Trumbull Library gets new director

New Library Director Stefan Lyhne-Nielsen prepares for the annual One Book One Town program by brushing up on presidential history.

Some people take a new job simply because they want a change of scenery. Stefan Lyhne-Nielsen is most certainly not one of them.

Lyhne-Nielsen, the town’s new library director, comes to Trumbull from a Daytona Beach regional library situated on the Intracoastal Waterway where he could practically see palm trees swaying and dolphins frolicking from his desk.

But if it isn’t a tropical destination, Trumbull does have plenty to offer of the things Lyhne-Nielsen was seeking, including a professional challenge in an area of the country where he has some family roots.

“It was a good fit,” said Lyhne-Nielsen, a native of Munich, Germany, who grew up on Long Island. “The opportunity to work as a director has been a dream of mine, and my wife has family up here. There are a lot of great schools in the area, so Trumbull really met my dream of where I wanted to go professionally combined with family needs.”

Lyhne-Nielsen has been aiming toward a library directorship for years, having earned a master of library services degree from Florida State and a master of public affairs degree from Indiana University.

In doing his research before accepting the position, Lyhne-Nielsen said, he had heard that the Trumbull Library staff had a strong commitment to the community, and that the community itself loved and respected its library.

“And that’s been apparent from every contact I’ve had,” he said.

But if taking over the Trumbull Library was a dream come true, actually relocating has been a bit of a challenge. Lyhne-Nielsen had to pack his belongings and prepare his family house for sale, all while preparing for Hurricane Matthew, which skirted the coast before making landfall in South Carolina.

In his first three weeks on the job, Lyhne-Nielsen said, he has been focused on shoring up the library’s internal structure, and making sure he and the staff share a vision of what the library could be.

“We’re going to be making improvements as we go; we have some ideas about improving access and technology, plus finding a way to increase student rooms.”

Any structural changes to the library, though, will require a lot of advance planning, which is a fact of life with a building that dates back to the 1970s.

“Forty years ago, they didn’t think of libraries as a place where people might need to have a conversation, or a place to learn about and use technology,” Lyhne-Nielsen said. “So we’re interested in making the improvements we can, but we won’t do something just to do something. Whatever we do, we want to make sure it makes sense.”

If making improvements to the library’s infrastructure is a long-term goal, Lyhne-Nielsen’s short-term plan is much simpler: reunite with his wife and young daughters, who are looking forward to the move up north.

“They’ve been belting out the songs from Frozen, looking forward to meeting Elsa and all the other people they imagine live up here,” he said.