Meet the Commissioner: Inese Gruber
Inese Gruber, director of the Windham Public Library, was appointed to the Maine Library Commission to represent the Southern Maine Library District. She is currently serving her second, five-year term. Inese was born and raised in New Rochelle, New York, a suburb of New York City. She graduated from Pace University with a BA in English and an MLS from Queens College.
When asked why she chose librarianship as a career she responded, “In high school I worked at the New Rochelle Public Library after school shelving books. I loved the marble floors, dimly lit stacks and the dumbwaiter we used to move books up and down between the three levels of the library. Since the library was such a busy place, shelving books was a never ending task.”
Choosing a Career
As a work study student at Pace, Inese found herself working in the place she was most comfortable—the Pace University Library. Going from a public to academic library environment was certainly a learning experience to say nothing of the differences between LC Classification and Dewey! “You would think I might want a change, but libraries have always been a comfortable place for me and certainly helpful when I had papers to do as the resources were right at hand.”
By her junior year, Inese made the decision to go into teaching, high school English for lack of any other idea. After a week of student teaching she knew it was not for her. Inese said, “I was a little distressed about being unsure of what I actually wanted to do with my life when a good friend suggested-why not be a librarian? Of course! Why I never thought of it, but the moment she said it I knew that was it.” Thus began her graduate days at Queens College as a part-time student, completing her degree in three years.
While attending graduate school Inese took at job as an assistant librarian for a publishing house in NYC. Prior to receiving her MLS her supervisor left the company and Inese was offered the job of Information Services Administrator. She later went on to work as a librarian for the advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather. Asked about her experience in a special library Inese said, “I loved working in the library there. We had files on products and services that no one had ever heard of yet-HBO and ATMs. Who knew what those initials stood for then, but the librarians were always involved in keeping up with information on the latest trends, demographics, and clipping articles for files everyday. I got an offer a year or so later to be the head librarian at a smaller advertising agency and moved on. I loved working in special libraries. You get very involved in the specific field you are working in and it often involved interesting research.”
Along the way Inese married her husband Frank and they became parents to a daughter named Megan. Deciding to be a stay at home mother, Inese opted to do some freelance research and writing for her previous business publisher that she could do at home.
About 20 years ago, after years of visiting Maine, she and Frank decided to make a lifestyle change while their daughter and new son Tom were still very young. They picked up and moved to Maine, settling in Cape Elizabeth where they still live. Both agree it has been a wonderful place to raise their children.
When Inese decided to reenter the work force, a position as reference librarian opened at the Windham Public Library. She applied, got the job and has been there ever since. In 1996 she became the director.
Her favorite books are Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck and Jane Erye by Charlotte Bronte. According to Inese, “I actually listen to more books than I have time to read. Since I have a bit of a commute, I listen to a wide range of books. I love biographies, memoirs, travel narratives and a smattering of bestselling fiction.”
“If I won the lottery I would travel. We are fortunate to have family and friends in nice places to go visit, one being Maui where we have made a few trips. San Francisco where our daughter lives is becoming a regular trip. We especially love Arizona and can’t wait to get back. Both my husband and I look forward to traveling more extensively in the coming years. We love a good road trip-just get in the car and go. We are looking forward to a cross-country trip in the near future as well. In the meantime I am happy to garden; take long walks; hit the gym; and cook. In the summer you can find me on the beach or in the garden. There is never enough time to do everything!”