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New library director is Osakis graduate

Cole Richardson, 2, of Alexandria, reaches up to give his library card to Dawn Dailey, the new Douglas County Library director. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 1 / 2
Dawn Dailey, former Alexandrian and 1985 Osakis High School graduate, is the new Douglas County Library director. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 2 / 2

During high school, Dawn Dailey worked at the Douglas County Library, which at the time was in the Carnegie building on 7th Avenue West in Alexandria.

Fast forward a few years and Dailey is now in charge of the Douglas County Library. She expected to be formally introduced to the county board as the new library director Tuesday, Aug. 7.

A 1985 Osakis High School graduate, Dailey has had plenty of library experience, not only working for former director Trish Conroy back in high school, but serving as a library clerk at the Douglas County Library from 2007 to 2012 and front desk supervisor from 2012 to 2014 .

She moved to Benson in 2014 to work as the head librarian at its library.

"All of sudden this (job) came up and I applied," said Dailey.

She replaces Jake Odland, who had been the library's director for five years before moving to San Antonio, Texas, where he is a public services administrator for its library system.

Once Dailey's children were grown, she decided to go back to school, continuing to work her full-time job while participating full-time in online college classes.

She first received her associates degree. Realizing she fell only a few credits short of her bachelor's degree, she thought, "What the heck, I may as well go for it," and earned her bachelor's degree.

The same thing happened when she discovered it wouldn't take much more to earn her master's degree. Dailey said her husband, Larry, encouraged her because in the event a director's job came down to two candidates, having her master's degree could enhance her odds.

"It was kind of crazy, but so worth it," she said.

Dailey received her masters of science and library science degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

One of Dailey's fond memories from grade school was when her class would get time to go the library.

"I have always liked going to the library," she said. "I'm not entirely sure why, but I just loved books so much and I've always loved reading."

As an adult, her favorite genre of books to read is murder mysteries, which she said could stem from the fact that her husband was an Alexandria police officer for many years.

Her favorite author is Minnesota's own William Kent Krueger, who she has met and describes as down to earth.

Although she and her husband currently live in Benson, she said Alexandria is home and the couple's goal has always been to retire in this area. They will now start the process of looking for a home to purchase or possibly build on land they already own here.

Goals for library

Dailey, who officially started two weeks ago, is already enjoying her time and said the staff and library patrons have been welcoming and friendly.

"Everyone has been so wonderful so far and Tammy (Schmidt, the interim director) has been great at helping me get acclimated," Dailey said.

As she looks to the future of the Douglas County Library, Dailey's goal is to make the library the best it can be. She wants to continue advances made in technology and public information, as well as programming. She said the library offers a great array of programming for young kids to older adults.

She also plans to work the front desk and help with programs. This past Friday, she stepped into the role of Glinda the Good Witch for the children's program, "The Oz Brothers."

"I plan to be hands-on and involved as much as I can," she said.

Dailey's one wish for Douglas County residents is to visit the library and see everything it has to offer.

"We have everything from e-books, hardcover, paperback and large print to music and movies," Dailey said. "We have whatever your heart desires, and if we don't, we can usually find it for you."

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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