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Annette Dean takes over as Charles City Library Director

  • Annette Dean took over as Charles City Public Library Director last week. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • Annette Dean took over as Charles City Public Library Director last week. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

By Kelly Terpstra,

Annette Dean thought she might be interested in a teaching position after earning her undergraduate degree in English and history from the University of South Dakota.

Then she remembered what one of her high school teachers said to her one day.

“I had a history teacher in high school that always said that if he could go back in time and do his life over he’d be a librarian,” said Dean.

And the rest is, well, history.

Dean took over as director of the Charles City Public Library last week. She comes from Hudson, where she worked for eight years as assistant library director in that town just outside Waterloo.

“I’m excited to be here and I’m excited for the opportunity Charles City has given me. I hope I don’t disappoint. I’m anxious to get started and get involved in the community,” she said.

Books in the physical form are still important, but as libraries evolve so does the amount of digital content that patrons consume. Keeping in touch with those changes in technology is key for any director to be able to be up to date on those trends.

“As everything has moved toward online and Google is in everybody’s pocket, you refocus your attention. Libraries definitely aim to be what their communities need,” said Dean.

She said she plans on increasing the amount of family and educational programming the library does, as well as creating a digital conversion station so people can convert their own family videos or other type of content to other formats.

Another facet Dean wants to bring to the library is a makerspace — an area where people can learn, create, or share with others using a vast array of different tools.

“The present day library tends to be one part business, one part counseling center and social center,” said Dean. “It tends to be more of a community center that also has books and materials to share with everyone.”

Library directors wear many hats, according to Dean, and deal with a variety of issues on a daily basis.

“Anymore, to be a librarian you have to be one part business manager, one part counselor, one part teacher,” Dean said.

The Homebound Program is something Dean is more than happy to continue. The program delivers books to the elderly upon request in the winter so that they can continue to read.

Dean loves to read, but she also enjoys playing board games and is a member of The Friendly Meeple — a community of gamers who have fun building relationships over their love of board games.

Dean lives in Waverly and her husband, Aaron, works at SG Interactive in Cedar Falls, a company that makes casino app games. They have a 20-month old daughter named Daphne.

Dean graduated from Harrisburg High School in South Dakota in 2004 and received her Master’s Degree in library and information science at the University of Iowa in 2010.

Dean replaces Stacey Campbell, the library’s interim director who took over for Kim Jones in March.