Former Troy resident takes lead at library

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published February 26, 2021

 Emily Dumas began her new role as the Troy Public Library Director Feb. 22. Dumas previously directed the Royal Oak Public Library.

Emily Dumas began her new role as the Troy Public Library Director Feb. 22. Dumas previously directed the Royal Oak Public Library.

Photo provided by the Troy Public Library


TROY — Royal Oak Public Library’s loss is the Troy Public Library’s gain.

Newly hired Troy Public Library Director Emily Dumas, who began her role Feb. 22, said the transition was a bit of a homecoming for her. The former Royal Oak Library director decided to leave the library where she began her career in 2009 and accept an offer to lead in Troy because of the connection she has with the library, she said.

“I have a history with the Troy Public Library. My mom worked there from the ’80s until 2005. I grew up there, and I always just admired the library,” said Dumas, who grew up in Troy. “I feel like it’s kind of a homecoming for me, being back in the community. It’s that connection. That’s really the reason why I would leave Royal Oak. It had to be a truly special place to leave a job I love.”

Dumas began as a staff librarian in the circulation and youth departments at the Royal Oak Public Library in 2009. She also worked concurrently in the teen department at the Ferndale Public Library. She accepted a full-time youth librarian position at the Commerce Township Community Library in 2012 before returning to Royal Oak in 2016 to lead the youth and teen services department. In February 2019, Dumas was promoted to library director in Royal Oak.

She holds a master’s degree in library and information services from Wayne State University.

Dumas’ last day at the Royal Oak Public Library was Feb. 12. Before Dumas, the Troy Public Library was directed by Cathleen Russ, who served for 13 years before accepting the director position for the West Bloomfield Township Public Library. Russ’ last day as director in Troy was Nov. 25, 2020.

Having held a progression of positions within public libraries has helped keep Dumas grounded during her time as director in Royal Oak, and she hopes to keep that perspective alive in Troy.

“It gives you an understanding of what each role in the library does and why each is important,” she said. “I always feel strongly about not having the staff do anything I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. That’s kind of my motto. I think that helps me, when I’ve been able to do the position myself, I know what they’re going through.”

More important than understanding each position of the library system, Dumas said her first big task as director will be relationship building.

“What I really want to focus on is relationship building right off the bat. That means with staff, I want to be meeting individually with all the staff, probably over Zoom,” she said, “but also relationship building with the community, and getting started on that right away, because I feel like that’s the best way I am going to learn what needs to happen.”

There won’t be any shortage of activities happening or improvements occurring as the Troy Public Library moves into the future, after voters approved a new dedicated library millage for 1.1 mills for 10 years. Funds from the recently approved millage are slated for returning seven-day service, infrastructure and building improvements, and other upgrades to the library’s interior.

“(Dumas) is joining the Troy Public Library at an exciting time,” Troy Assistant City Manager Robert Bruner said in a statement. “We have big plans ahead since voters approved the new millage in November. (Dumas) is the leader we were looking for to help take TPL to the next level.”

These changes are familiar to Dumas, she said, expressing excitement for being able to help the Troy Public Library implement the improvements. Dumas helped lead the Royal Oak Public Library’s efforts to return to seven-day service and other renovations.

“It’s things that I’ve been through before. Having been in that position before, I kind of know what to expect,” she said. “I’m excited for it. These are all wonderful changes. It’s a good thing to be coming into this position and being able to offer all these new things to the public that I’m sure they’ll be very happy about.”

Overall, Dumas said she’s ready to get to work.

“I promise to work my hardest for this community. I am so excited for the wonderful things on the horizon, the wonderful position the library is in, and I’m really thankful to get to lead going forward.”

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