Cambridge Public Library has a new library director who says he really likes being in a small-town library setting.


In fact, Jay Robinson’s number-one goal for his first year: “To get fully acquainted with the people of Cambridge, get to know them and what they’d like to see with the library.”


Robinson, a native of Baxter now living in Ames, has worked in a number of different libraries, both bigger and smaller. Holding a master’s degree from the library school at the University of Iowa, Robinson also, at one point in his life, studied at United Seminary in the Twin Cities and became a pastor.


Both professions, he said, involve working with people, which he loves. But he only lasted in the pastor profession a few years before the books — a love he just can’t be separated from — brought him back to libraries.


The pull of both professions was helping people, and as a librarian, he said, “I love connecting books and information with people. I like to bring these together.”


His very first library job was in Newton, from 1990-1993. After being a pastor, he returned to libraries in 1998, working at the library of Simpson College as a systems librarian, with the main duty being catalog management.


Around 2000, he took a job with the Ames Public Library as children’s librarian, and from there, he went to Poynette, Wis., in 2003, as the library director. It was his first job as a library director and the one that most matches up to the job in Cambridge. The communities, he said, are similar in size.


After a couple years in Poynette, Robinson decided to move his career abroad to the beautiful land of New Zealand. He thoroughly enjoyed his time, 13 years, in New Zealand, where he worked in five different libraries (even one in nearby Australia).


It was family — his mother getting up in years — that brought him back to Iowa, so he could be closer to her and his other four siblings, who all live in Iowa. He took a job as library director at Cedar Falls, and then he took a break from work to be in Baxter to care for his mother. When he saw the part-time opportunity in Cambridge, it seemed perfect for him as he was ready to have less hours of work each week.


Sadly, he started the job in Cambridge in December on the very week that he lost his mother. But being back in Iowa and being able to spend some of her last years reconnecting, “I wouldn’t trade that time with mom for anything,” he said.


Robinson, who recently settled in Ames, now looks to be working in Cambridge for a while. He was attracted to the job, he admitted, because of the beautiful new city center in Cambridge where the library is located.


One idea that he sees the potential for with the overall facility is hosting librarian professional gatherings. “We can offer a resource (with this facility) to the larger population,” he said.


But he also loves that the larger facility where Cambridge’s library is located can also be a resource to Cambridge residents to do more things too.


The Cambridge Library, as Robinson sees it, is well-positioned for the future. “I give full credit to the previous work that’s been done (with this library),” he said and adds that his focus will now be on “fine-tuning” things.


Fine-tuning will include updating the collection and working to bring in more programs, as a few examples. One program idea he really wants to see happen is to bring in authors for talks, events that could be open to surrounding libraries and residents as well.


As he talks to and gets to know the residents of Cambridge, he hopes he can help connect them to more of the things they like to read, and this might be through traditional books or through the state’s Bridges program, with e-books.


His own favorite author is Neil Gaiman, he said, who wrote, among other things, “American Gods.”


“What I like about him (Gaiman) is he writes across all different age groups… He’s known for fantasy but has written fiction as well. I like a good storyteller,” Robinson said. He noted that “American Gods” has also been made into a series, which has had one season so far. After reading the book, he’s also watched the series. But, as a good librarian, he said, “I like to say the book is better.”


In addition to reading, obviously Robinson’s favorite pastime, he also enjoys cooking, tramping (or hiking as it’s called in America), movies and, he said, he recently purchased an electric assist bike — which is an outdoor bike that can give you a little boost when you need it.


He’s happy with the present activities of the library — providing a space for people to use computers, look for books, having an early-out program and preschool story time and being a place for Friday’s sewing ladies to gather with their crafts.


As he looks forward to new activities and programs, Robinson said he’s hoping to meet more of Cambridge’s residents. He would love to hear input from the community on what they’d like to see at the library.