LEWISTOWN - Ever since Molly Kinney was a little kid, she knew that something amazing happened when you read. Whether is was a delicious dinner when her mom read a recipe or a new sweater when her grandma read a crochet pattern, she knew that reading led to something important.
"Somehow, early on, I realized that there was something really special about reading and the written word," Kinney said. "And I think that kind of guided me, even though it wasn't until I was in a PhD program that I began to intellectually understand that."
Raised in Juniata County, Kinney traveled between Pennsylvania and Florida earning her bachelor's and master's degrees in library science, as well as a doctorate in the same subject. She has worked for public libraries in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami areas as well as the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh.
Sentinel photo by LAUREN?LINHARD
Molly Kinney, new director at the Mifflin County Library, checks in returned books on Thursday at the library in Lewistown.
After going into retirement - or so she thought - Kinney returned to the area to be near her family, but quickly realized she missed the library environment and the intellectual interaction that went along with it.
"If you're a librarian 'cause you love to read, you're in the wrong business. Libraries are about people," Kinney said. "I missed that interaction with people and that mental stimulation. Even though I was involved in a gazillion volunteer activities, I had spent 32 years of my life as a librarian. I needed to be back in libraries."
It's certainly an exciting time to get involved as director of the Mifflin County Library, Kinney said. The traditional programs that libraries are noted for and the opportunity to go in many different directions makes the job a joy and a challenge, she said.
"We are becoming the 'any time, any place' library because we have four walls and we'd love you to visit, but you can get online anywhere and use our resources, download an ebook or use our databases," Kinney said. "The library is now about empowering people to find the information or the recreational reading that they want."
Kinney said she would like people to think of the Mifflin County Library first as an informational and referral resource, describing it as "the Google of Mifflin County."
"It's a wonderful goal to have because you'll never achieve it," Kinney said. "That's really exciting to me - rather than seeing it as something unreachable, it's something we can always work toward."
Kinney also plans to extend the adult programming offered at the library with personal interest technology workshops that involve the use of online sites such as Facebook and eBay, as well as how-to's of downloading books onto a Kindle or Nook, she said.
To further support the community, Kinney is also looking into the addition of resume writing and Microsoft Office workshops. Often times, entrepreneurs and small business people don't have a full working knowledge of how to use Microsoft tools that could make their lives easier, she said.
"The library has simply not had the opportunity to do some of these programs in the past, but it's my fervent hope that we will get started in the near future," Kinney said. "I hope to bring a sense of excitement and empowerment to the library and staff so we can be all we can."
A calendar of current child and adult programming is available on the Mifflin County Library website at www.mifflincountylibrary.org. The library is opened from noon to 8 p.m. on Monday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.