New California Area Library Director

Posted on May 4, 2011 by


Brian Dawson, California Area Public Library Director

By Elisa Karafilis
For Brian Dawson, 38, life as the new director of the California Area Public Library is a life both behind a computer and out in the library, helping patrons.

Dawson says he gets to work an hour early “to get a jump on things and to give me some time to focus on tasks undisturbed.”

His day usually begins by checking  his e-mail and responding to any items that he can quickly attend to, he says. He then views library blogs to keep current on trends or issues in the profession. Then he updates the library’s different social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.

“Next is snail mail. About this time, it is usually time to open up the library to the public,” Dawson says.

Next, he checks in any books that were returned during the library’s off hours and gets them re-shelved so they are available. For the remainder of the day, he spends most of his time tending to administrative tasks and assisting patrons with various requests, such as locating items and using the computers, he says.

Dawson was born in New York City and grew up in Westmoreland County. He lives in North Huntington with his wife, and his sons Cody, 16, and Killian, 9. He has a bachelor of arts degree from Seton Hill University in Greensburg.

Dawson is new to the profession as a librarian and has been with the library for just a few months. His professional background is in executive management and bio-technology. He says he is grateful to the library board for taking a chance on a relative newcomer to the industry, and he tries to prove that they made the right decision by hiring him. He says he has fallen in love with the people and the environment.

He is also currently doing graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in information science. Dawson’s bachelor of arts degree is in communications with a minor in political science. Dawson also holds a Pennsylvania state license as a paramedic and has completed Pennsylvania Act 120 work that allows him to serve as a police officer. But now, he’s focused on the library.

Pru Petrucci, a fellow librarian at the California Area Public Library, says she is thoroughly pleased with everything that Dawson has done.

“He has really helped to get this library noticed by the public,” she says.

“He has a vision to use technology in order to make people aware of the library, and he also plans on ordering a new variety of books and movies that appeal to the masses,” Petrucci says.

Dawson says some of his goals include integrating more technology into the library, more aggressively marketing the library, reaching out to the community, and developing the collection.

“The board of directors are very forward thinking and looking to modernize and improve the library,” Dawson says.

Besides his work at the library, Dawson is also active as a volunteer paramedic, even though his time has become limited while trying to balance work responsibilities, family life, and his work toward his graduate degree.

Down the road, he’d like to complete a second master’s degree in either communication or history and then consider doctoral work, he says.

“I am a rather boring person to be honest,” Dawson says.

He is an avid cyclist, and when not working or tied up with course work, he can usually be found outdoors riding or hiking with his family, or trying to plan an adventure for them. He says he also loves traveling.

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