New library services director arrives with SH ties

Benny Westcott

The Sweet Home Public Library has announced former Puyallup Public Library services manager Megan Dazey as its new library services director.

Despite coming from out of state, Dazey has local ties. Her mother, Kathy Blake, was born in the city and graduated from Sweet Home High School in 1968.

“To her, this is still the new library,” Dazey joked. “It was built right when she was leaving town.”

Dazey said her mother has always been in Friends of the Library, and got her daughter involved when she was 5 years old.

“It just sounded like a really good fit to come back here and get to know the community again and keep moving it forward,” she said.

Dazey grew up in North Bend and graduated from North Bend High School in 1993, before attending the University of Oregon, where she majored in history.

Following her 1997 graduation from college, she served for six months as a part-time temporary on-call shelver for the Eugene Public Library. She followed that with a year and a half as a library technician at Oregon State University’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, a job that “helped her get to know libraries.”

After that, Dazey obtained her master’s degree in library science from the University of North Texas, taking courses online while still living in Oregon. Then she returned to the University of Oregon, where she worked for a year processing the Bill Bowerman Collection in 2005 and 2006. 

“They had just donated all of his papers from being the track coach and starting Nike,” Dazey said. “I went through boxes and boxes of his papers and organized them.”

She said the process was in connection with author Kenny Moore’s 2007 book, “Bowerman and the Men of Oregon: The Story of the Legendary Coach and Nike’s Cofounder.”

Following that job, she worked as a non-book cataloger at the university for a few years.

She then moved to Missoula, Montana, where she spent two years as a department head in the University of Montana’s library, from 2009 to 2011. She also worked with nearby tribal colleges to help grow their collections.

“Then I really got tired of snow for six months of the year, so I decided to come back to the Northwest,” she said.

She arrived in Puyallup, Wash., to become library services manager at the Puyallup Public Library for nearly a decade, leaving in July 2021 for the Sweet Home job.

She wants to put her experience in various library-industry facets to work in Sweet Home.

“What I hope to do here is continue to make the library the heart of the community,” she said. “I want to make it a showcase place, and another attraction for people who want to move to Sweet Home. A really strong library is another incentive for people to want to move to a community.”

She said that former librarian Rose Peda “really grew the library and moved it forward, and I want to continue her work and keep growing it. We have a great location and great staff.”

Dazey hopes to update some collections, update technology and get the phone app working for, a platform with online courses that help people achieve personal and professional goals.

She wants to grow the library’s movie collection, and include some offerings in other languages. She said a library needs assessment revealed that local teenagers want more manga and graphic novels, so she plans to add more of those as well.

“With everything that’s happened with the pandemic, it’s easier to make some bigger changes,” she said. “I think it’s a great time to take over a library and change things for the better for the community.”

She wants open communication between the public, city and library staff, the library board, and Friends of the Library.

“My door is always open,” she said. “I always want to meet people and get to know them, why they’re in the library, and what we can do for them.”

Dazey moved to Sweet Home with her husband, Ian, and two cats. She said that she “plans on being here for the long haul.”

“I think one of the biggest barriers for libraries is that people don’t really know what libraries offer anymore,” she noted.

“They know what libraries had whenever they were in high school, but they don’t know about all the new things that libraries are offering now, like ebooks, streaming video, talking books, and movies.

It’s not just those old reference history books that you had to read in school. We have a lot more.”