Longtime library volunteer, coordinator named director

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published March 8, 2018

 Former Harrison Township Public Library assistant director and volunteer Melissa Goins was recently appointed as the new library director.

Former Harrison Township Public Library assistant director and volunteer Melissa Goins was recently appointed as the new library director.

Photo by Donna Agusti

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — One of the library’s most devoted volunteers, and eventually an employee, has now been named its new director.

The Harrison Township Public Library’s board last week agreed to appoint Melissa Goins to the $60,000-salaried position, which was vacated in late November by the very first paid director, Dan Hutchins.

Goins, who has a master’s degree in library and information science from Wayne State University, began as a library volunteer in 2010 and has been a key figure in library operations since.

She has served as a library volunteer, library coordinator, volunteer director and has been the paid assistant director since 2015.

“The library has come a long way since I first walked through its doors as a library visitor in December of 2009,” she said. “I loved it from the start. I was amazed at not only the dedication and determination of the volunteers that established it, but the community atmosphere that was humming within it. I wanted to be a part of it and volunteered to help. I never thought I’d still be walking through these doors eight years later, but I couldn’t be happier that I am. I look forward to serving the library in a new capacity.”

The board is confident that Goins will continue moving the library forward into the future. She was chosen out of five applicants for the position.

“Melissa has the qualifications and she has that connection to the community,” said Library Board President Dianne Marvaso, referring to the work that Goins, and countless others, put in to spread the word about the library millage in 2014. “That’s important.”

Marvaso added that Goins has been instrumental in bringing big changes to the library, including new and exciting programs for patrons of all ages, as well as more educational classes for local students.

“She’s just so enthusiastic and so dedicated to the library,” Marvaso said.

The Harrison Township Public Library was established as a volunteer library in October of 2009, and began as a community-funded entity after the millage passed in 2014.

Hutchins was hired in June 2015.

During his time at the library, Hutchins oversaw 11 paid employees and was instrumental in turning the library into a 40-hours-per-week institution; he worked to launch the e-book system as well as downloadable music and Consumer Reports online. He also got the library involved in the ConnectEd program, which offers assistance to local students with an array of educational and job-seeking services.

Hutchins is now the director of a seven-library district system in Berrien County.

After Hutchins left, Goins became interim director while a search for his replacement commenced.

Library membership cards are now free to Harrison Township residents. The library is part of the Suburban Library Cooperative, and it participates in an interlibrary borrowing system with more than 400 libraries across the state. Members have access to millions of items free of charge.

For more information about the Harrison Township Public Library, visit htlibrary.org, call (586) 329-1261 or email librarian@htlibrary.org.