Sophie Smith is the new executive director of the Dyer Library Association. Courtesy photo

SACO – Sophie Smith, the new executive director of the Dyer Library Association, has always gravitated towards libraries.

It started when she was a kid growing up in Cumberland. “From a young age, I would walk or bike to my local library … and I would read tons and tons of books,” Smith said. “Eventually I started volunteering there through the Girl Scout program and then started working there when I was 14. Ever since then, it’s been a habit I can’t quit.”

Smith previously worked for York Public Library before joining the Dyer Library/Saco Museum in mid-March. The previous executive director, Leslie Rounds, oversaw the two institutions for 18 years. Tara Raiselis, the museum director at the Saco Museum, served as interim executive director while the Dyer Library Association Board of Trustees found Rounds’ permanent replacement.

The Saco Museum is the third oldest museum in Maine, and opened its doors in 1866 (it was originally called the York Institute). The Dyer Library opened roughly two decades later in 1882, and the organizations merged into the Dyber Library Association in 1976.

In her new role, Smith is tasked with creating an organizational structure to provide both library services and museum services to the people of Saco. That could range from dealing with building concerns — for example, a sump pump that broke down this week — to approving new technology purchases, to attending to staff and organizational needs.

Smith said she is keen to make the library a place that supports the exciting work already happening in the community. She’s started doing outreach to the community leaders to get a sense of what’s needed. So far, she’s already had a conversation with Jean Saunders, the executive director of Age Friendly Saco, which offers services and resources to older Mainers living in Saco.

“I just love how the library can be a little bit different for everybody, depending on what you need it to be,” she said. “It’s really functional space that exists purely for the enjoyment and use of the community it serves.”

Before working as the assistant director at the York Public Library, Smith worked at libraries in Texas, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. She has a bachelor of arts in History and Spanish from Kenyon College and received her master in library sciences from Simmons University.


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