Dan McClure was an advertising major at the University of Oregon when a research librarian visited his “Info Hell” class, a rite of passage for those entering the School of Journalism and Communication.
The librarian showed the class LexisNexis Congressional, one of the foremost repositories of congressional records. About one-third of the class didn’t pay attention, McClure said, but he was enthralled.
“I just thought, ‘Wow; that’s so profound that this guy has this ability to affect so many lives at once, for those of who cared to pay attention to it,’” he said. “I think until then, in my mind, librarians were very tied to what I had witnessed at the public library, which was really a lot of checking out books.”
After earning a bachelor’s in journalism, McClure realized advertising didn’t fit his personality. He later earned a master’s in library and information studies. He landed this year at Clatsop Community College as the new director of the Dora Badollet Library.
Originally from Eugene, McClure left at 19 and didn’t return until his 30s to attend school. In his youth, he worked as a waiter, baker, bike messenger and salesman of musical instruments and cameras, positions he later used to work his way through college.
After the University of Oregon, McClure and his wife, Noelle, who works in fine art collection management, moved east as she pursued a master’s in studio art at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. McClure started his career at the Greensboro Public Library before working at the university.
In 2005, he and Noelle moved back to the Pacific Northwest, where he held positions at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, Lewis and Clark College’s National Crime Victim Law Institute, law firm Miller Nash and the Art Institute of Portland.
McClure then spent eight years as the director of library services at the Pacific Northwest College of Art before his wife was recruited to Seattle for a job at billionaire Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. He found work at Vulcan and later as an adjunct librarian at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington, but felt underemployed as a seasoned library director.
Like so many other people who have moved to the North Coast, McClure remembers visiting as a child and falling in love with the natural beauty, history and architecture. He and his wife had a tradition over the past decade of visiting the North Coast each year for his birthday in the dead of winter, wishing they could move.
The college had lost its previous library director and was looking for a replacement at the same time McClure was looking for a better position. After talking it over with Noelle, the two decided to make the move with their two cats and chickens.
McClure checks out books, but much of his job involves teaching students how to access information. He oversees seven employees and maintains the library’s paper and digital collections and website while helping develop curriculum and policies. A big focus is helping students scrutinize the sources of information they use, especially online.
“It’s not always apparent to college students and other people, information consumers, where information comes from and why it is produced. Really scrutinizing the purpose for the production of information may help people understand the cultural biases and agendas of the information itself.”
A film noir buff, McClure is planning film nights at the library, along with a technology-free longhand writing club called Freewriters.
He is getting to know other local librarians who partner with the college, each with different specialties, such as the college’s art literature collection provided through a New York nonprofit helping underfunded communities. McClure is also trying to advertise the $20 annual pass residents can use at the college.