Jake Speer, the new Waukee Public Library Director, is new to the City of Waukee, but not new to Iowa.
Speer, who grew up in Ottumwa and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1999, decided to bring his family to Waukee after working as library director in Zionsville, Indiana.
“I have a growing family at the moment,” Speer said. “My son is 3 ½ and my wife and I are expecting twins. Waukee seemed like a great place to raise a family.”
Although Speer has only been on the job for a little over a week, his long-term goals for the library are to expand their community programs.
“I think we have a great staff and some great programs, but I would like to expand those to meet the ever-growing population,” he said. “I’m looking at including more programs for adults like cooking classes because it helps bring more people in from the community and shows we are more than just a library with books.”
Speer would also like to increase the library’s online resources to make it available to patrons at all times.
“There’s a lot of great content we can provide to the public so it would be beneficial to have our library available 24/7,” he said. Speer’s goal before the end of the year is to receive a $3,000 grant from the State Library Association to go toward a selection of Kindle Fires, iPads and Nooks.
“If we are able to get the grant then we can have our staff be more knowledgeable to better assist the public when they come in for questions,” Speer said. “We could have a teen or toddler course for parents on how to use the devices for example.”
Speer added if the library does not receive the grant that the library will still use funds to go toward the technology purchase.
Even though Speer is still becoming acquainted with staff and community members, he says he’s looking forward to becoming a part of the Waukee community.
“I think Waukee is a wonderful community and has just the right amount of growth,” he said. “I’m very excited to be here.”