Posted on September 3, 2016.
How did you get involved in military librarianship and in DMIL?
When I earned my MLIS degree, my first professional job was as a music cataloger at the Northwest University Music Library. My team lead was chair of the local chapter of the Music Libraries Association, and my department head was past president of MLA, so I joined MLA and started participating in committees to make connections and learn about the profession.
When my wife got a promotion and relocation to build a lab in the I-95 Tech Corridor outside Boston, the first job I found was a contract cataloging job at a place called the MITRE Corporation. A year later, I was hired on full time. Within a few years, my team lead was chair of the local chapter of the Special Libraries Association, and my department head was president of SLA, so again I followed them, joining SLA, and looking for a place where I could learn more about the profession.
The MITRE Corporation fulfills federally funded research and development contracts for many U.S. Government agencies, including the DoD. My key customers were focused on systems engineering across the corporation, so I needed to know about all of MITRE’s sponsors. I wanted to learn more about the military and about library work for the military, so I joined the Military Libraries Division of SLA.
What positions in DMIL have you held?
I started as a member of the Bylaws Committee, and became its chair after a few years, helping to update the Governing Documents and Division Practices. I became Strategic Planning committee chair and Chair-Elect in 2012, then served as Chair in 2013 and Past chair for 2014 and 2015.
What has been your best experience working for the military?
My best experience was helping to create the MITRE Systems Engineering Guide, a set of over 100 articles written by MITRE systems engineers, sharing their experience about how MITRE does systems engineering. This Guide became popular enough within MITRE and MITRE’s sponsors that the company got it released to the public, so I have been able to share it with my DMIL colleagues.
What has been your best experience being involved in DMIL?
Attending conferences and workshops, meeting my DMIL colleagues, and learning about the incredible variety of military library work – from research libraries to base libraries to academic libraries, to law, tech, and medical libraries, the military community has a wide spectrum of opportunities for librarians. Meeting people and hearing their stories, and hearing how they handle the challenges they face, is an enjoyable benefit of being active in this Division.
If someone were to visit your library or your town, what would you be sure to show them or recommend that they see?
Living in the Boston area means access to a wide variety of sights to see. Before I had children, my favorite was the Isabella Stuart Gardiner Museum, with its indoor garden and jam-packed rooms of exquisite artworks. Now, I prefer the Museum of Science’s hands-on activities, and the New England Aquarium’s giant cylinder with turtles and sharks, and their cuttlefish tank.
If you were to recommend one book, just for fun, what would it be?
Not one book, but three. I love films by Hiyao Miyazaki, including Howl’s Moving Castle, so when I saw that book in an Audible promotion, I knew I wanted to listen to it. What I didn’t know was that Diana Wynne Jones wrote two more books in the series: Castle in the Air, and House of Many Ways. These books provide complex positive characters, well-structured magical worlds, and entertaining idiosyncrasies of dealing with daily life in magic-infused living quarters. I enjoyed listening to them on my commute, and now I am listening to them with my sons.
If you were to recommend one article, just for fun, what would it be?
The “200 Happiest Words in Literature” in the July 2016 issue of The Atlantic. Researchers crowdsourced the 10,000 most used words in a set of literature, to ask if the words were happy or not, and ranked all 10,000 words. The article includes the 200 happiest words, including words on family, friends, love, accomplishment, nature, celebration, and humor. Two days after reading the article, I was already giving a speech to my local Toastmasters club about the list. Just reading through the words brings good thoughts to my mind and a smile to my lips.