May 19, 2022

Oregon: Governor Kate Brown Fires State Librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen

From The Oregonian/OregonLive:

[Gov.] Kate Brown ousted the state librarian Tuesday in a move that surprised and angered many librarians and library supporters around Oregon.

The governor decided that State Librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen “fell short of clear and timely expectations from legislators,” spokeswoman Kate Kondayen saidBrown gave Dahlgreen the option to transition out of her position, but she chose to be fired instead, Kondayen said.

The governor has not yet chosen a replacement, her spokeswoman said.

Ann Malkin, the chair of the Oregon State Library Board of Directors, said that the board and librarians throughout the state thought Dahlgreen did a great job.

“We hate to lose her expertise and her leadership,” Malkin said.

Read the Complete Article (962 words)

From the East Oregonian:

While the Governor’s Office says Dahlgreen failed to meet lawmakers’ expectations, it did not provide specifics to the EO/Pamplin Capital Bureau.

Dahlgreen says the governor did not provide her with specific written feedback on her performance, either.

Kate Kondayen, a spokeswoman for Gov. Brown, said in an email Wednesday that Dahlgreen “fell short of clear and timely expectations from legislators, and as a result of these performance issues, did not have the Senate support necessary for confirmation.”


Buzzy Nielsen, president of the Oregon Library Association, penned a letter to the governor expressing his concerns on Tuesday.

“Both the State Library and Dahlgreen have been invaluable partners in the Oregon Library Association’s efforts to support libraries, library workers and the patrons they support statewide,” Nielsen wrote. “We are confused about this seemingly sudden decision, made without consultation with key stakeholders and despite Dahlgreen’s strong track record as agency head.”

Read the Complete Article (1013 Words)

See Also: State Library of Oregon Website ||| Strategic Plan 2017-2019

See Also: MaryKay Dahlgren Bio (via State Library of Oregon) ||| via Wayback Machine

UPDATE 1: Full Text of Statement From Governor’s Office

MaryKay Dahlgreen fell short of clear and timely expectations from legislators, and as a result of these performance issues, did not have the Senate support necessary for confirmation. Once qualms about her confirmation came to light, and in consideration of stability for State Library staff and programming, the Governor’s office offered to pursue a collaborative transition out of the role.

Ms. Dahlgreen chose instead to be terminated and leave the State Library under unplanned and immediate circumstances. The State Library Board oversees the functions of the institution, but since HB 3523 passed in the 2015 legislative session reorganizing management of the State Library, personnel issues are handled by the legislative and executive branches.

“The Governor strongly supports the mission of libraries, and believes that a strong leader in the State Library is key to effectively drive its partner programming across the state. The Governor’s office will work to recruit a highly qualified candidate that can deliver on the clear and reasonable expectations for the State Library and the various educational programs it oversees.”

UPDATE 2: Update Posted on Libs-OR List and Published Below with Permission of Author

Strong Progress Made with Governor’s Office
March 15, 2018
by Buzzy Nielsen, President, Oregon Library Association President

OLA lobbyist Amanda Dalton and I met with the Governor’s staff earlier today and are very satisfied with the progress. Our meeting focused on the future of the State Library and State Librarian.

We are pleased by the selection of Caren Agata, Program Manager for the Government Information and Library Services division of the State Library, as interim director. We believe that Caren’s appointment will provide much needed stability for the agency and its staff.

We also are confident about the involvement both OLA and the Library Board will have in helping select the future State Librarian. OLA and the State Library Board will be involved in reviewing the position description and announcement, recommending candidates, and interviewing. The aim is to have a strong candidate, accepted by relevant stakeholders, that can be put forth for Senate confirmation in September.

I assure you that your voices have been heard, both at the Governor’s office and in the Senate. Your comments demonstrated that Oregon libraries have a strong interest in maintaining a well-run and well-managed State Library. At this time, it would be helpful if you could please limit comments directed to the Governor and Senators. This show of goodwill will help OLA, the State Library Board, and State Library staff better work together with the Governor’s office and the Senate to ensure a positive future for the State Library.

MaryKay Dahlgreen is a dedicated public servant who made many positive impacts during her 22 years at the State Library. Fortunately for us, this will not be the last we see of her in the Oregon Library community. However, right now we want to focus on the future of the State Library and State Librarian, both for the sake of the State Library staff and of its many stakeholders, including ourselves.

Thank you all for caring so much!

Buzzy Nielsen, OLA President

UPDATE 3 March 17, 2018 Puzzling Ouster of Oregon’s State Librarian Follows 1 Senator’s Outrage (via The Oregonian

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.