July 26, 2018
By David Nordby The Brillion News
BRILLION – After serving as an adult services librarian for Marathon County Public Library in Wausau for almost four years, Rachel Hitt has found her way to director of the Brillion Public Library. She’s been the director for close to one month now, replacing long-time director Chris Moede.
Hitt brings with her experience, an interesting educational background and the knowledge that libraries won’t become a thing of the past.
Hitt grew up in Richland Center and attended UW-Richland for two years and then transferred to UW-Madison. There she earned an undergraduate degree in Japanese. She carried that over to the University of Michigan and earned a master’s degree in Japanese literature. She returned to UW-Madison to become certified to teach Japanese.
After two years of teaching in Menasha, she moved to the corporate world.
Because Japanese isn’t as widely taught, Hitt had to spend time working on her curriculum, unlike a Spanish course. After teaching, it turned out the corporate world wasn’t what Hitt was looking for either.
“As I was increasingly annoyed with the corporate world I decided perhaps libraries would be a good fit since it has some teaching elements and I’ve always enjoyed reading,” she said.
The master’s degree to become a librarian is a full 39-credit program.
“It was challenging but it’s not medical school,” Hitt describes.
Marathon County was a positive experience for Hitt, she says.
“It was a good way to get professional experience and to develop my skillsets,” Hitt said. “I did miss the small library environment.”
The smaller environment is something that attracted her to Brillion. Richland Center has a population of 5,000.
“There are definite advantages to being in a small town,” she says.
Another thing that attracted her to Brillion is that she has family in Appleton. In her free time, she crochets, reads and listens to audio books, and works in her vegetable garden.
“I’m battling flea beetles. They are my new nemesis,” Hitt jokes.
For two weeks, Hitt observed as much as she could about the Brillion library from Moede.
Libraries have evolved in recent years. Hitt says she views libraries as a “third place,” an expression used to describe somewhere you go between home (first place) and work (second place). Hitt describes libraries as a quiet, but social place similar to a Starbucks.
“It’s not meant to be a quiet undisturbed place where people read silently. It’s meant to be a place of activity and of community,” Hitt said.
Please see the complete story in the July 26, 2018 edition of The Brillion News.