Michael McWilliams will begin his duties as director of the Rumford Public Library on Nov. 12. Submitted photo

RUMFORD — Michael McWilliams of New Jersey has been named director of the Rumford Public Library.

He succeeds Tamara Butler, who resigned July 31 to take a position with a Waterville publishing company.

McWilliams, the assistant librarian for Bayonne, New Jersey, said he has met with the Rumford library staff.

“They are a wonderful bunch,” he said. “We are going to work together to reinvent what I always refer to as ‘the information experience of our libraries.’ However, we aren’t going do any of it overnight. Anything worthwhile take time, patience and a strategy to accomplish.”

McWilliams has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts communications from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in management from New Jersey Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in library and information services from Rutgers University.

He said he’s served a little less than a year as an assistant librarian at a community college and a little over a year as a public library librarian in the role of technology library.

“Most of my work experience is supporting technology strategy and implementation in the private sector with a focus in technology end-user support, training and instruction,” he said.

McWilliams said his interest in libraries was intentional and epiphany.

“The intentional perspective stems from the fact that I have spent the better part of my life pursuing formal education,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time in libraries and I find solace and solution in how knowledge and learning is so widely abundant in libraries.”

He said the epiphany didn’t occur until he finished his graduate studies in library sciences at Rutgers University and remembered that his middle school mentor was a librarian.

“She mentored young people in the inner city through her outreach work as a middle school librarian and I was part of her library club,” McWilliams said.

Libraries have the power to change lives and they do more than just circulate books, he said.

“It was also through my work in the library that I became interested in the characters of Greek mythology like Zeus, Hades and the other gods of Mt. Olympus, demigods like Hercules, Achilles and Perseus, and Titans like Medusa and the Kraken.”

Jerry Cohen, chairman of the library board of trustees, said McWilliams will begin his duties Nov. 12.

Friends of the Library and the Board of Trustees will host a welcoming reception at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 25 at the library.

“The trustees are very pleased to have found such an accomplished librarian and look forward to his arrival,” Cohen said.

“Michael has excellent recommendations and appears to be very well regarded by his past and present co-workers,” Cohen said. “During the interview process, Michael was articulate, friendly and very knowledgeable. He is also very anxious to leave the city to pursue his career in a rural setting.”

Among the experiences McWilliams said he is looking forward to are:

  • Making some new friends;
  • A short walking commute to and from the library on fair weather days;
  • Bringing his canine nutrition, health and wellness brand Marniemix to Maine;
  • Courses at the University of Maine;
  • Pumpkinfest 2020;
  • The library’w Halloween Masquerade Ball in 2020; and
  • Watching his friends and neighbors come together and evolve in their belief of what the library can be in their community.

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