Last week Amy Birtell, 40, of Eldridge, started as the new director of the Clinton Public Library.
Growing up in Eldridge, Amy was always an avid reader. Her father was a school teacher and education was very important in her family. Libraries were a part of that education.
Amy’s deep love of libraries really began during college. She attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie where she received a bachelor’s degree in music. While at the university, Amy took a job at the circulation desk of the William Robertson Coe Library.
Amy enjoyed working at the library. She said she liked helping people find materials and when she could “kind of help them find that mystery puzzle piece to their research.” She likes being around other people in the library, whether they are there for recreational reading or doing research.
After her time working in the library during college, Amy decided to continue her education with a focus on libraries. She received a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Iowa. She is currently working on a second master’s degree in organizational leadership at St. Ambrose University.
Throughout the years, Amy has played many roles. She was a board member of the Westgate community building committee when it built an addition to its library. She also served as library director for Westgate and Tripoli public libraries. Amy said these various roles have allowed her to see libraries from both the viewpoint of a patron as well as from a director. As director, she has worked on developing a vision and library services to meet all of the needs in a community.
Amy said she has also spent time trying to be an advocate for library services. She feels some people do not have the proper research tools available to them at home. She said libraries are important in making sure these people find adequate and valuable information.
Amy started at the Clinton Public Library on Sept. 28. She decided to move back to Eldridge and was looking for a library position. She felt Clinton was a very good fit. Amy spent her first week talking to people and learning as much about the library and its history as she could. She plans to develop relationships within the city and work to create a vision for the future of the library.