Meet Jamia Alexander Ball: Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library Whitestown Branch Manager
Last month, the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library (HMMPL) Board of Trustees hired Jamia Alexander Ball to manage the new branch location that is to be built on 11 acres of donated land by the Whitestown Town Council in Whitestown, expanding HMMPL’s service area into Worth Township. Both the HMMPL Zionsville and Whitestown branches will be under the HMMPL Board of Trustees governance henceforth.
Preparing for Her Dream Job
In a sense, Alexander Ball has been preparing for this role since college. She earned an undergraduate degree in anthropology/archaeology from the University of Indianapolis, a master of arts degree in museum studies and a master of library science degree from IUPUI.
Her career in library services began at the North Manchester Public Library in North Manchester, Indiana, in 2013, and she has since held various positions throughout libraries in Indiana and Kentucky. Alexander Ball most recently served as assistant branch manager for the Southwest Regional Library in Louisville.
“I had every intention of spending my time digging in the dirt,” Alexander Ball shared. “I got to experience a few field schools, and those were great experiences, but they also solidified that this wasn’t what I wanted to do. I really liked working in the archeology lab after we were finished with the field schools, and so that was a good transition into museums. I had decided to pursue collections and museums—working with artifacts and things—and then I had an internship at a historical society and spent time working with collections and with the educational component of museums. That was something that I really enjoyed doing.”
Alexander Ball shared that she decided to pursue “library” studies, and so she finished her master of library science degree in 2014.
“I was able to get a clerk position at my hometown library, and then the children’s librarian that I grew up with decided to retire. So, I took her position, and that was my first job as a children’s librarian and the beginning of my library [career] journey.”
When asked what it means to be able to open a brand-new branch in a new service area as the branch manager, Alexander Ball replied, “Opening a brand-new branch and expanding services into a new [service] area where we will offer new programs is very exciting.”
Much to Look Forward to in 2022
The construction of the new branch is expected to begin this October and is expected to take a year to complete. The new branch will be located at 6310 Albert S. White Dr., and HMMPL officials are anticipating a fourth quarter 2022 grand opening.
Once the HMMPL Whitestown branch is completed, Alexander Ball plans on maximizing the HMMPL Whitestown branch’s 11 acres of space—indoor and outdoor—and is excited to work with the area’s schools in a similar manner that the Zionsville branch has been partnering with the Zionsville Community Schools over the decades.
“I know the librarians at the Zionsville branch have a great relationship with the Zionsville Community Schools, and that’s something we want to continue at the Whitestown branch,” Alexander Ball emphasized. “The school partnerships are very important, as is exposing kids that may have never gone to the library before and don’t have a lot of exposure to books, databases and all of the available [library] services that HMMPL provides.”
Future cardholders of the HMMPL Whitestown branch will be able to enjoy ample meeting space in addition to an extensive menu of services and programs.
“As far as the location [itself], it will have more space for programs, larger meeting rooms that will be accessible for public use outside of library hours, and we’re planning on having a makerspace for small businesses or anyone hoping to create and learn new skills or experience new technologies.”
Alexander Ball continued, “At the Zionsville branch, we’re limited as far as what we can do outside. But the [outdoor] space the Whitestown branch will have is really unique. It is wooded, and there are trails as well as large grassy areas to the side and in the back of the building, which will lend itself to more outside programming and a focus on nature-related programs.”
Having officially stepped into her role on May 3, 2021, Alexander Ball has been fast at work. Based out of the HMMPL Zionsville branch, she is actively meeting with local groups and individuals to introduce herself and to get residents’ input on future programming. You can find Alexander Ball at the Whitestown Farmers Market on Thursday evenings if you’d like to introduce yourselves and ask questions about the expansion plans.
“I’m looking for places to go and talk with people,” Alexander Ball said. “So, if there’s any groups that are interested in learning more about what we’re doing at the library and the expansion [itself], they can definitely contact me, and I’d be happy to go and talk with them.”
To contact Jamia Alexander Ball, email her at [email protected].