Hazel Webster was born at Charles City, Iowa on July 29, 1886, the daughter of Abel B. and Susanna Haines Webster. After earning her B.A. from Iowa State Teachers College at Iowa Falls (1910), she became supervisor of teacher training at Peru (Neb.) Teachers College (1910-1912). She married Frank Lloyd Byrnes on January 1, 1912, and they lived in Summers, Montana, where Frank was superintendent of schools (1912-1917). She taught at the State Teachers College at Cedar Falls, Iowa (1917-1919) and did graduate work at the University of Iowa (1925). She received her master's degree from Columbia University in New York City (1935). They moved to a farm near Petersburg, North Dakota. In 1924, Hazel helped start the library at Mayville (N.D.) State College, where she became the first librarian and instructor of library science (1924-1948).
She accepted the position of director of the state library commission at Bismarck (1948-1965). As director she organized the first bookmobile project in North Dakota and the Traveling Library, which mailed boxes of books to rural areas and schools. Hazel also introduced library courses into the state college curriculum. She contributed to various library journals and to Colliers Encyclopedia. In 1965 Hazel moved to Long Beach, California, where she was the assistant dean and librarian for the American Association of Retired Persons and worked on the administrative faculty of the National Retired Teachers Association. During her stay at Long Beach, she was a research assistant for Modern Maturity, a magazine for retired persons. She returned to her farm home at Petersburg in 1968 where she lived until the death of her husband in 1973. She then moved to Mayville. Hazel was a resident of the Luther Memorial Home in Mayville when she died on November 25, 1980.