Checking in with Josie Harrington, new library director

Josie Harrington (Tiffany McKoy)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Public Library System has a new director. Following the retirement of Sharon Townson, who was with the library for 27 years, the library board  selected Josie Harrington to assume the role. Harrington, who started her career with the library in 2018, was named assistant director in January 2020.

“I actually have a bachelor’s degree in theater, but during my four years at the University of Montevallo I worked at the library on campus,” Harrington said. “During that time, I discovered that it was possible to get a degree in Library and Information Studies.”

Once she graduated from Montevallo, she pursued a MLIS (Master of Library and Information Studies) degree at the University of Alabama and graduated in August 2019.

As Harrington steps into her new role, she said, she envisions expanding the library’s impact on the community. “I’d love to offer more programming, more educational activities.”

She highlighted the need for more space to accommodate concurrent programs for different age groups, addressing a common challenge faced by libraries. Her emphasis on providing hands-on, exploratory programs for both children and adults is a testament to her commitment to making the library a vibrant hub of learning and discovery.

Harrington acknowledged the mixture of excitement and responsibility that comes with the position. “It’s overwhelming, but it’s exciting,” she said.

Harrington is no stranger to challenges, having navigated the library’s closure during COVID-19 shortly after taking on the role of assistant director.

“Ironically, I started my career in the midst of a certain kind of catastrophe,” she reflected.

The main branch of the library is slated to reopen Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The other four branches in Cullman County are in Hanceville, Garden City, Colony and Holly Pond. The library also provides cardholders access to e-books and audiobooks with the online apps Hoopla and Libby.

For branch hours and locations, visit

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