Tina Norris is the new director of the Hudson Area Library. She says the best part of being a librarian is the opportunity to serve people and do things that help make people’s lives better.

Norris is familiar with the area, having received her undergraduate degree in history and English from UW-River Falls. She also holds a master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina.

Most recently she has been a director with the Cannon County Library System in Tennessee. The service area there was similar to the size of Hudson and served neighboring rural communities. Prior to that she was a librarian in Delano, Minn.

Norris, who has been on the job for about a month,  said she has is spending these early days getting to know her staff and the community.

“The library is here to serve the community. That’s our most important message and the best way to build support for the library. The staff is a very important part of that mission,” said Norris.

Norris believes a library functioning well is critical to the well being of any community.

“Libraries are the cornerstone of liberty and freedom in this country. They serve the broadest spectrum of citizens from the very young to our seniors and everyone in between, regardless of who they are, what they have or what they need.”

Norris believes a library is a great equalizer and must strive to treat every person as an individual and with respect whatever their needs are.

In her previous position, Norris served communities where generations lived in poverty. “We served people in the hollers, where moonshine was still being made. The poverty level was staggering in some places and it was challenging to find ways to serve but we did it and it was so rewarding.”

That isn’t the case in Hudson, but Norris knows there are other challenges here and she welcomes them. Among her early priorities is working with the Hudson Library Foundation to raise the funds to reopen the facility on Mondays.

“Funding is a problem many libraries and communities face but I like to solve problems and take a positive attitude toward them. If you want a positive outcome, that’s where you need to start.”

Norris hopes to help the community understand the important role the library plays in Hudson and why investment in it is good for everyone.

“Libraries are always give a positive return on the investment and are part of the economic development of any community.”

Norris points to everything from patrons using the Internet and onsite computers to look for employment and submit job applications, to providing information that points citizens in the right direction to enhancing the overall appeal of a community and attracting new businesses and new families to the area.

Norris said she is also looking at expanding adult programming at the Hudson library and everything is on the table from cooking to computers and genealogy to a lecture series. “I know we have a lot of resources in the community and we want to make the library a place where people can take advantage of them.”

Norris and her husband Greg, who works for Centerpoint Energy, are at home in Woodbury. They have four grown children, two of whom live in the area.

“I am very happy to be in Hudson and look forward to serving all of our patrons.”