Nederland staying within system for new library director

Published 12:27 am Tuesday, October 26, 2021

NEDERLAND — It was a couple weeks back that Molli Hall helped host Nederland High School Key Club students at the library.

“Some of them, I’m looking at and thinking, ‘my gosh, I had y’all in story time when y’all were 2 or 3 years old. Now y’all are sophomores or juniors in high school,’” Hall said.

Since joining the Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library in early 2006, the Nederland native has watched a generation of children grow up utilizing the location’s many services while older patrons take advantage of book, Internet and program offerings.

Starting Monday (Nov. 1) Hall takes over as library director following the retirement of Victoria Klehn.

Hall, who was announced Monday in city hall as the newest department head, has always loved books, telling Port Arthur Newsmedia they offer readers a chance to be someone else or visit someplace else that only one’s imagination can contain.

Molli Hall hands Lila Jennusa a mask as part of the Hughes Public Library’s Dogtober event. (Brad Robichaux/The News)

Her service locally the past 15 years has allowed Hall to integrate herself into the community “because libraries are so much more than just books.”

“We have to keep up with the growing technology, and with that, we also have to keep our community educated in that not everything you read on the Internet is true,” Hall said. “Sometimes you need to come back here and do your research or find someone who can help guide you to the correct answer.”

Foot traffic has decreased dramatically since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hall said, adding those numbers are starting to slowly come back.

“I am so proud of us,” she said. “We’re doing in-person story time again, which I think some people are not aware of. We have open gaming on Thursday afternoons for everyone who wants to attend.”

Hall anticipates leading the library for several months before entertaining the thought of any small changes.

Nederland City Manager Chris Duque said Hall consistently demonstrates leadership and hard work, adding she is dedicated to providing a high level of library services to all patrons.

“She has organized many wonderful events there,” Duque said. “We believe she has the skills to continue the high level of services at the Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library. In my career, I have been fortunate to work with two outstanding librarians; I have full confidence that Mrs. Hall will continue that streak.”

Using a program open to City of Nederland employees, Hall went back to school to obtain a master’s degree in library science from the University of North Texas. As the degree allowed her to better serve the city’s residents, the city matched some of the expense associated with the schooling.

Hall said the program provided the educational background to help out in library functions she would not previously have been able to.

Duque said city leaders are proud of the success associated with the tuition reimbursement program.

“This is the first time it has facilitated a department head-level position,” he said. “The program provides assistance to employees furthering their education that will directly impact the services the city provides. This is a win-win for the community and the employee.”