position appealed to him because it was a bigger organization and community to serve.
“After 14 years at Mount Gilead I was ready for a change, and I’m too far away from retirement,” he said. “I’ve always had my eye on Galion. A few years ago the position came up and I wasn’t ready, but I felt now I was ready and the board was gracious enough to give me the opportunity.”
Kirk said there have been a lot of good things going on at the Galion Library and he hopes to continue that trend, while also expanding programs in the future based on what the community likes.
“I need to find out what works here and what doesn’t,” he said. “I want to see what opportunities there are to have more programs and offer more services.
“One thing I’d like to look at is wireless printing,” he said. “We don’t have that here. That’s another service we could provide the community that they might enjoy. They could print from their phone and not from one of our computers. And it’s probably time to start looking at updating our website, to make it more appealing to people.
“Maybe we look at something like a new logo for promotion purposes for the library and just, as always, get out in the community as much as we can. We can’t sit in the building and expect people to come to us. We have to go to them.”
Kirk said he is looking forward to meeting people and said patrons should stop in and say hi.
“I want to try and get to know as many people as I can,” he said. “Mount Gilead is only 15 miles away, but I don’t know that many people here and I’m looking forward to meeting people and seeing what their needs and are and what ideas they have. Some of the best ideas come from your community. The library should reflect the community — both the services and the materials — so I definitely want to hear what they have to say.”