The Ulysses Public Library announced recently that Laura Mielenhausen will be joining the library staff as its new director. She will start in the position Oct. 11.
She arrived in the area on Oct. 4. “We have a rental house lined up in Jacksonville,” she said, adding that she hopes to buy a house once her family is settled.
She and her husband were hoping to relocate to be closer to their families—hers in Rochester and his in Massachusetts—and the opening at the library fit the bill.
In her former job as senior librarian within a 41-library system in the Minneapolis area (Hennepin County) she was the support person for librarians and associate librarians.
She graduated from 2010 with a library degree. She then moved to California to pursue a library job for two years before relocating to the Twin Cities in January 2013.
Mielenhausen has her undergraduate degree in music education.
“Growing up I was always involved in music and plays and choir,” she said. She got her degree in music education but found after one year of teaching that it was not the career for her. She then taught preschool and fell in love with story time. She was trying to think of ways to combine her love of music and working with youth and the community when her husband suggested she enter the library science program at the University of Washington.
Now that she has more than 10 years of professional experience under her belt, she believes the timing is right to take a supportive, organizational role.
“I’ve been the direct practitioner of three story times per week with high energy for so long that I am ready to support that as someone else’s goal now,” Mielenhausen said. “And I love project management—having a goal and figuring out all the steps to get there.”
Mielenhausen grew up in a suburb of Rochester, so moving to a small town like Trumansburg is a new experience. “I’m really excited for the different type of library work, where the community knows the staff really well,” she said.
“I’m personally very interested in homesteading and growing my own food, so being in a small town and having space to work on my gardening skills and to have chickens—we’re excited,” she added.
She has two sons, Gus, 4, and Ambrose, 2, and her is looking forward to familiarizing herself with the Trumansburg Central School District.
One of her main goals to figure out how she can best serve everyone in the community.
“Hennepin County has some of the worst racial disparities of anywhere in the country, so I’ve been working with partners to look at the experiences of residents—asking who is left out, what are we offering—and one thing I talked about when I did a presentation as final candidate is wanting to learn a lot about the services being offered and to be out in the community figuring out who is not aware of library services and how to connect better with those folks.”
She said she wishes she could do all the things she would normally do when starting this new job, like popping into meetings of local business owners, but they will likely have to wait due to COVID-19. Still, she is looking forward to meeting all the library staff in person, and she will be trained by current librarian Ksana Broadwell for a couple weeks before Broadwell departs.
”I’m excited to meet people and learn about the community and to design library services around what the community wants to see,” she said.