People of Etowah - Craig Scott

December 8, 2017 chris
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Name: Craig “Library Guy” Scott

Where were you born and raised?

“I’m a transplanted Yankee. I was born in Flint, Michigan, raised in Lansing, Michigan and moved to Gadsden in 2002.  However, when I was a junior in high school, my father (a federal veterinarian) was transferred from Michigan to Vermont. So, I graduated from Spaulding High School in Barre, Vermont, but returned to Michigan for my college years.”

What is your occupation?

“Librarian, Adult Services at the Gadsden Public Library.”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“When I enrolled at Michigan State University in East Lansing, I went to the Student Services Office my freshman year and applied for a campus job. I was assigned to work at MSU’s main library. That began my career in library services, which has been a wonderful career! On the other hand, my younger brother Jon did the same thing when he entered MSU and he was assigned a campus job working with the Michigan State football team, which led him to his current position as Vice-President of Equipment Operations for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. So, librarian versus an NFL career. Oh well!”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“I have two children, Alex and Kaelin (both live near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Alex is married to Samantha and they have two children, my grandchildren Sophie and Duncan. My daughter Kaelin graduated in 2010 from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. (Roll Tide!) My absolute best friend and partner for life, Genny Fresh, and I live in Gadsden’s historic district downtown and we have two West Highland White Terriers, Gabby (age 16) and Mya (age 13). Genny’s two children are Brynn and Jake Crain. Brynn is an Assistant District Attorney for Etowah County. Jake works for the City of Gadsden’s Public Works Department and is the father of Genny’s granddaughter, McCartney..”

What school or schools have you attended?

“I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Michigan State University in East Lansing and my Master’s degree in Library and Information Technology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.”

Describe an average day in your life.

“After graduating from the University of Michigan, I had two choices for a career: entering either “library world” or “publishing world.” I chose publishing and worked for the McGraw-Hill Companies for 23 years and became Group Vice-President handling the eastern side of the country (east of the Mississippi) for one of McGraw-Hill’s larger divisions. In 1999, I was recruited to join another information services company, First American Corporation.  I became Regional Vice-President of their Real Estate Information Solutions Division. Working for both these major publishers was a wonderful experience with many opportunities to travel plus work with a talented staff of coworkers. It also brought me into the corporate side of business: long hours that became longer over the years, handling multi-million dollar budgets, meeting high pressure deadlines and managing large teams of employees and at the expense of my family. So, in 2006, I retired, but then had an opportunity to experience “library world” where I found my current job at the Gadsden Public Library. I was hired by Amanda Jackson 10 years ago. And I’m so glad I made the change! So, what’s an average day like? Life at the Gadsden Public Library is never the same from day to day. You’d think I’d be reading all day long and shelving books. Hardly. From instructing customers how to dig through their genealogies to uncover hidden family treasures, to scanning and archiving historic photographs of Gadsden and Etowah County, to teaching all of the library’s computer classes (primarily for senior citizens), to dealing with those who are homeless and needing assistance, to even being Dumbledore and representing the library during Gadsden’s 2017 Christmas Parade last weekend, life is never dull! And, importantly, working at the library has given me an opportunity to give back to my community by getting involved and helping others less fortunate.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I’m an avid football fan (“Go Green” for Michigan State and then it’s “Roll Tide” for Alabama!). I also enjoy playing golf when there is time and researching my own family genealogy using the resources available at the Gadsden Public Library to uncover amazing stories I never knew.  And, like everyone, I’ve learned some of my family stories are very good and some not so good! For example, my 9th great-grandmother was found guilty of witchcraft and hung by the neck at the public gallows in Hartford, Connecticut back in the 1600’s. Fortunately, she had a daughter otherwise, you’d be interviewing someone else, since I wouldn’t be sitting here at all.”

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“No doubt my children and grandchildren Alex and Kaelin plus Brynn and Jake along with Sophie, Duncan and McCartney!”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“Not one, but three. God first and then my parents, Ron and Shirley Scott (both deceased). My father was a federal veterinarian for 30 plus years stationed in Michigan, Washington D.C. and Vermont. My mother was a registered nurse who specialized in neonatal care. Mom and Dad were always my “go-to’s” for advice (whether I wanted it or not), they set the rules and expectations but also raised me to always be myself. I attribute my success directly to them.”

Are you involved in any service organizations?    

“Yes: Alabama Library Association – Chair of Strategic Planning; Alabama Public Library Division – Member; American Library Association – member; RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Etowah County) – vice chair; MANNA (Metropolitan Area Noon Nutrition Association) – board member; OLLI program – University of Alabama – Gadsden Center – volunteer instructor; CommUnity Thanksgiving Celebration – United Way – “To-Go Captain”; VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) – current chair; Council on Aging of Etowah County – former board member and fundraising chair; American Red Cross of Etowah County – former board secretary; and Habitat for Humanity – former board member.”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“Small town/big town. I’ve lived and worked in many large cities around the country, including Chicago, Detroit, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Birmingham. In large cities, at least in my experience, there is no hometown feel at all. No one ever gets to know even their next-door neighbors. But, Gadsden is different. We do have that hometown feel which is important to me. So much so that Gadsden is now my hometown and always will be. Our city is small enough to get to know others (and, yes … I have heard it can be a disadvantage … hahaha). Yet Gadsden is also large enough to offer wonderful opportunities similar to those in larger cities: the arts, music, theater, excellent pubs and restaurants, the Falls, walking and biking trails and, of course, great programming at the Gadsden Public Library.  We even have a satellite campus of the University of Alabama offering, among many others, an OLLI program for senior citizens with fun classes, travel, a supper club and all designed to help keep seniors active and with new friends.”

What would you like to see change in the community?

“The same as many others have suggested. The river should be Gadsden’s primary focus. I am so glad to see the city moving ahead with riverfront development. That will increase new businesses investing in our town, which will help create more jobs bringing more folks into our community. I also like the concept of the Mega Sports Complex being built, and wouldn’t it be spectacular to have the new proposed Toyota/Mazda billion-dollar manufacturing plant sitting right off I-59 at the Little Canoe Creek Megasite? A dream? Perhaps. But it’s not impossible, and team efforts by both the county and city should be taking place now to make that dream a reality.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Compassionate, patient and customer-focused.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“Played tenor sax and marched four years in the Spartan Marching Band during my college years at Michigan State and had a blast.”

What is your favorite quote? 

“Gadsden is not a reading town.” ~ Gadsden’s mayor, 1904

What is on your bucket list?

“To visit Scotland, Italy and also Monroeville, Alabama. Find time to do more work on my family history. Retire someday.”

What is your hidden talent?

“Juggle and play the clarinet, but not at the same time.”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you?

“Kelsey Grammer because many have said I look like Frazier.”

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“It’s okay to not eat your brussel sprouts even when your mother says you must or you’ll sit at the dinner table staring at them all night long.”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.