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Between the Lines: November Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight

Dale McNeill, Assistant Director for Public Services, San Antonio Public Library

What inspired you to become a librarian?

I started helping out in the school library in grade 5 and continued through high school graduation. I started working in construction, but then really wanted a job with air conditioning. That resulted in a public library job. There I was inspired to become a librarian. My junior high librarian, Virginia Atchinson, was a remarkable mentor. We corresponded until her death in 1995.

What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others?

San Antonio Public Library is innovative in so many ways. I am really proud of our adult education program, LEARN@SAPL, in four locations. (LEARN@SAPL Centers are designed for adults who are seeking to learn English, improve their skills, or earn a GED by connecting with adult education specialists and social service case managers.)

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?

Karen Blixen (pen name Isak Dinesen), Andrew Vachss, and James Baldwin. I think their views of the important things in life, good and evil even, would be fascinating. Each is an exceptional storyteller; I think the dinner would last late into the night.

What are you reading right now?

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter and Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association experience?

Since I’ve been involved with TLA continuously since 1986, it’s hard to think of just one. But I think I’ll mention my first time to present. This was a long time ago, around 1995. I was just walking down the hall during the conference when Pat Smith (former TLA executive director) saw me and said that a speaker was suddenly not available. She asked me to speak on branch management in public libraries. I had never done anything of the sort and had no idea that Pat knew who I was at all. It was terrifying, but at the end, I enjoyed it!