[Masthead] Overcast  
High: 70°F ~ Low: 42°F
Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016

New director begins work at McIver's Grant Public Library

Thursday, October 11, 2012

McIver's Grant Public Library's new director of services, Dara Gonzales, offers a sneak peak at the new library building. As workers turn their attention to the final details of the transformation of the former grocery store in downtown Dyersburg to a state-of-the-art building, Gonzales takes the reigns of the library that has served the Dyer County community for nearly a century.
McIver's Grant Public Library has seen many changes since officials gathered in the lobby of the Lannom Center two years ago to announce the beginning of a capital campaign to create a new library.

Now, as construction nears completion on the new structure and an expanded website offers the organization a new look in cyberspace, the library is ready for yet another addition.

Dara Gonzales has been hired as director of library services.

Gonzales began her new position on Monday, Oct. 8, just in time to oversee the finishing touches on the new library building created from an old grocery store in downtown Dyersburg. In the midst of settling into her new position, Gonzales will also prepare for the library's move into the new facility.

"(My first day) went really well," said Gonzales. "It is a little bit overwhelming because I have big expectations to fill, but it is exciting."

Gonzales, who graduated with a Masters of Library Science degree from Texas Women's University in 2010, comes to Dyersburg from the Lone Star State by way of Munford, Tenn.

"I took a job with Munford as director of library services in June 2010," said Gonzales. "I was there until I accepted this position in September. My family lives in Munford and they sent me the article in the paper again and again and again until I applied."

Gonzales and her husband, Isaac Gonzales, relocated to West Tennessee when she accepted the Munford position. Gonzales and one part-time worker were the only employees of the Munford Library. While there, Gonzales prepared an online catalog and gained valuable experience in all aspects of library service.

"I had experience doing every single role in the library," said Gonzales, who also worked as an elementary school librarian in Texas. "The best part about (the Munford) job is it prepared me for any direction I wanted to go. It was quite an experience."

Before accepting the position at McIver's Grant Public Library, the Gonzales family -- now including 10-month-old Eleanor -- visited the Dyersburg community. They were particularly pleased with the Main Street Farmers Market and the many activities available for their growing family.

"We are outdoorsy people," said Gonzales. "We will be relocating to Dyersburg."

In her new position, Gonzales first plans to take stock of the library's current practices. But the new leader already has a few items on her 'to-do' list.

"I am creating a Return on Investment brochure to show the breakdown of return on the investments made by the community," said Gonzales. "Moving forward, it is really important for everyone to see what they are getting in programs and services. (To see the) value of their effort and funding so they will continue to support our library."

The new facility will not only provide additional space and accessibility to residents, but allow staff to continue the excellent service that has become a McIver's Grant Public Library tradition.

A dedicated genealogy room will allow residents to access the library's subscription to Ancestry.com and conduct what can become pricy research absolutely free. The room also offers a quiet space to research in an area removed from the main library.

An ample children's section will offer an inviting space for children of all ages, with a corner set aside for children under 2 years old, a room dedicated to story time, a craft area and windows overlooking a learning garden.

A community room -- available after hours for community events and activities -- features a baby grand piano, the latest technology and an adjoining kitchen.

A large fireplace provides a cozy spot to relax with a book or magazine, while computer stations, racks for adult fiction and non-fiction and a roomy circulation desk allow patrons plenty of room to discover the latest bestseller, conduct research or complete online applications.

"The point of the library is to serve everyone," said Gonzales. "We would like the community to feel that this is their library. We want everyone to be proud of it, for the library to be a place that offers something to everyone."

Gonzales said the library's role is to create lifelong learners and provide a welcome place and services for people of all ages and all walks of life.

"It is great to be around people so passionate about (this library)," said Gonzales. "The new building will be a place in the community where everybody feels welcome."

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on stategazette.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

I would love to see extended evening hours.

-- Posted by Unique on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 11:03 AM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: