Morse Institute Library Names New Director

Jacqui Morton
Issue Date: 
November, 2019
Article Body: 

Jason Homer was ready for the job of director at Natick’s Morse Institute Library. That’s what the Trustees decided before they approached him about the job, in the process of conducting a full search with the support of the Town of Natick’s Human Resources department after the previous director retired. Homer had been serving as assistant director since 2016, overseeing operations for the 66,000 square foot building with a staff of 54 and a $2.2M municipal budget and private endowment.
It was on June 20, 2019 that the Morse Institute Trustees named Jason as director and on July 1, he officially began in the position. Jason’s love of the library and the town of Natick - as an employee and as a resident - means that his job is both a personal passion and a professional pursuit. Just ask him. “I love how involved this community is. From its amazing art to its support of libraries. The Morse Institute is a library like no other, in a town full of engaged and terrific residents. I am excited to be a part of this compelling and invigorating community,” Jason shared with me.
In the coming year under Jason’s leadership, residents can expect to see exciting developments at the Morse Institute, particularly in the Children’s Room, where a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners will allow the staff to reimagine the play space. Another grant will add STEM activities to the Morse Institute’s programming for children and families, and Jason reports there are lots of changes to services to our children coming this year.
The Morse Institute was dedicated and opened in December of 1873, which means that in 2023, the library will celebrate 150 years of service in the community. Jason’s vision is one of an even deeper level of commitment to serving the town’s residents. “As director for the Morse Institute, it is my vision to build, strengthen, and support the staff so that they are able to enrich the lives of the people of Natick,” he says. “The Morse Institute has a fantastic staff with many dedicated and long-term employees, as well as a good mix of new employees excited to work in such a compelling community. As director, it is my job to work with the town and empower the staff to reach new heights in service. I am most excited to show the community the positive and enriching impact of these past 150 years and position the library into success for the next 150 years.” 
Jason brought extensive experience working with library communities to his role as assistant director and in the 3 years he served in that role, he made some significant strides in responding to the wishes of Morse Institute patrons. A community survey in 2016 helped to shape a strategic plan which reflected a need to increase the library’s hours of operation. With the creative collaboration of the staff, Homer phased in more accessibility to the library in three-hour increments. First, Friday evenings until 6pm, which would let commuters grab a book or museum pass for the weekend before heading home, without adding costs to the library’s staffing budget. From there, further problem solving led to more weekend hours and later evening hours, and the community’s desires were realized.
Jason knows Natick is unique in the ways that residents care for each other and he’d love to see the library play a bigger role in this. “There is a group and an organization for every major human service. It is unlike anything I experienced before. And that is the next big focus for me as the director. It’s wonderful to be involved in the community and working with the wonderful partners like SPARK Kindness or Natick Center Cultural District. My big goal in the coming year is to get more of the wonderful librarians at the Morse Institute out into the community. With strong partners, we can work to develop better library services to the community.” 
Natick is lucky to have great libraries and the Morse Institute is grateful to have Jason Homer. For his own reading pleasure, Jason loves fantasy and science fiction, and facilitates a book club for 20 & 30 somethings reading fiction and nonfiction. You might find the new Morse Institute director reading on the second floor, by the cooking section, which is his favorite spot, where the newer library and older library buildings meet. Of that special spot, Jason says, “It’s a beautiful place to study and read.”