Meet Dana Sally, Dean of Library Sciences

Western Carolina University has recently given the position of Dean of Library Sciences to Dana Sally.  He has come to the university from the University of West Florida.  This is not the only place he has worked.  This is not his first job working in the University of North Carolina system.  When he saw the advertisement for the opening for the position for Dean of Library Sciences at WCU, he applied.  
    Sally has always wanted to come back and work in Western North Carolina and has always liked the UNC system.  His wife currently holds a position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  
    Sally had never been on WCU’s campus until he applied for the position.  After completing the interview, he was on campus within three weeks.  
Sally said, “It came together quickly but worked out good.”    
    Sally has quite an amazing educational background. He received his undergrad degree in philosophy in 1969.  His plans were to go to Indiana and attend graduate school.  
    This was the time of the lottery system.  The lottery system was how the government decided who would be drafted for war.  Sally entered Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.  Six months after beginning school in Bloomington, he was drafted.  He eventually got a job teaching at a Catholic school and was there for six months.  He worked as a steel fitter at one point in his life and during that time the workers went on strike for a year.  
    That was the point in Sally’s life that he “decided to go to library school.”  In 1978, he took a job in Chapel Hill.  He eventually received his Ph.D. in Philosophy.  In 1992, he took a job in West Virginia.  
    Sally says that his journey has “been an odyssey in some ways.”  Throughout his career and education he has learned to “really embrace values in literacy and information and the rolls it plays in any learner.”  
    If you had asked Sally years ago, the job he said “he would be least likely to hold would be as a librarian.”
    He calls the library the “largest co-curriculum class on campus.”
    The book that he says “made an impression” on him was by Mary Ann Wolfe titled “Proust and the Squid”.  
    Why did this book make an impression on Sally?  He said it is about how “reading is the most important invention of mankind.”  
    He had a couple of things to say about reading in general like it is, “hard for people to ruin themselves reading things,” and “Literacy has no end state.”
     Sally’s role at WCU includes a little bit of everything.  He says that it is  “to make sure all of the folks that work here are resourced or have what they need to do their jobs in the way that they think they need to do it.”  He really believes in supporting the people who work in the library system.  He feels it is important to get the right kind of people for the job of working in a library.