Brian Edwards has been in the library industry since 1999, when he started at his local library in Alameda, where he stored books. He was into the arts in his youth, and the librarian streak runs in the family – his grandmother was a librarian and storyteller. She was fired at one point, but Edwards made library service her lifelong career.
And on August 12, he will move to become the new director of the Monterey Public Library, replacing outgoing director Inga Waite, who is retiring.
“I love serving the community,” says Edwards, who comes with her partner, son and three pets to California’s first public library. Her son, Derek, is about to open a kindergarten.
One of Edwards’ immediate goals as library manager will be to “open up more”, providing more services and more access, which is still lacking after the Covid break. (Current hours of operation for the Monterey Public Library are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.)
“I’m excited about the powerful collection of historical materials the museum has,” says Edwards, hoping to make them more accessible as well. As another task, he sees remodeling and maintaining facilities built in the 1950s. The biggest challenge and work ahead, not just for the Monterey Public Library, but for libraries nationwide, is full digitization. Not that physical objects, books and DVDs, go anywhere.
“In a time when people are buying fewer DVDs, the library can be a better resource than ever,” says Edwards.
The new director of the library will resume his responsibilities on Tuesday 16 August. Along with the City Manager’s Office, he will also oversee Monterey’s Museums and Cultural Arts Division, including programs and services at four historic sites: Colton Hall Museum and Old Jail; Pacific Biological Laboratories; Cannery Row workers’ huts; and the Presidio Museum of Monterey, as well as the Alvarado Art Gallery at the Monterey Conference Center.
Prior to coming to Monterey, Edwards served as director of the library division at the Alameda County Library, overseeing library services at Fremont’s four public libraries. From an entry-level position for the Alameda 22 years ago, Edwards worked his way up to division director in 2018. He has a master’s degree in library science, a Master of Public Administration in Management and Policy Analysis and a Bachelor of Studio Art. .
Edwards believes libraries should be an inclusive community hub. “I still remember the sense of wonder I felt as a toddler when my mother rehearsed her stories and songs with me before heading into her role at the library,” he said. writing.
As a reader, Edwards likes Christopher Moore, an American comic fantasy writer and, more recently, non-fiction writer Malcolm Margolin, who has written extensively about California’s native communities and the state’s natural beauty.
“Brian’s combination of library management experience, passion for museum administration, and value in community connection and tradition has truly made him an ideal candidate to move the Monterey Public Library forward into the future. Monterey Public Library Board Chair Jennifer Fellguth said in a press release.