Wilton native ready to bring innovative ideas to Musser Public Library

A familiar face for those who have watched “Libraries Alive!” on Musser Public Library’s TV station (Cable Channel 5) has been named Musser Public Library (MPL) assistant director. Molly Garrett was selected following an extensive search and began her new duties on October 3.

“I’m looking forward to this next step, the next chapter,” Garrett said, adding that she wants to bring innovative ideas to the library, including more programming for adults and teens.

MPL Director Robert Fiedler said he is happy to have Garrett on the library staff. 

“We are delighted to welcome Molly aboard and look forward to working with her in creating new, dynamic programming,” Fiedler said. “Molly will be a great addition to the Musser team and brings a wealth of experience that will complement the library’s mission and goals.”

Garrett’s involvement in libraries began early. At age 16, she worked as a page at the Wilton Public Library where she also became involved in the teen board.

She earned her associate’s degree from Muscatine Community College before going to the University of Iowa to earn both her bachelor’s degree in English and her Master’s degree in library science. She worked in the university libraries while completing her Master’s, focusing on government documents. 

Garrett briefly worked part-time for the Coralville Public Library after earning her Master’s before starting full-time work at the Cedar Rapids Public Library in 2013 where she worked as a programming librarian for eight years. Some of her “passion projects” at Cedar Rapids included the creation of the annual Renaissance Fair, the Be Heard program, and the diversity audit. 

The Renaissance Fair – complete with sword fights, jugglers and dancers – drew about 2,000 people each year. The Be Heard program brought books to incarcerated youths for them to share their thoughts on. 

Garrett coordinated efforts with Sarah Voels, Cedar Rapids Library Community Engagement Librarian, on the diversity audit, with Garrett’s focus being on programming and Voels’ on collections. They have presented for many groups about the processes they followed, including the 2020 Public Library Association Conference.  

Garrett served as library director in her hometown of Wilton for a year before coming to Musser Public Library. At the Wilton Public Library, she created a maker space and held the Wines & Spines fundraiser. While the director in Wilton, Garrett reached out to Musser to collaborate and to learn more about MPL’s inner workings and partnerships. As a result, she was drawn into the creation of the MPL-TV/MPW Cable Channel 5 show, “Libraries Alive!” which she also co-hosted by remote connection at the Wilton Public Library. Garrett is working with MPL-TV Director Chad Yocom to restart the show soon.

“In thinking about what comes next, I’m excited, because there are so many people and organizations to partner with in Muscatine,” Garrett said. 

Garrett lives in Wilton. She and her husband, Brad, like to go ghost hunting. They tend goats and chickens and also have pet cats.