Keith Hanson, the new manager of the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Karl Road Branch, was introduced to patrons at last week's 25th anniversary celebration of the Northland location.
Hanson, who has been with the library for slightly more than 12 years, takes the place of Tony Howard, who had been manager of the Karl Road and Northern Lights branches. He will now be solely the manager at Northern Lights, which is in the beginning stages of a major planned expansion project.
"I have early memories of going to the library when I was growing up in the Cleveland area with my mother," Hanson said. "She instilled a love of reading very early in my life."
But working in a library wasn't his first career choice. He moved to Columbus to attend Ohio State University. Hanson initially planned to earn a degree in fisheries management in the School of Natural Resources, but organic chemistry defeated him. He decided instead to switch his major to English.
"My career at the library started as a customer," Hanson said.
After "discovering" the Main Branch of the library, Hanson took a part-time job to earn some money. His first post was in the sorting room of the main branch in downtown Columbus.
"I've literally worked my way from the basement up," he joked.
Hanson found a full-time job after graduating from OSU, ironically at the Karl Road library.
"I have done a variety of positions at the library," he said.
Most recently, he was youth services manager at the branch on South High Street. He was at the Linden Branch prior to that for four years and spent time at the Hilltop Branch, where he first worked in youth services.
"I realized this was where I wanted to be as a career, helping people find what they need and instilling the love of reading as my parents did to me," Hanson said.
He added that he is very much looking forward to his new assignment.
"I'm really excited to be here," Hanson said. "Just seeing the buzz that is in the branch every day, I am excited to get to know the community and see how they utilize the Karl Road Branch.
"Every location has things that are unique to it with their customer base and their collection," he added. "I'm just really interested in seeing what the customers here are into. I can share my interests and learn from the customers, too. I think it's great to see how much diversity is here."
In his short time at the branch being shown around by Howard, Hanson said he's met people who recall him from his first stint and others who have been patrons dating back to the former location on Morse Road.
"I think it's great the way Tony has paved the way," Hanson said. "I'm excited to help become a part of that and be a place that's welcoming to all."
The Columbus Metropolitan Library has had a branch in the Northland area for 45 years, according to the announcement from the marketing department regarding the anniversary gathering. The branch on Morse Road opened in 1968 and closed in 1988 after the Karl Road library was built.