Carbon County Library System welcomed Jacob Mickelsen as its new director on July 25. A Wyoming native, born in Casper and raised in Riverton, Jacob originally moved to Carbon County to take a position as the Saratoga Branch Manager. Most recently, he worked as the social services director at a local nursing home.
Before moving to Saratoga, he worked at the Riverton Branch Library, primarily in teen services. He credits the staff there, particularly Shari Haskins and Gloria Brodle, for encouraging him to work toward a career in librarianship. “They really inspired me to pursue this. I can thank both of them for getting me into the field that I have come to love.”
Jacob takes the helm during a difficult year for the library system, which is facing significant funding issues. “I really just want to maintain our services despite the budget cuts,” Jacob said. Those currently include seven branches in addition to the central library in Rawlins. “We have more individual libraries than any other county library. That’s really kind of special. In other systems, every little town doesn’t get its own library. So we get to be in tune with all our smaller communities.”
The library is about halfway through a series of town meetings that will help them get a firmer understanding of each community’s unique needs. “In one of them, the library might be important because of meeting space, in other it might be internet access, while people in another might be really into our programs.” Community input will also be gathered online.
He’s excited about the town meetings and also about the prospect of amping up teen services, particularly in the two largest libraries in Rawlins and Saratoga.
“I’ve been asked just today by patrons how to contact the local workforce office, for directions to Native American historical sites, and for advice on what video game to get a teen for his birthday. Where else but a library could a person have a day like that?”
Jacob attended Central Wyoming College, where he worked as a library circulation clerk, and is currently working on a bachelor’s in international affairs through the University of London. In his spare time, he is the head coach of the Saratoga High School speech and debate team (“Go Panthers!”) and enjoys the outdoors, specifically hiking and kayaking. He is the owner of two literary cats: Rudyard Kipling and H.P. Lovecat.