Profile Q&A with library director, Miriam Andrus

Miriam Andrus was named Library Director of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in June 2018. Andrus brought her experience from her previous role as director of the Big Rapids Community Library, where she only 25 when she started that position.

Under her leadership, the library here  has seen an expansion in programs and resources, addressing the evolving needs of Midland's residents and strengthening the library's role in the community. Andrus, her husband, Jason, and family became part of the Midland community when they moved from Mount Pleasant in 2018.
The library is located at 1710 W. St. Andrews Road in Midland.
Located at 1710 West St. Andrews Road, the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library has been a staple of Midland since 1955. It is named in honor of Grace A. Dow, the wife of the founder of The Dow Chemical Company. The library is a service of the City of Midland. The library provides an extensive collection of books, digital resources, and programs for people of all ages.

Q: What made you choose this profession?

A: I actually came into librarianship by accident. I have a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, and my goal was to become a high school art teacher. While pursuing my teaching certificate, I needed to take some extra credits and enrolled in a K-12 library science program. They were just filler classes, but I liked them more and decided to complete the program. Unfortunately, no school library science jobs were available, so I earned a master's degree in Library Science to pursue a career in public libraries.

Q: How has the library adapted its services to meet the needs of its visitors in the digital age?

A: The library has free Wi-Fi and public computer access, allowing people to telecommute and work remotely. Many residents also use our services as an alternative to paid subscriptions because they're already paying taxes for the library. They’re accessing movies and shows through our Hoopla digital platform and using the Libby app for audiobooks. We have everything from BBC broadcasting to Academy Award-winning films. Why pay for the library and then also pay for a subscription to something else that you could be getting through your library card?

We’re always introducing new and exciting things in the library to connect people to resources. Our adult maker space, the MidLab, offers everything from CNC lasers to 3D printers and embroidery machines. It’s a fantastic space where people can come and try out different creative things, take classes, and learn new skills.

We also have "The Library of Things" service that lends various items from the library. We have a lot of things available, like metal detectors, canning supplies, snowshoes, tables, chairs, and canopies that can be borrowed for yard sales or other events.

Q: What recent initiatives or programs have been particularly successful or impactful?

A: Litcrate is a remarkable program that works like a book subscription service for children, teens, and adults. Every month, you simply fill out a form indicating your preferences, and we will carefully select books for you based on your interests. We will then package them for pickup along with little trinkets that match that particular month's theme. This service is perfect for parents who struggle to get their kids interested in reading or for teenagers who feel like they've read everything and want something new.

We have a support group for adults who are caregivers for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia. It's a great resource for those who need support. They meet at a different time than the one in Midland, providing another option for caregivers in the community. Although it's fairly new, it has already significantly impacted those who have attended. Caregivers need to know that they are not alone in caring for their loved ones and have a support system to rely on.

Q: In what ways does the library make connections within the Midland community?

A: Our mission at the library is to connect people to resources. Our librarians are always available to assist in any way they can through phone calls, texts, emails, or in person. They can connect you to resources, be it a book, material, or information about a nonprofit group in town. We get asked over 70,000 reference questions every year, and we're happy to help you with whatever resources you need.

The library offers many programs and activities for students.
We’re working hard to make the library a “third place” where people can spend time outside work or home. We offer an auditorium, conference rooms, and general spaces that people can use without rental fees. The physical building is being used more and more, making the library a community hub.

We have a lot of wonderful partners who also help connect people to resources. We are always looking at ways to expand these partnerships with other organizations to continue connecting people with things they’re interested in and make Midland a great community.

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Read more articles by Misty Barron.

Misty Barron is a Mid-Michigan native who has proudly called Midland her home for the past six years. She served as Editor-in-Chief for the Delta Collegiate, where she earned various awards for her writing, including Journalist of the Year in 2023 from the Michigan Community College Press Association. In her free time, Misty enjoys spending time with family and friends and enjoying all our beautiful state has to offer.