ADA — After a lifetime of moving from one place to another, Rhett Grant, Ada Public Library’s new director, is happy to call the village ‘home.’

Raised in Mobile, Alabama, the family moved north to upstate Wisconsin while Grant was still a child. Several years later, the family reversed course and headed back south, where Grant stayed through college.

A graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, Grant received his Baccalaureate degree in History in 1995, then pursued dual Master’s degrees in History and Library Science. While the History Master’s fell by the wayside — “I just never wrote my Master’s thesis,” he explained — his pursuit of a Master’s in Library Science stuck.

In the process, he met his first wife and assumed a teaching position at a school in Michigan, returning to USM over the summer after his first year of teaching to complete the degree. His thesis revolved around fairy tales, with a tie-in to a series of extremely popular books.

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“There were only three Harry Potter books at the time, so I only had to a study of the three Harry Potter books to determine whether it was a fairy tale or not,” Grant said.

And, according to his research and determination, they were.

“I kind of new that to begin with, but I liked that I could write my Masters project on Harry Potter,” Grant said, laughing.

After receiving his Master’s, he returned to Michigan where he took a position with a local library. There, he worked in a variety of positions, getting hands-on experience in all areas of library science.

While his professional life flourished, his personal life took a turn. After the dissolution of his marriage, Grant, in the throes of what he described as “a mid-life crisis,” returned south to Georgia and took work where he could find it. Ultimately, he met his second wife, Jill, an attorney, and began the process of returning to the career he loved, working in libraries. Unable to secure a position locally — as with many library systems, those in the near south were struggling financially — Grant expanded his search nationwide and it was Jill who discovered the Ada posting.

“My wife didn’t like the idea of Michigan,” Grant said. “But Ohio? She thought that was great.”

Here, coincidence played a role. Grant and the library’s former director, Amanda Bennett, had worked together as librarians in Hillside, Michigan.

And that, as they say, is the history. As for the future, though on the job for just a couple of weeks, Grant is already making plans, including the consideration of book deliveries to the homebound and Geocaching, an outdoor game that uses GPS devices to locate hidden objects. Players find the object and record their find on-site and in the Geocache app.

“I like working with people,” Grant said. “I like the public. Ada is the perfect size. I don’t have to just sit in the office. I can come out and work with the customers, with the people who live here in Ada.”