Michael Gilroy is the current Library Director of the East Haddam Free Public Library in Moodus and the Interim Director of the Rathbun Free Memorial Library in East Haddam. Gilroy grew up on Long Island, attended Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and recieved his Master's of Library Science degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia.
When he's not hanging out in the stacks, Gilroy enjoys hiking and volunteering in our community. About East Haddam, Gilroy says "It’s the ideal small New England town."
Patch spoke with Gilroy to learn more about "the man behind the books." This is what we found out:
Patch: What made you move to East Haddam for this job?
Gilroy: Places like East Haddam are one in a million. I grew up on Long Island in a suburb of New York City. There were cars and people everywhere, nobody knew each other’s name – there was no sense of community.
When I came to East Haddam, I was immediately overwhelmed by how tight-knit it was.
Everyone is so nice and neighborly. People say "hi" to you when you see them, it’s a great feeling. It’s the ideal small New England town. It felt like home from the instant I started work and I knew that I wanted to live here and be a part of this amazing community.
Patch: What do you like best about East Haddam?
Gilroy: The people. Without a doubt, the amazing mix of personalities and hard workers that get involved and care about their hometown. There’s such an overwhelming sense of pride in who they are and where they live, it’s great to be a part of that.
Patch: What would you like people to know about the libraries in town?
Gilroy: The libraries are for everyone, they belong to the community. There’s something for everyone. Whether you like art shows, video games, writing, watching movies, reading books, or just relaxing with friends – the libraries have something to offer you.
In my mind, the libraries are the heart and soul of East Haddam. They provide a common ground for all interests. Modern libraries are becoming more and more like community centers – and that’s my goal, to make the libraries the center of the East Haddam Community.
This town has given me so much to be proud of; I want to add to that by making the libraries a paramount source of town pride.
Patch: What is your favorite book, author and quote?
Gilroy: JRR Tolkien is probably my favorite author. Tolkien took these fantasy tropes that many people thought of as trite or silly and managed to make an epic out of them that has become a classic.
The themes in his novels of friendship and overcoming impossible odds resonate very strongly with so many people.
My favorite Tolkien quote is “It’s the job that’s never started that takes the longest to finish” which is such an amazing way of telling people to “get it done”, do what you need to do and do it now.
If I had to pick a favorite quote from his written work I would go with “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
Patch: What do you do when you're not at the library?
Gilroy: I guess reading would be too obvious of an answer? I like hiking, which is another reason I love our town so much. Of course, I like to take a book with me when I hike. I’m the secretary of the Lions Club, an adviser to the Leo Club, and Sector Leader on the Local Prevention Council.
These things are all fun for me. It’s a great feeling to be involved in the community and help out (and even greater when you have fun doing it). I guess if it helps people and starts with the letter “L”, I’d like to be involved.
I like staying positive. I think that’s very important. Be positive, be involved, and do all the good you can. It’s that philosophy, along with the support of my friends, family, and fiancée that get me through everything.
The Stats: Michael Gilroy, MLS
- Library Director, East Haddam Free Public Library
- Interim Director, Rathbun Free Memorial Library
- Secretary, East Haddam Lions Club
- Advisor, East Haddam Leo Club
- Civic Sector Leader, East Haddam Local Prevention Council (LPC)
- Event Organizer, Family Night on Moodus Green (Annual Christmas Tree Lighting)
- Bachelor of Arts, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY (studied History & Education)
- Master of Science, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA (Majored in Library Science)