Berryville library director settling into her new role
Julie Hall considers herself an Arkansan by choice.
"I grew up in the Midwest and my husband grew up in California, but we've lived together in Arkansas for over 20 years. It feels like home," Hall said.
After accepting the role as the new director of the Berryville Public Library, Hall said she's definitely in Arkansas to stay. Hall and her husband moved to Carroll County last year and purchased a piece of property she deemed their "forever home."
Before moving to Northwest Arkansas, Hall worked in Little Rock and Benton. She recalled how her career began, saying she received a bachelor's degree in social studies and moved to Africa after graduating from college. In Africa, Hall said, she started teaching. She continued to teach for four years.
When she returned to the United States, Hall got certified to teach and did so for 10 years. Teaching was rewarding, Hall said, but she found herself hoping for more.
"I loved teaching but there was that community development side of my passion, too. I felt if I left the classroom I could find a way to work in education in a most holistic way," Hall said.
Hall ended her teaching career and began working with the University of Arkansas on community projects in and around Little Rock. While working with libraries in this role, Hall said, she realized how integral they are to communities.
"It really just kept nagging at me that libraries are such a key institution if we're talking about encouraging lifelong learning," Hall said. "I always loved libraries, and I'm so excited to be here to empower all individuals and build a better community."
As the library director in Berryville, Hall said she doesn't want to change anything that's already working. Her goal for the first few months, she said, is to listen and learn.
"Berryville has a thriving library for such a small town, and I'm not going to change the library people love without listening first," Hall said.
To get an idea of what Berryville residents want to see in the library, Hall has created a survey. The survey will be available throughout November and can be found at the front desk of the library. Anyone who fills out a survey, Hall said, will be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift card to Walmart.
"I'm really trying to get people's ideas -- what they would like to see changed or improved or added," Hall said.
Well-loved programs like Lego Club and Board Game Night, Hall added, will continue as in the past.