WILMINGTON — Joe Knueven, the new director at the Wilmington Public Library, says he wants input from anyone and everyone on how to move the library forward.
“I want to hear from everybody, from those who live three doors down, to folks who live in Port William, to elected and appointed officials,” he said this week.
“To my mind, some of the best ideas start with somebody who uses the library on a day-to-day basis, sees something they think can be better and says something about it. I’m really looking forward to having those conversations with folks,” added Knueven.
He comes here after serving about 10 years as director of the Germantown Public Library. Before that he was director for a couple years at a small library in northern Indiana in Bristol, which is in Elkhart County.
Elkhart may ring a bell around here because, like Wilmington and Clinton County, it experienced a substantial job loss in a relatively short period of time when the Great Recession struck in 2008-09. The big industry there was manufacturing mobile and modular homes.
While working at Germantown, Knueven knew about Wilmington’s air park issues and hard times. The way Wilmington has held up holds an appeal for him.
“It just seems to me that there is an honesty and a scrappiness about the community that I just love,” he remarked.
He also was aware there’s a nice library here. And, he thinks much of Clinton County’s rural scenery is absolutely beautiful.
He especially loves to go driving toward Clarksville, but also other parts of the county “where we have rolling hills, and even on state routes there are nice vistas out over people’s farms.”
One thing he wants to try to do at the library is enhance the customer focus — as he puts it, to basically make the library as welcoming as it can be for all patrons. And to the extent that barriers to good customer service may exist, he hopes to find ways to bring those barriers down.
Patrons this summer may feel inconvenienced as the library plans a construction project at its public entrance facing Galvin Park, replacing the steps and handicap ramp.
Born and reared in the Cincinnati area, Knueven attended the University of Cincinnati for his undergraduate work when he studied history and German language. Later, he earned a library degree from Indiana University.
Married with two young children, his own reading interests tend to gravitate toward nonfiction, more specifically to technical do-it-yourself manuals.
Knueven said, “To the extent that I am able, I want to do something to improve the community in some small way, so in a nutshell that is my interest in this job.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.