Built in 1999, the Centre Township Library Branch was designed to be a nature lover’s reading paradise. There are two outdoor wooden footbridges over small ponds, several pollinator gardens, a patio, an interior waterfall and a butterfly garden. In the warmer months, you will see frogs and fish, and when the Indiana winter creeps in and a dark night sky approaches more quickly, you can view some stars in the star dome, as you sit surrounded by wooden trees.
Any time of the year, the library is the perfect spot to cozy up to the fireplace with a good book. You may even hear an impromptu concert on the beautiful piano in the cafe area. Centre is the only branch with a drive-up window, so in inclement weather you can pick up your holds from your own vehicle.
Almost exactly a decade ago, Dawn Matthews became the area branch manager, and oversees the Lakeville, and North Liberty branches as well. Throughout her 24 year tenure at the St. Joe County Public Library, Matthews has managed the LaSalle Branch, Reference Desk, Local and Family History, Acquisitions and Collection Development. “I love being a librarian because I get to meet many interesting people,” she explains. “It is like having an extended family and what better job than to be surrounded with people who value life-long learning and reading.” She is passionate about collaborating with her staff to make Centre Branch Library a friendly and welcoming destination. “We love it when we see families reading in the Children’s area or a group of women playing Mahjong in the Cafe.”
Matthews’ book career started when she volunteered at her school libraries in New Albany, Indiana, and then worked as a shelver at the Indiana University Bloomington Library while attending college. For close to ten years she lived in Alaska, worked for the State of Alaska and traveled to wilderness areas and villages that still subsist on hunting and fishing.
She says that her interest in travel and nature emerged when she was young, living in Costa Rica and Ecuador for nearly five years immersing herself in Latin culture. Although Dawn loves to travel and explore new areas, she ultimately returned to Indiana to earn a Masters in Library Science. “I love exploring the rich diversity and beauty of our area, and love Indiana libraries, especially SJCPL,” she shares.
Dawn’s interests include gardening, hiking and being in nature, visiting art museums, traveling, learning Spanish, and baking. She loves reading and talking about books, so when you see her, ask her what she is reading. She has very diverse interests which include literary fiction, but also popular best sellers, romance, historical fiction, and some nonfiction such as biographies and adventure stories. Her favorite books read so far in 2022 are a children’s book, A Place to Hang the Moon, by Kate Albus, a romance, Boyfriend Material, by Alexis Hall, and a nonfiction book, Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris. She helps lead the Historical Fiction Book Club at Centre Branch that meets on the second Thursday of each month. New members are always welcome.
Dawn and the staff at the Centre Branch Library invite you to visit soon and often. They strive to serve readers of all ages with staff recommendations, book clubs, stellar storytimes, and smiling faces. They look forward to seeing you!