I AM UAA: Zane Teesh, B.A. History '94
By: Staff Jul 20, 2011
Manager, Chugiak-Eagle River Library
Hometown: Eagle River, AK
Fun Fact: Moonlights as a gold miner
Few people can say that they have their dream job, especially at a young age. At 40, UAA alumnus Zane Treesh is one of the few who can. He's the manager of the Chugiak-Eagle River Library, a job he's hoped to call his since he started working for the Anchorage Public Library system in 1998.
Zane, a lifelong Alaskan, grew up in Eagle River. His father, James Treesh, earned a bachelor's degree in wildlife management in California before he and his wife, a nurse, loaded their belongings into a trailer and headed north to Alaska to find a job. Though he didn't end up working in wildlife management like he intended, James earned his Master of Education from UAA in 1971 and taught with the Anchorage School District for 20 years.
Growing up, Zane has many fond memories foraging for gold in the wilds of Alaska with his adventurous parents. "My dad is a man of big schemes and ideas," Zane said. After James' retirement from the school district, he had the opportunity to buy his own land and equipment, and now runs a family operated placer mine near the Fortymile River.
When it came time for Zane to graduate from high school, he chose to stay close to home for college. He studied at UAA for a year until his interest in geological engineering took him to New Mexico Tech. He returned home after three semesters once he realized that math and science weren't his strong suite.
After landing back in Alaska, Zane returned to UAA and switched his major to history. Coming home made sense to Zane. "I knew I wanted to build my career in Alaska," he said. Zane declared a minor in geology to feed his interest and to strike a balance in his coursework.
Zane said he enjoyed the camaraderie between students and professors in his courses. He enjoyed learning with a wide range of people from the community because they brought a different perspective to the classroom. As a commuter student, Zane took advantage of the gym while he was on campus and played a lot of basketball between classes. When he wasn't on the court himself, he was rooting for the Seawolves' basketball team from the bleachers.
During his senior year, Zane had an important decision to make: become a history teacher or pursue a career in library science. He chose the latter and was soon on his way to Florida State University to earn his master's degree in library science. He earned his Master of Science in Library and Information Studies in the fall of 1996 and came straight home.
"I've always been interested in books, ever since I was a kid," Zane said. He worked as a library aide during his senior year of high school and was a student worker at the UAA/APU Consortium Library while he was earning his history degree. Zane, an avid book collector, says that he gathers them much faster than he can read them.
Zane didn't have a librarian job lined up after grad school, so he worked for about a year as a substitute teacher for the Anchorage School District. He also helped his father run the family's mine for three summers before landing a part-time position with the Anchorage Public Library at the Chugiak-Eagle River branch.
When Zane applied for the job, he was out mining so he put the phone number of Glennallen's local radio station as a contact on the job application. He first learned that he got the job over the airwaves of the Caribou Clatters radio program. "The host told me that I needed to go into town for work," Zane said with a smile.
For the next decade, Zane held jobs at the Mountain View Branch Library and Z.J. Loussac Public Library until he had the opportunity to become manager of the Chugiak-Eagle River branch. On Aug. 17, 2010, exactly 12 years from when Zane started as a part-time employee, he became branch manager.
As the library's manager, Zane is responsible for supervising six people, overseeing the library's collections, programming public events, coordinating book signings with local authors, among several other day-to-day tasks.
It's no wonder being branch manager of the Chugiak-Eagle River Library is Zane's dream job. Having grown up in the area, he's seen the library go through many growth spurts and is excited to be at the helm. He credits his UAA education for giving him a strong foundation, one that he relies on daily to get the job done.
"As an Alaskan, I know that we need to figure out ways to diversify our economy," Zane said. "Education is the way to do that. It will benefit the whole community and state if kids stay in state and get their education here."
Zane and his wife have a 3-year-old daughter and are expecting a new baby girl in early July. True to his roots, Zane sets aside a couple weeks each summer to help out at the Fortymile mine.