Grand Marshal

The 74th Annual Musky Festival Grand Marshal is
Molly Lank-Jones!

The Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce is honored to announce Molly Lank-Jones as the 2024 Grand Marshal for the 74th Annual Musky Festival.

Molly Lank-Jones, with nearly three decades of dedication to Hayward’s public library, has been honored as Grand Marshal for the 2024 Musky Fest Parade. Her journey began in Peoria, Illinois, where she juggled full-time studies at Bradley University with various library roles. Despite a detour into corporate copywriting, Molly found her true calling in public libraries.

In 1994, a vacation to Hayward sparked a desire to move to the Northwoods. Thanks to a timely tip from her in-laws, Molly landed the role of library director at the Hayward Carnegie Library the following year. She’s been rooted in Hayward ever since, surrounded by the beauty of nature and a community she describes as incredibly generous and supportive.

For Molly, giving back to this remarkable community has meant helping to bring a new library with exceptional library services to locals and visitors, and supporting local community partnerships. After 29 years, Hayward has become more than just a place to live; it’s truly her home.

Her tenure has been marked by transformative achievements, none more significant than her instrumental role in the realization of Hayward’s new library facility. Under her guidance, the library welcomes citizens of all abilities.

Not content with merely overseeing the project, Molly took the helm in fundraising efforts, securing vital resources for the library’s construction. Her discerning eye for detail extended beyond the architectural realm, as she played a pivotal role in selecting the library’s interior and exterior decor, ensuring a harmonious and inviting environment for patrons.

The Sherman & Ruth Weiss Community Library, serving the entirety of Sawyer County, has evolved into far more than a source of books. Thanks to Molly’s visionary leadership, it has become a vibrant community hub, where residents gather not only to access a wealth of literary resources but also to partake in a variety of communal activities. From utilizing the meeting room to exploring the Library Trail, the space Molly has cultivated fosters connection and enrichment.

Despite operating within a modest budget, Molly’s resourcefulness knows no bounds. She tirelessly seeks out donations to maintain the library’s infrastructure, ensuring that it remains relevant and functional for generations to come. Moreover, her stewardship extends beyond day-to-day operations, as she spearheaded the establishment and ongoing sustenance of the Hayward Library Foundation. This vital organization is dedicated to safeguarding the library’s future, ensuring its continued operation as a cornerstone of the community.

In addition to her administrative duties, Molly remains deeply committed to enriching the lives of young readers. Collaborating closely with the Friends of the Library, she champions diverse programming tailored to children, fostering a lifelong love of learning. Furthermore, Molly’s dedication to literary culture extends to the broader community, as she arranges popular author events that captivate and inspire audiences of all ages.

Through her unwavering dedication and visionary leadership, Molly has not only transformed a library but also nurtured a vibrant community institution that enriches the lives of all who pass through its doors. Her impact is profound, her legacy enduring, and her contributions immeasurable.

Being selected as the Grand Marshal of the Musky Fest Parade feels like the perfect send-off as she embarks on the adventure of retirement late this fall. While she’ll step back from her role as library director, she and her husband Jeff will remain just a stone’s throw from our beloved library. She will be shifting gears to part-time work, but her heart will forever remain woven into the vibrant fabric of our library and the Hayward community.

The Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to honor Molly during the Musky Fest Grand Parade on Sunday, June 23 at 1 pm. We hope to see everyone there!