Academics / Community

Ms. Sly joins Dana Hall as the new Director of the Helen Temple Cooke Library

This August, Ms. Dana Sly, a veteran librarian with an eye for creativity and innovation, joined the history-packed Helen Temple Cooke Library community as the new library director.

So far, her favorite part of Dana Hall is definitely the people. “They’re so warm, so welcoming, and it seems like a really vibrant community,” says Ms. Sly. She hopes to bring enthusiasm and her creative perspective to the library, and is excited to “see it into its next chapter.” Her goal this year is to learn more about the Helen Temple Cooke Library and where it has been historically, as well as enhance the vibrance of the library for the community. 

Ms. Sly is also an advisor for the class of 2026. “She is definitely a great advisor! She is really quick to respond to communications, and is always there to support us when needed,” says Laura Zhao ‘26, an advisee of Ms. Sly, “I think my favorite thing about Ms. Sly is just how much she cares about everyone’s individual interest and is genuinely dedicated to supporting us.”

Ms. Sly’s journey to Dana was rather unexpected; she was satisfied with her previous job as the assistant library director at the Boston Architectural College. “My husband happened to see a post from Dana Hall, and was like, ‘this job literally has your name on it’,” Ms. Dana Sly recounts. Shortly after, she arrived at Dana Hall as the new library head. “Dana Hall really seemed like a special place…it seemed like a great opportunity in the library, but in general, it seemed like a school that aligned with a lot of my beliefs and values,” says Ms. Sly, “I was not looking, but Dana Hall turned my head.”

This year, Ms. Sly will also be the teacher of the Global Scholars Capstone Seminar, a class that meets twice a week and operates as the final stage of the Global Scholars Program. In this class, seniors enrolled in the program will get to choose an in-depth research project on a topic of global relevance. They spend the year learning, researching, and getting to know their topic. At the end of the year, it turns into a project which they will choose the format for. 

Outside of Dana Hall, Ms. Sly likes to sew Barbie clothes. “It’s a small little project that doesn’t involve needing to get out the sewing machine,” Ms. Sly enthuses. She loves watching movies, going on walks, and most importantly, reading. Her favorite book is Gaudy Night, a mystery novel by Dorothy L. Sayers, which she highly recommends everyone to read. She has also grown to enjoy upholstery patching and repair, since she has a cat named Sweet Potato who creates a demand for the art of upholstery maintenance. She has a special love and interest for aquatic birds, particularly geese.

Sweet Potato, Ms. Sly’s thirteen-year-old calico.

She went to Grinnell College for a bachelor’s in history and art history and graduated in 2015, continuing on to a master’s from Simmons College in library and information science, which she obtained in 2017. She was also a holiday decorator at The White House for the Obama Administration’s last Christmas. Afterward, she worked as an archival assistant at the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts Library & Archives for a year, then the next year, as a metadata specialist at Boston Public Library. In 2016, she joined the Boston Architectural College Library team, eventually becoming the associate director of their library after five years, and worked there until this summer.

Ms. Sly is from Sioux City, in the northwest corner of Iowa. Sioux City is famous for being the area where Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska meet, forming a tristate metro area. Her parents worked in the Nebraska section of the city, named South Sioux City.

Overall, Ms. Sly is ecstatic about being able to be part of such a deep and meaningful program this year and is excited to share her extensive knowledge with the school as a whole. 

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