Celebrating Director Dale Propp upon his retirement from the State Law Library
April 28, 2022
The State Law Library’s Executive Director, Dale Propp, will be retiring on Friday, April 30th, after 15 years at its helm. Our current Assistant Director, Amy Small, will be taking over as Executive Director beginning on Monday, May 2nd. We'd like to take a minute to congratulate Amy and thank Dale for his leadership and service over the years. We wish both of them the best of luck in their next chapters!
Dale’s retirement is richly deserved after a 48-year career in Texas state libraries. Prior to taking over as Director of the State Law Library from Tony Estrada in May of 2007, Dale was the Director of the Legislative Reference Library. Dale also worked at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission as the Director of the Talking Book Program, making him possibly the only person to have worked in leadership at all 3 major Texas government libraries.
Dale has played a crucial role in shepherding the library into the digital era. He has been incredibly supportive of initiatives that help Texans in all corners of the state access legal information and resources. The library began expanding its digital presence in 2013 by adding research guides to the library website. These research guides provide basic information and resources about popular legal topics like common law marriage and name changes. Additionally, Dale focused the library's attention on completing the historical statute digitization initiative through grant funding and copyright permission from the statutes' publishers. Today, the historical Texas statutes from 1879 through 1984 are available for remote access directly on our website.
One of Dale’s biggest achievements during his tenure is the Remote Access Program. In 2015, Dale and then-Assistant Director Leslie Prather-Forbis negotiated with legal publishers to secure the rights to share e-books and online databases remotely via the library’s website. Since then, registered patrons have been able to access the full text of thousands of legal titles and periodicals at no cost. The Remote Access Program is a massive accomplishment, allowing Texans all over the state to access helpful and accurate legal information for free at any time of the day or night without needing to visit a local law library.
Dale's time at the library has not been without obstacles. He has steered the library through a number of challenges in the past 15 years, including serious budget cuts, rising publication costs, and the flooding of the library during the 2021 February freeze. When the library was forced to close the building to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dale directed the library to move to fully remote operations to protect the health and safety of our patrons and staff. During this time, the library never stopped serving the legal needs of the people of Texas. The library reopened to the public in the summer of 2021.
Assistant Director Amy Small will be taking over for Dale as Executive Director on Monday, May 2nd. Amy has been at the State Law Library for over 13 years and has taken on various roles during her time here. She has experience working in reference assistance, electronic services, document delivery, human resources, and library administration. She was a critical leader during the library’s successful transition to remote operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Congratulations to Amy on her new role!
You can read more about the library's history on our History of the Library page. Our hats are off to Dale and his incredible leadership and vision over the past 15 years!