Tailoring knowledge

LAURENS – Some people go into a career that they’ve been interested in for a long time and that they’ve learned about for years.

But Glenda Mulder, director of the Laurens Public Library, had no interest in becoming a librarian while she was growing up.

“I thought I was going to do alterations and tailoring, because that’s what I went to school for,” Mulder said. “That’s what I did as a career first, and when I moved to Laurens I owned the tailoring shop here.”

While owning her own business, Mulder said she learned about business management and budgeting, skills she uses every day as library director.

Mulder said she began working at the library part-time in 2000 after getting a job at the Laurens-Marathon Community School District as an aide.

“I learned all about kids there,” she said. “The library has been taking those two interests and melding them together.”

Mulder became the full-time library director in

July 2006 after the previous director retired.

Though she didn’t intend to become a librarian, Mulder said she has been a lifelong fan of books and reading.

“I grew up loving my library,” she said. “We had a Carnegie Library in Sibley, where I grew up, and I was always a big reader.”

The best part about being library director, according to Mulder, is the fact that no two days are the same.

“I love it,” she said. “Every day is different, and that’s what’s fun about it.”

Among her responsibilities are organizing programs, ordering books for both the Laurens library and from other libraries, and budgeting.

“I spearhead a little bit of everything,” she said. “I spend a little time at the front desk. I run the book club. Just a little bit of everything.”

Because every day is different, Mulder said there’s no such thing as an average day for her.

“And that’s what’s fun about it,” she said. “There’s always something different to do. If I don’t feel like desk work, there’s always something I can do where I’m not behind my desk.”

She added that she enjoys interacting with the public.

“The best people come to the library,” Mulder said with a smile.

While the job does come with its challenges, Mulder said it’s never anything she can’t handle.

“We have unexpected things happen,” she said. “After doing this for as long as I have, nothing is that big of a surprise anymore.”

One recent challenge was when a lawn mower threw a rock that shattered the window on one of the entry doors. Mulder said the door had to be locked until new glass could be installed.

Right now, she said the library has several projects that are in progress.

“Summer reading is going on right now,” she said. “We’ve got stuff going on all this month, and we’ll be adding things for older kids later this month.”

There’s also a book club and a writers’ club that meets once a month, as well as a coupon exchange.

“In the fall we’re going to be adding a scrapbooking and card-making night,” she said. “We’re also using online e-books, which the kids really enjoy.”