Brehm hired as new library director

Faith Brehm stared her new role as library director on Jan. 3. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     There is a new face behind the desk at the Monticello Public Library, assisting patrons.

   On Jan. 3, the library welcomed Faith Brehm as the new director, replacing Michelle Turnis following her resignation at the end of 2022.

   Brehm is no stranger to Monticello. She is a 2013 graduate of Monticello High School.

   “I am familiar with the community and people know me,” she said of growing up in Monticello. “Hopefully feel comfortable coming to me so I can help fulfill the needs of the community.”

   Following high school, Brehm attended Cornell College in Mount Vernon, where she earned a degree in English: Creative Writing/Economics and Business. She then went on to receive her master’s degree from the University of West Florida in English: Creative Writing.

   Brehm enjoys learning new things. Her education doesn’t stop there. She has applied to the University of Iowa (her first choice) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn a master’s in library science.

   A couple of weeks ago, Brehm started working toward her State of Iowa library certification, needed to become a public library director.

   “I hope to finish it up in March,” she said.

   Pursuing a degree in library science is not something Brehm sought following her recent hiring. It’s pure coincidence.

   “I consider myself a forever student,” she said. “In my free time, I just don’t know what to do, so it’s been something I was already thinking about doing.”

   She said her background in English, she thought this second master’s would be the next progression.

   “And it’ll be a good fit with my library job.”

   Brehm previously worked at Iowa Wesleyan University and Clarke University. She was looking to be back, closer to her family.

   “Living in Dubuque was not quite the same,” she said. “I want to give back to the community that raised me.”

   Since she started working at the library, Brehm has enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces, as well as new residents in the community.

   “People who taught me in school have come to see me and wish me well,” she said.

   She’s also introduced herself at a Monticello Rotary Club meeting, promoting the library.

   “The public library is one of the last places people can access free books, movies (DVDs), free experiences,” she said. “There’s still that perception out there that all we do is check out books.”

   Brehm said she wants to expand people’s horizons in terms of what they think about a public library.

   A new experience for Brehm has been attending Monticello City Council meetings, something all city department staff are asked to do. These department heads provide updates to the council at every meeting.

   Librarians Molli Hunter and Penny Schmit have been helping Brehm learn the ins and outs of the library these last several weeks.

   “They have been really great about showing me the day-to-day stuff,” she said. “Everyone has been very welcoming and helpful.”

   She’s already thinking of new and exciting ideas to implement within the library, such as expanding the Library of Things. As a lover of plants, Brehm would like to offer a seed library come this spring.

   “From a personal perspective, I’ve been brainstorming a few things,” she offered.

   She is also looking into grant opportunities to add to the library’s STEM offerings for children and youth.

   “We want kids to have access to things they wouldn’t have the ability or chance to otherwise.”

   Brehm would also like to see more middle school and high school-aged kids return to the library, whether it’s to check out a book or join the library’s Teen Advisory Board (TAB).

   Brehm has also been able to be a part of current programming such a Music & Melody. Some upcoming programs at the library in the works are Arm Chair Traveler and the ever-popular Summer Reading Program.

   Outside of the Monticello library, now that she’s returned to her hometown, Brehm hopes to become more active.

   “I want to get more involved,” she offered, having grown up in Camp Fire and Sacred Heart Church.


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