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By Carol Stiffler

After months of searching, the Tahquamenon Area Library has a new director at the helm. Brain Freitag, a Wisconsin native with roots around the country, took over the position on July 6.

Freitag is an Army veteran who specialized in data and intelligence. After leaving the service to marry his wife, Linda, he held various positions in Indiana and Washington, teaching art and becoming a library media technology specialist at the Christian Academy of Indiana. In Washington, he served as Library and Computer Lab Manager for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

Freitag is currently living in a 34-foot RV on a campground in Curtis, with his wife, six cats, and two dogs.

He is an avid reader, too — his six rescue cats are all named after authors. There’s Poe, Dickens, Lewis, JR (for J.R.R. Tolkein), Shelley, and Shelby, named after Shelby Foote. His wife has published a book of her own on Amazon.

The Freitags opted for the RV lifestyle in 2014, though they’re now planning to park the RV, with perhaps the help of companies like rv storage edmonton north, and buy a home in Newberry.

They first traveled through Newberry on a motorcycle trip shortly after they got married, and Freitag said they kept the Great Lakes in their heart through it all.

“That’s where we always wanted to finish out,” he said. “We are so very, very pleased to be back in this environment.”

When he found the job posting for the Tahquamenon Area Library director position, he was sure it wasn’t a coincidence.

While here, Freitag will work to make sure people of all ages feel welcome at the library.

“I see the library as a community hub where people who would not normally come together will come together,” he said.

A library is much more than a place where people check out books. These days, a library is also a place to access the internet, to get help with technology certifications, to find tax information, and much more. Freitag plans to offer his expertise but also to listen to what the community and attached school wants from the library.

“I would like to see more youth here,” he said. “I am very open to what the public would like to see.”

Freitag has shared his work email address, TQdirector@tahquamlibrary.org, for input or suggestions from the community.

Sue Tokar, who is a member of the Tahquamenon Area Library Advisory Board, assisted in the search for a new director.

“The Advisory Board was impressed with Brian’s lengthy experience in various library settings, his familiarity with uses of technology by youth and adults, and knowledge of grant procedures,” Tokar said.

“Brian believes as we do that the Library is an important part of the community it serves, a welcoming place for patrons of all ages,” she said. “He is comfortable engaging with others, immediately putting them at ease with a sense of humor and clear explanations.  The Advisory Board was pleased to hear of his interest in exploring an area’s history, as well as his experience working on a reservation in Washington state, and his interest in Native American culture.”

Also a bonus: Freitag is comfortable with our snowy winters, Tokar said, and hit the ground running on July 6.