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Get to know Muskego's new library director

Loeffel looking to expand program offerings

April 22, 2012

Muskego - If you guessed that a guy whose favorite book as a little boy was the World Almanac would have to be around where people find interesting things out, you'd be right.

In this case, it's Muskego's new library director Pete Loeffel who loves to be in libraries, storehouses of so much knowledge, and he loves to help people explore it to find just what they're looking for.

Last week, the Muskego Library was turned into a bit of a party room for a reception to officially welcome Loeffel to the community and help the community meet him.

Question: So, what's your favorite book?

Answer: "Growing up it was the World Almanac," he says. He was only 7 or 8 when his parents brought an almanac.

"I read it and loved it," he said. It opened the world to him with its statistics and maps.

Ever since then, his parents have given him a new World Almanac every year.

"I actually keep it by my bedside and learn about different things," he said.

But that isn't the only book at his bedside.

"Now I'm reading "Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year." It's a history of Boston's Fenway Park that's celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

"I'm a big baseball fan and I enjoy reading ballpark history," Loeffel said. In fact, he has been a member of the Society for American Baseball Research since 1996.

Q: Why did you go into library science?

A: He fondly remembers Saturdays in the library helping his cousins research reports for school.

"I love assisting people to find information," he said enthusiastically. That's a big reason he went into the library field.

"The library allows me to do that on a daily basis," he said.

And of course, he loves books.

"I read every night," he said, in a comfortable living room chair, in bed or outside on a summer evening.

Q: Are you a good fit for the Muskego Library?

A: Being a fan of National Geographic magazine, the new library director's wide-ranging interests do seem to fit in well with the library's commitment to bringing in programs for children and adults. Loeffel said he wants to nurture that commitment.

The Library Board is fully behind expanding the community programs, said Josephine DeVito-Scalzo, Library Board president. In fact, that is one of the short-term goals the board wanted the new director to tackle, she said.

Looking ahead Loeffel said, "We have the potential to be known for our programs."

He also brings with him 20 years of library experience that will serve the Muskego Library well, DeVito-Scalzo said.

He's good with people and staff and can crunch budget numbers with the best of them, she said.

He comes to Muskego after being library director at the St. Francis Public Library since 2009. Before that, he was at the Shorewood Library as technology manager and librarian.

He was chosen from a field of 14 candidates.

Q: What do you really like about the Muskego Library?

A: The abundance of seating.

"A library is a nice gathering point for the community," he said. There are lots of resources for all ages.

"It's an important place to hang out and enjoy being among things the library has to offer," he said.

His favorite time is after school. That's when students join retired people and young families there and suddenly all ages are enjoying the library.

"I love seeing a wide range of people use the library," Loeffel said.

Likes to run

Loeffel is married and his wife, Jennifer, is the assistant director of the Franklin Public Library. They have two children, ages 7 and 5, and they are busy most weekends going to the zoo, to the museum, to parks, hiking and such.

Loeffel is anything but a couch potato. He runs "a few times a week." Sometimes it's a "short" 3-mile run and other times it's longer.

"I never run with headphones. Running is a time for me to collect my thoughts," Loeffel said. A couple of years ago, he ran a 13-mile half marathon in Indianapolis. It took him one hour and 36 minutes to finish.

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