[Libs-Or] OLA's response to State Librarian dismissal

Buzzy Nielsen, OLA President olapresident at olaweb.org
Tue Mar 13 16:24:40 PDT 2018

Oregon librarian community:

You likely have seen State Librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen's note to all of us.
If not, then I will be the bearer of her bad news: it is with great sorrow
and confusion that I tell you that Governor Kate Brown's office is
dismissing State Librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen.

This decision came as just as much of a shock to OLA as I imagine that it
comes to you. OLA was not consulted in this decision, nor were several
other stakeholders served by the State Library. Even the State Library
Board, the entity that was statutorily-created to advise the Governor's
Office on State Library matters, was not consulted.

Some background: a few years ago, legislation was adopted that moved the
State Librarian position from being appointed directly by the State Library
Board to being appointed by the Governor. At the time, OLA backed this
measure because we felt that it would put the State Librarian position on
par with other state executive department heads and provide an additional
layer of accountability. Obviously, these recent events bring our previous
support into question.

This February, MaryKay was scheduled for a reappointment hearing during the
short legislative session. Her name was withdrawn the day of the hearing
with no comment. OLA Legislative Committee Chair Abigail Elder and I had
been working with OLA's lobbyist, Amanda Dalton, to discover why. We
assumed that the hearing was merely being delayed. We were wrong.

Needless to say, this decision is disturbing. OLA has expressed our
displeasure to the Governor's office. That letter that is attached to this
message. We are working with our lobbyist Amanda Dalton and other officials
gather more information about why this decision was made, immediate
succession plans for the State Library, and how the Oregon library
community will be involved in future decisions regarding the State Library
and Librarian. I will share any further relevant information as it becomes

In the meanwhile, please spare some thoughts for MaryKay and the staff of
the State Library. While MaryKay does not want for us to fight to get her
job back, you are welcome to contact the Governor's Office to express how
you feel about MaryKay's dismissal and how they made the decision. I
encourage you to read the attached letter before doing so for background
information. The Governor's Office can be reached at 503-378-4582 or on
this web page:

If you have any questions, I will try to answer them as best I can. Right
now, I wish all of the support that we can give to the State Library staff
and MaryKay.

Buzzy Nielsen

OLA President, 2017-18
olapresident at olaweb.org

*You want weapons? We're in a library. Books are the best weapon in the
world. This room's the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself! ~The
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