New CCPL di­rec­tor re­flects on ca­reer, fu­ture goals

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - IS­SUE By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ ce­cil­whig. com

— For Mor­gan Miller, be­com­ing the Ce­cil County Pub­lic Li­brary di­rec­tor was both a job she was des­tined for and one she never dreamed she’d hold.

Miller grew up in the Calvert area and got her first li­brary card at the Elk­ton li­brary when she was 6 years old. Although Miller said she can scarcely re­mem­ber a day in her life when she wasn’t read­ing, she never con­sid­ered a ca­reer in li­braries.

ELK­TON

After grad­u­at­ing from Ris­ing Sun High School, she went to Univer­sity of Mary­land Col­lege Park, where she ma­jored in English. After grad­u­at­ing, she worked in pub­lish­ing and did travel writ­ing while also teach­ing writ­ing to English as a sec­ond lan­guage stu­dents at UMD.

Miller moved back to Ce­cil County when she was in her mid- 20s, fig­ur­ing she would ap­ply to grad­u­ate school. Mean­while, she took a part- time job work­ing the in­for­ma­tion desk at the Elk­ton li­brary.

“Within six months of work­ing in a li­brary, which was never a ca­reer I had con­sid­ered be­fore, I was ab­so­lutely hooked,” she said. “It com­bined my loves of learn­ing, teach­ing, pub­lic ser­vice and books into ab­so­lutely the per­fect ca­reer.”

That part- time job kicked off an 11 year ca­reer at CCPL, which cul­mi­nated last week with Miller be­ing ap­pointed di­rec­tor of the county li­brary after serv­ing as the in­terim di­rec­tor since July. Miller

took over the di­rec­tor job from Denise Davis, who held the job for 15 years and who Miller con­sid­ers both a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional men­tor.

The lit­tle over a decade Miller has spent at CCPL has been busy. She started her ca­reer man­ag­ing the Ce­cil­ton branch li­brary be­fore help­ing launch the new Per­ryville branch as the adult ser­vices su­per­vi­sor and then be­com­ing the man­ager soon after it opened. Dur­ing her time at Perr yville, Miller and her staff fo­cused on em­brac­ing the veter­ans com­mu­nity by us­ing the branches ser­vices, classes and re­sources to help the veter­ans — many of whom come from nearby Perry Point VA Med­i­cal Cen­ter — achieve their goals, she said.

After that she re­turned to man­age the Elk­ton branch for three years, over­see­ing the re­design of the branch that saw the cre­ation of the pop­u­lar cafe area and ex­panded teen space. Miller spent the last three years as as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of pub­lic ser­vices be­fore be­ing ap­pointed in­terim di­rec­tor in July.

Now with the per­ma­nent di­rec­tor ti­tle, Miller has sev­eral goals for the up­com­ing year and be­yond. One of the most press­ing is prepar­ing to build the new North East li­brary. De­sign is set to start next fall, but in the mean­time there will be lots of work to do eval­u­at­ing other li­brary build­ings, re­search- ing what other sys­tems are do­ing and fig­ur­ing out how to cre­ate a li­brar y that best re­flects the needs of the North East com­mu­nity, Miller said.

“That takes a lot of care, hard think­ing and a lot of lis­ten­ing to and work­ing with the com­mu­nity,” she said.

In the longer term, Miller also hopes to strengthen part­ner­ships with other ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions in the county, par­tic­u­larly Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools and Ce­cil Col­lege. To­gether, these three or­ga­ni­za­tions play an im­por­tant role in help­ing stu­dents and de­vel­op­ing a work­force that will want to stay in the com­mu­nity, Miller said.

But Miller hopes to reach peo­ple not con­nected to tra­di­tional learn­ing cen­ters as well and con­tinue to make the li­brar y an “on­de­mand learn­ing cen­ter.” That in­cludes self- di­rected learn­ing prod­ucts such as Gale Cour­ses and the newly- added Rosetta Stone soft­ware as well as more tra­di­tional means such as books, classes and help from the li­brary’s pro­fes­sional staff, such as in the form of the Small Busi­ness Re­source Cen­ter, she said.

“When you look at li­braries in the scope of ed­u­ca­tion, we re­ally want to em­power all learn­ers in the com­mu­nity,” Miller said. “The li­brary is the com­mu­nity’s knowl­edge base and the go- to- place to learn these kinds of skills.”

As am­bi­tious as those goals may be, they come at a time when the li­brary is tr ying to reach an even higher level of achieve­ment. In 2015, CCPL was awarded the In­sti­tute of Mu­seum and Li­brary Sciences Na­tional Medal, the high­est recog­ni­tion a li­brary can earn.

But while the na­tional medal was a great achieve­ment, Miller said it’s only the be­gin­ning for CCPL. She re­called a Washington Post ar­ti­cle from a few years ago where Mark Zucker­berg, the founder of Face­book, was in­ter­viewed about his com­pany at a time when many peo­ple be­lieved Face­book had reached the pin­na­cle of its suc­cess. At the time, Zucker­berg said some­thing like, “Face­book’s story is only 1 per­cent told,” Miller re­called.

“I think you can draw some par­al­lels be­tween that state­ment and the Ce­cil County Pub­lic Li­braries,” she said. “We are more fo­cused on the prom­ise of the fu­ture and what’s to come. We have a much longer and larger story to tell.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Mor­gan Miller was named the new di­rec­tor of Ce­cil County Pub­lic Li­braries last week.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Mor­gan Miller, new CCPL di­rec­tor, poses with a few of her fa­vorite books from the past year.

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