Molly Garrett starts as assistant director of Musser Library

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Molly Garrett has always found that her leadership skills shine at the library. As a teen, she first got involved in her local library in Wilton as a part of their teen advisory board. “It was great to have that leadership role and to have things how we liked them and have a say in libraries,” she recalls. Garrett especially liked working with librarian Sharon Bower, and when the opportunity came for her to work at the library at 16-years-old, she did.

After studying for two years at Muscatine Community College, Garrett attended the University of Iowa to earn both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. While there, she worked in various departments of the University of Iowa Libraries, gaining experience with many branches of library science, including handling government documents. Off campus, she also worked at the Coralville Library, where she discovered the department she most liked working in. She recalls, “while I was at the Coralville Library, I realized working with teens was where I needed to be.”

Once Garrett completed her master of library science degree, she worked for eight years at the Cedar Rapids Public Library as a programming librarian focused on teens. When Wilton needed a new library director, she gladly applied and spent a year working at her home library, helping grow their makers’ space, among other projects.

When Garrett heard the Musser Public Library needed an assistant director, she applied just to see what opportunities might come her way. When the library asked her to come work for them, she felt amazed and honored to take her career in a new direction. “It’s really a great opportunity and a growth opportunity for me,” she shared.

In her role as assistant library director, Garrett looks forward to putting her stamp on the position and using feedback from her colleagues and library patrons to design programs that will best serve the community, especially for adults. “What’s really appealing to me is I get to create it and focus on projects,” she stated.

Molly Garrett, assistant director of Musser Public Library, started in her new position in early October. Photo by Margaret Hurlbert.

She also looks to develop her relationship with other staff members, helping to make the library a welcoming and caring place for all of them and also sharing ideas to develop better programming. I think it’s really important for workplace culture to have happy employees.”

Garrett plans to cultivate and increase access to the library’s local history and genealogy collections, bringing history to life and sharing Muscatine’s story with younger generations.

A lover of history herself, Garrett has taken her passion for learning about history in a unique direction. Outside of work, Garret and her husband enjoy ghost hunting, traveling with a team to potentially haunted locations to try to learn more about the former inhabitants who could haunt them.

As Garrett takes on her new role, she has high hopes for what she can do to help take the Musser Public Library in new and positive directions, and how the experience will continue to grow her skills and passion for libraries: “It’s been a really nice time so far; Musser is the perfect sized library. We have a good crew, and I’m excited for what we’ll get done.”

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