With vision and pragmatism, Mike Slawson opens his role as Director of the Plympton Public Library. “I’m really excited to be here,” he says. “I’m meeting a lot of new people and getting to know what kinds of books and programs they like.”
Slawson planned a craft day at the end of his first week and is developing a summer reading program for children and one for adults. In the fall, he plans to start a seed catalog and, perhaps, a Library of Things like the ones he oversaw as Director of the Kingston Public Library. He already has the perfect spaces for the seed catalog as the old wooden card catalog cabinets still sit in the basement.
“Libraries do a lot more than lend books,” says Slawson. He notes that digital options like eBooks combined with interlibrary loan programs like the SAILS Library Network expand the offerings of small libraries. “Budgeting for small libraries is always a challenge,” he says.
To supplement budgets and offer additional programming, Slawson hopes to develop a Friends of the Plympton Public Library with the hope that some younger people will join too. “Groups like this provide many ways to connect. Many skill sets will really benefit the library,” he says.
A small display of flower photographs hangs on the wall of the small room containing historic local records, and Slawson says he will soon seek other art works to exhibit there.
Personally, he finds the children’s area his favorite. “I read a children’s book every day,” he says. “They are good reminders of basic things in life…doing the right thing and being a good person.”
Slawson brings to Plympton a wide-ranging background as his first job was packing hazardous wastes for disposal at an environmental firm. He often researched what kinds of wastes could be sent together, but that gave him the confidence that, with a little research, he could figure things out. Subsequently, with a joint major in history and archaeology, he earned his B.A. and taught history and economics for several years. When he saw an ad for a library technician in Kingston, he tried and loved it. Now, married to the Holmes’s own Children’s Librarian, Miss Holly, he’s working toward his Masters in Library Science at Simmons College.
Slawson looks forward to life in this small library where he will have more time to meet members of the community. “Plympton is the perfect fit for me,” he says.