Grier Carson Named Library Director

Grier Carson

The Monroe County Public Library Board of Trustees confirmed the appointment of Grier Carson as Director of the Library, effective May 6, replacing Marilyn Wood upon her retirement. 

“I’m honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead this great library at such a unique and transformative time,” Carson said. “I’m also grateful for the chance to learn so much from Marilyn over the past several years.”

Carson began his path to librarianship here in Bloomington. As an undergraduate at Indiana University, he studied English literature and art history and received his Master of Library Science degree in 2006. His career led him to Lake Forest Academy, a boarding school in Illinois where he worked his way from librarian to Director of Libraries and Academic Technology.

Carson moved back to Bloomington in 2013 when he became the Director of Putnam County Public Library, overseeing important renovations and expansions and increasing outreach efforts. In 2018, seeking library work closer to home, he became Access and Content Manager at MCPL, and in 2020, Associate Director, working alongside Wood to navigate the Library through the pandemic and plan for the future.

“I love Bloomington by bike,” Carson said. “I’ve been pretty much everywhere that’s even remotely accessible via bike and I get to bike to and from work every day––which is something of a lifelong dream.”

In discussing the future of the Library, Carson acknowledges the many facets of any public library in this day and age, including new collections and experiences, community partnerships, the evolving concept of literacy, and equity.

“Developing collections that represent diverse backgrounds and experiences will continue to be a priority for us, despite the increasing challenges to intellectual freedom in libraries posed by numerous campaigns to either impose restrictions on what we can select or remove items from our collections entirely,” Carson said. “I believe that the way we support and facilitate intellectual freedom will continually be redefined by digital technologies––and at greater speeds and with ever-greater implications for the average citizen.

Carson acknowledges that diversity is a broad and complex idea. “As a Library, we directly serve and support individuals. Our true ‘product,’ if we want to call it that, is a process of discovery that can contribute to enlightenment on the part of library users. Whatever that might look like, one of its greatest manifestations is a desire to strengthen community.”

Carson’s primary Library belief is that everyone has both the ability and the responsibility to think for themselves and that public libraries, through responsive collection development, programs, and services, have a responsibility to facilitate that independence of thought.

“Personally, I’m interested in how new technologies transform the human experience, and I’m fascinated by the disruptive impact technology continues to have on our shared sense of meaning and beauty, particularly the aesthetic and narrative experiences of art, music, and literature.”

Carson’s family has a small home library of their own––somewhere around 3,000 books. “Apart from being an incredibly successful piece of technology itself, the book is a physical manifestation of memory––and that’s probably why it feels so good to work at a library and then go home to be surrounded by more books.”

Some favorites of his collection include The Age of Spiritual Machines (Ray Kurzweil), In Search of a Concrete Music (Pierre Schaeffer), The Glass Bead Game (Herman Hesse), and Mortal Questions (Thomas Nagel).

Carson also enjoys video games, including Elder Scrolls 5 “Skyrim”, Horizon Zero Dawn, Portal 2, and Little Big Planet. “I grew up playing video games, and we introduced them to our own kids at a very early age and have been exploring this exciting art form with them ever since.” 

Carson will continue with the planning and construction of the forthcoming Southwest Branch Library, which is scheduled to open in early 2023. Learn more about Carson’s future opportunities for the Library by watching his presentation to the Monroe County Public Library Board of Trustees on Community Access Television Services.

   
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