DMPS Library Coordinator Appointed to Iowa Commission of Libraries

Iowa Library Services/State Library of Iowa is pleased to announce that Governor Terry Branstad has appointed Dr. Dale Vande Haar, Des Moines Public Schools’ District Library Coordinator and Betsy Thompson, Director of the Sioux City Public Library, to the Iowa Commission of Libraries. They replace Monica Gohlinghorst and Dr. Jann Freed whose terms expired April 30, 2013. The governor also reappointed Pat Laas. Dan Boice has become chair of the Commission. 

Dr. Vande Haar is the first school librarian to be appointed to serve on the Iowa Commission of Libraries.

The Iowa Commission of Libraries is the governing board for the State Library of Iowa, and is responsible for seeing that the State Library fulfills its mission to advocate for Iowa libraries and promote excellence and innovation in library services in order to provide statewide access to information for all Iowans.

Dr. Vande Haar has been the Des Moines Public Schools’ District Library Coordinator for the past 13 years, supervising the collections and library service delivery of the District’s 57 libraries, the largest in the state; he also served for 5 years as the Hoyt Middle School teacher-librarian and then 2 years as one of the East High School teacher-librarians.  Prior to his library career, for 18 years Dr. Vande Haar taught English at Southeast Polk High School, from where he graduated. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in, English and history from Central College in Pella, and two Master’s Degrees – one in library science from the University of Northern Iowa, and one in education, curriculum and instruction, from Drake University, and a Ph.D. in education from Kennedy-Western University.

He was the first school librarian to be voted as president of the Iowa Library Association (ILA) – founded in 1890 – and served an unprecedented two terms  in 2010 and 2011, overseeing a major reorganization of the Association, while also guiding the reorganization process for state delivery of library services mandated by the Iowa Legislature.  Dr. Vande Haar assisted in writing the final draft of the legislation that was eventually passed by a unanimous vote in both the Iowa House and Senate, and these successful efforts were recognized publically by Governor Branstad and leaders of the House and Senate, who thanked Dr. Vande Haar and the Iowa Library Association for their leadership and work on the bill.  He has served on the ILA Executive Board two terms and also served as president of the Iowa Association of School Librarians, serving two terms on that executive board . Dr. Vande Haar is the present chair of the University of Iowa’s School of Library & Information Science Advisory Panel and also chair of the Grand View University Library Advisory Panel, is a member of Phi Delta Kappa, past president of the former Iowa Educational Media Association, and past national co-chair of the International Reading Association’s Young Adult Choices subdivision.  His term on the Iowa Commission of Libraries will run through April 30, 2017.

“Since entering the library profession in 1992, after teaching high school English for 18 years, I have come to believe that our public libraries are our most important state asset,” said  Dr. Vande Haar.  Libraries of all sizes and types provide citizens access to necessary information to help to educate Iowans and give them the opportunity to be informed voters and participants in our state, local and national elections. As a commissioner, I promise to do my best to ensure thoughtful and purposeful decisions are made which enhance library services to our state’s citizens, no matter the size of their libraries.”

These appointments complete the transition into the new makeup of the Commission, which was changed by  reorganization legislation effective July 1, 2012. The Iowa Commission of Libraries consists of one member appointed by the Supreme Court, the director of the Department of Education (or the director’s designee), and the following seven members who serve four-year terms:

  • Two members shall be employed in the state as public librarians.
  • One member shall be a public library trustee.
  • One member shall be employed as an academic librarian.
  • One member shall be employed as a librarian by a school district or area education agency.
  • Two members shall be selected at large.