Rhinelander District Library director Ed Hughes announced he is leaving Rhinelander to take a position in Mississippi.
“It is a great opportunity for me,” Hughes said. “It is a large library system in northern Mississippi that covers a wide variety of people.”
Hughes said the system he is going to covers an area from the affluent Memphis suburbs to the poorer Mississippi delta areas to Oxford, Miss., home of the University of Mississippi.
“Really a wide range of people,” Hughes said. “It is very interesting.”
But it is Hughes’ experience with dealing with different areas that made him an attractive candidate for the Mississippi job.
“This job [in Rhinelander] is unique where we work with four towns and one city,” Hughes said. “There are not a lot of people in the country with that kind of experience. That was something the people in Mississippi liked about me.”
Hughes began looking for a job at the start of winter due to family concerns and was looking for a position in warmer climates.
But the Mississippi job was almost a lost opportunity.
“I saw the job posted in December,” Hughes said. “But I was traveling and the were going to close the job in a week so there was no way I could apply for it. But they reopened the job because they didn’t get the resumes they wanted and I applied. I wrote them and said I was glad they reopened the job because otherwise I couldn’t have applied.”
The board in Mississippi was also glad they reposted and offered Hughes the job.
While Hughes is excited about the new opportunity, he is sad to say good bye to the Rhinelander area.
“I really like this area and I am sad to leave,” Hughes said. “We wouldn’t leave if there weren’t other concerns.”
Hughes spent six years leading the Rhinelander library and saw technology and space changes at the library but also learned an important lesson.
“The staff that is there has not changed much,” Hughes said. “They are a great group of people. I learned that if you got something good, leave it alone.”
One area Hughes is happy to have helped change is the working space for his staff.
“When I came I had a very large office,” Hughes said. “So we reshuffled the space to give more room for the staff to work in.”
Hughes said more space is needed and points to the Mississippi system as an example.
“They had a new library down there and it was welcoming and inviting,” Hughes said. “It just makes such a difference. I wish people could see what a new library space can do. I think it is time for that to happen here.”
Hughes has begun the process of relocating to Mississippi but his official last day in Rhinelander will be June 2.