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DMIL Member Interview With P. J. Neal

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1. How did you get involved in military librarianship, and in DMIL?

I took a long, indirect route! It’s important to start all of this by saying that I’m a bit of an odd duck in that I’m not a librarian at all, nor have I held a job that would typically be associated with membership in our organization.

I first joined SLA a bit over a decade ago when I was a strategy consultant and trying to build out a new research group in our firm and was looking for job candidates. At the time, I was consulting to corporate boards, and was looking for people who were skilled in business and law librarianship. A few years later, I switched firms, and started doing more consulting work to the military and federal government. I joined the Military Libraries Division at that time, largely for the same reason I joined SLA originally – to recruit great candidates. A lot of the work I was doing involved working with intelligence analysts and researchers, and we needed people on our team with those same skills.

Four years ago, I switched jobs again, but kept my affiliation with Military Libraries Division because of my personal interest in the work they do.

2. What positions in DMIL have you held?

My current position is the first one I’ve held: Director and 2015 Conference Planner.

3. How did you become DMIL Director for the SLA Conference in Boston? What experiences from the conference were most memorable for you?

I originally ran for the position years ago, but lost out to a really fantastic candidate. About 14 months ago, she had to step back due to personal and professional obligations, and our Chair called to ask if I might still be interested. I stepped in, and it’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since!

I’ve lived in the Boston area for almost 20 years, and I’m thrilled to see the conference here this year. This is a city with so much history and ties to the military – from being the birthplace of the revolution, to the home of the USS Constitution, to the fact that it’s the center of the robotics industry today. It’s also an easy city to get to from other parts of the East Coast, and as a result, we were lucky this year to be able to get a great speaker from Washington, DC, Navy Commander Benjamin Armstrong, to come and talk to us about leadership.

Commander Armstrong is an award winning author and historian who has published widely on naval history and strategy, including the books 21st Century Mahan: Sound Military Conclusions for the Modern Era and 21st Century Sims: Innovation, Education, and Leadership for the Modern Era. He has lectured on history, strategy, and innovation at U.S. Special Operations Command, the Naval War College, and the Defense Entrepreneur’s Forum at the University of Chicago. A graduate of the US Naval Academy, he holds a master’s degree in military history from Norwich University and is currently a PhD candidate with the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London. He is a Commander in the U.S. Navy who has served as a search and rescue and special warfare helicopter pilot during numerous deployments to the Middle East, coastal Africa, and South America, and ashore he has worked as an instructor pilot and as a strategic analyst in the Pentagon.

4. What was the most fun place you visited in Boston?

The city itself. This is one of those wonderful places where just walking around is entertainment. From the architecture that combines colonial elements with modern structures, to the street performers and musicians, to boutique storefront windows, to all the wonderful parks and waterfront, you can be entertained without spending a dime, and without ever having to go inside.

5. If someone were to visit your library or your town, what would you be sure to show them or recommend that they see?

I’ve got three great libraries I’d take people to visit.

I live in Cambridge, MA, right outside Boston, and we have one of the most beautiful public libraries you’ll find anywhere in the world. Several years ago, it underwent a total transformation, combining the original 1889 library – an old stone building – with a brand new addition that was all glass and light, and the outcome is remarkable. Since it reopened in November 2009, it’s been awarded nearly two dozen architectural awards from the American Institute of Architects, the American Libraries Magazine, and many others. (It has some good books in it, too!) Here’s an overview of the transformation: http://www.rawnarch.com/casestudy/cambridgepubliclibrary

The other two libraries are both at Harvard, where I’ve worked for the last four years.

For anyone interested in business, the Baker Library / Bloomberg Center at the Harvard Business School is a must-visit. I’m just completing a graduate degree in history, and have been digging through their archives for the last two years, and never cease to be amazed at the materials they have, and how wonderful the staff are.

The second Harvard library is Widener Library, on the main Harvard campus. It’s the largest repository of books in the world, and it just celebrated its 100th birthday. As part of the celebration, John Lithgow helped create a short celebratory video, “Ode to a Venerable Library.” Check it out: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/05/ode-to-a-venerable-library/

6. Please recommend one LIS-specific book or article that you read recently that you found particularly good. What makes it worthwhile?

This is going to sound like an odd choice, but Umberto Eco’s book “How to Write a Thesis” was recently published in English, decades after he wrote it in the original Italian. It is, in some places, archaic – he talks about notecards, using address books to organize your subjects, and making sure you have change for public phones. But at the heart of the book is an examination of how you organize information, guidance and mentoring for researchers who may be struggling or unsure of how to proceed, and an acknowledgement that research and writing demand so much of us, often more than we want to admit.

I like this book because it’s a good reminder that despite how much has changed in our field (physical books to ebooks, publications to databases, in-person to virtual), at the heart of things, it’s all the same.

7. If you were to recommend one book, just for fun, what would it be?

Twenty-something years ago, I read “Gates: How Microsoft’s Mogul Reinvented an Industry – and Made Himself the Richest Man in America” by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews. It’s one of those books that has just been stuck in my head ever since, undoubtedly because I’m interested in both business and technology, and Bill Gates is one of those historical figures who you can honestly say transformed the world in many ways. I remember the book being a page-turner, insightful, engaging, dramatic, suspenseful, detailed, all the things you want a book to be (especially when that book is about 600 pages!).

Over the years, I’ve wondered if the book was really as good as I remembered it. If I re-read it, would it hold up to my memory? Or would it be like revisiting an old summer vacation spot and finding it wasn’t idyllic but instead run down, or going back to your old elementary school and finding it small and enclosed, not the large magical place you remember it being?

I’m about to find out. I have two long train rides in July, and just downloaded a copy to my Kindle, and I’m going to re-read it.

You should read it, too. If it’s only half as good as I remember it, it’s worth your time.

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Connect with Veterans this Mental Health Awareness Month

This Mental Health Awareness Month, Harold Kudler, M.D., U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ chief consultant for mental health, discusses ways to support mental health recovery and improved quality of life for Veterans.

All too often, we hear or read about Veterans who are in distress or having difficulty adapting to life after military service. Although these stories are troubling, we also know that hundreds of thousands of Veterans are changing their personal headlines by taking steps to live healthy, productive lives with the help of resources that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Service Organizations, and community-based organizations provide.

It is our civic duty to be a support system for Veterans. We can serve those who have served us by sharing their stories of resilience and recovery and by dismantling perceptions of stigma that too often prevent Veterans from seeking support for mental health challenges. Our actions strengthen the already powerful movement of Veterans who are telling their stories of reaching out for help.

Consider Arthur, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. When he came home from his deployment, he had a hard time adjusting to civilian life but didn’t know how to talk about it. Unable to cope, Arthur fell into a cycle of anger, drugs, and gambling. Eventually, his girlfriend encouraged him to visit a VA doctor who diagnosed Arthur with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Arthur was able to get treatment for his condition and joined a support group for Vietnam Veterans. By connecting with other Veterans, Arthur found the support he needed to change his life for the better.

Trista served 16 years in the Marines, Navy, and National Guard, and experienced military sexual trauma during her service. This resulted in feelings of isolation while she was in the military and outbursts toward her husband after she left the service. With her husband’s encouragement, Trista began seeing a psychologist at VA. That counsel helped her make progress in her recovery. Now, Trista is sharing her story through Make the Connection, and by doing so, she is encouraging fellow Veterans to access similar resources for recovery.

Arthur, Trista, and hundreds of other Veterans and their family members have generously shared their experiences, but reaching other Veterans depends on people like you. Visit MakeTheConnection.net/Connect, where every day during Mental Health Awareness Month you can find new strategies and actions to help make Veterans’ concerns about mental health stigma a thing of the past. This Web portal provides easy-to-share messages and tools that will help improve the lives of Veterans and their families.

The full website, MakeTheConnection.net, features videos of hundreds of Veterans, like Arthur and Trista, talking about the steps they took to lead happier, healthier lives. This unique resource gives a voice to Veterans talking openly and honestly about their life journeys and encourages their peers to do the same. That’s why Make the Connection is so effective — it’s by Veterans for Veterans.

Share MakeTheConnection.net/Connect with the Veterans you know to further their journey toward treatment and recovery.

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DMIL Member Interview with Jill Lynch

DMIL Member Interview with Jill Lynch

1.How did you get involved in military librarianship?

I was active duty Navy and after leaving the service I was still drawn to supporting the DoD so I looked for employment on USA Jobs.

My first job as a military librarian was at the Lane Medical Library, Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson, CO.

2.How did you get involved in DMIL?

I have been a member of DMIL since I was a student member of SLA. I joined all the divisions that I had an interest in, and since I was prior enlisted, DMIL was one of the first divisions I joined.

3.What has been your best experience being involved in DMIL?

My best experience with DMIL is attending the Military Libraries Workshop, because I was able to meet military librarians from around the globe and learn how they handle similar situations most common to only DoD libraries.

4.What positions in DMIL have you held?

Although I’ve been a member of DMIL for 10 years, I’ve only held one position and that is the current Membership Chair.

5.If someone were to visit your library or your town, what would you be sure to show them or recommend that they see?

My library is in the Pentagon, which is itself a living museum. I would want to show them all the highlights – Pentagon Memorial, Chapel, Joint Staff and Secretary of Defense corridors, Women in Military Service corridor and of course the purple fountain.

6. Please recommend one LIS-specific book or article that you read recently that you found particularly good. What makes it worthwhile?

“Legal Reference for Librarians: How and Where to Find the Answers” / Paul D. Healey
ISBN: 9780838911174
Great introduction to legal reference for non-law librarians.

7.If you were to recommend one book, just for fun, what would it be?

“Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes” / Maria Goodavage
ISBN: 9780525952787

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DMIL Member Interview With Gloria Miller

DMIL Member Interview With Gloria Miller

1. How did you get involved in military librarianship?

While I was in Library School at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Library Director at Keesler Air Force Base opened created a “Librarian Trainee” spot for two students to share one position (alternating semesters). I was hired as a GS-7. This was similar to an Intern position. Once I graduated, I was placed into a full time position at Columbus Air Force Base. I’ve worked for DOD my entire career.

2. How did you get involved in DMIL?

I started attending MLW in 1998, but it wasn’t until a few years later when my kids were out of school that I was interested in becoming involved. That’s when I joined SLA & DMIL.

3. What has been your best experience working for the military?

I tell people I’ve worked in 5 different states, all with the same employer. I can also say I’m purple—I’ve worked for the Air Force, Navy, and now the Army. I’ve helped a medical researcher who was developing a protocol on how to treat brown recluse spider bites using hyperbaric oxygenation. I worked with a Special Operations officer writing a paper for Air Command & Staff College while he was in Afghanistan (the books came back with sand inside, but otherwise fine).

4. What has been your best experience being involved in DMIL?

All the friends I’ve made through the years. I also enjoyed being Treasurer. It’s not as hard as being a workshop chair!

5. What positions in DMIL have you held?

Treasurer, Chair-Elect, Chair, Past Chair, MLW Chair

6. If someone were to visit your library or your town, what would you be sure to show them or recommend that they see?

Huntsville is Rocket City, so the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is on my list for visitors. It’s a Smithsonian Affiliate museum, and has an original Saturn V rocket from the Apollo program.

7. Please recommend one LIS-specific book or article that you read recently that you found particularly good. What makes it worthwhile?

I’m currently going through a special issue of Information Standards Quarterly on Licensing Digital Content. There are a lot of issues that we will have to deal with.

8. If you were to recommend one book, just for fun, what would it be?

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I first read them in High School, and I’ve reread them every 10 years or so.

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DMIL Member Interview With Christine Marshall, DMIL Director for the 2014 SLA Annual Conference in Vancouver

DMIL Member Interview With Christine Marshall, DMIL Director for the 2014 SLA Annual Conference in Vancouver

1. How did you get involved in military librarianship?

I completed a four month co-op work term at a defence library during my MLIS. The nature of the work both intrigued me and fascinated me. The work term led to a job offer and the rest is history. I enjoy the variety that working in a military setting provides.

2. How did you get involved in DMIL?

I first found out about DMIL when I joined SLA. As I was about to start my first job as a librarian, working for the military, it seemed logical to join DMIL. A couple of years later I attended MLW in 2010 and loved my experience meeting with other librarians who support military and defence. I was working alone as an embedded librarian so it was rejuvenating to connect with others in my position and share experiences and best practices.

3. How did you become DMIL Director for the SLA Conference in
Vancouver? What experiences from the conference were most memorable for you?

At MLW 2011 in Norfolk, VA I was asked if I might be interested in taking this position due to the fact that I am Canadian and the conference was being held in Canada.

What I found the most memorable from the conference in Vancouver was the level of enthusiasm and respect that SLA attendees had towards DMIL and its activities. The networking breakfasts were well attended. At the Open House, being defeated by the puzzle was also memorable, everyone really did try their best.

4. What was the most fun place you visited in Vancouver?

A tricky question! Being in the city and seeing the mountains was incredible for me, as I grew up on the East Coast and have not been exposed to any mountain ranges such as those seen in Vancouver. I was also lucky enough to take a float plane ride to Victoria, which was a unique and fun experience.

5. If you were to recommend one book, just for fun, what would it
be?

“Blue Hat, Green Hat” by Sandra Boynton. I have a little one at home and we are reading this one often. Reading it makes me giggle and reminds me to take time to laugh.

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DMIL Member Interview With Sharon Lenius 01/31/2015

DMIL Member Interview With Sharon Lenius 01/31/2015

1) How did you get involved in military librarianship?
When I was in Graduate School at Indiana University, Bloomington, I asked my advisor what kind of library positions would take me overseas. Well the answer was working for DoD overseas in their base libraries. A recruiter for the Army Library Program came to campus and I interviewed and was offered a job in Germany. I was in charge of three (3) libraries, one for only two weeks and then the US Military Districts in Germany “reorganized” and the one fell under a different jurisdiction. That was my first experience of “reorg” a common phenomenon of large organizations.

2) How did you get involved in DMIL?
My colleague urged me to join SLA but I was a staunch ALAer, until I realized that the Military Libraries Division had a Special Interest Group (SIG) as part of the local DC Chapter. So I first joined SLA in 1990. This Military Libraries Group (MLG) was just the place for me to make the kinds of contacts I needed to assist me on the job. I found I enjoyed the programs and the networking. And, when the MLG asked me to volunteer for their programming efforts I found I enjoyed working for/with the group. So the experience of being invited to programs, though not a member drew me in, it was the contacts that convinced me to join SLA. Writing this, I realize that was twenty-five years ago! What a great decision!

3) What has been your best experience working for the military?
Working overseas in a Base Library atmosphere, I felt offering the American Public Library experience to the soldiers and especially to the young children was so valuable. Collaborating with the various Wives’ Clubs to supply more Children’s Material provided lessons in fund raising, leadership, communications and volunteer management that have stood me in “good stead” throughout my career. As a special librarian in a technology library, providing the right resources, timely advice and possibilities of real dollar savings proved the worth of the library and staff.

4) What has been your best experience being involved in DMIL?
Working with other professional librarians who want to help Military Libraries make a difference.

5) What positions in DMIL have you held?
Within DMIL I have been Chair Elect, Chair, Past Chair, and Secretary and worked on the Resource Committee.

6) If someone were to visit your library or your town, what would you be sure to show them or recommend that they see?
Since I am in the Washington DC area I would recommend three places that reflect American History. All are, however, a little off the beaten path. One would be Gunston Hall, home of American statesman, George Mason. It is located in Fairfax County not far from Mt Vernon. Another favorite location is from the Civil War era, President Lincoln’s Cottage located on the grounds of the Soldiers Home in Washington, DC. Lincoln spent a portion of each year, mainly the summer months at the Cottage. My final recommendation would be the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport. This annex to the Museum on the Mall displays thousands of aviation and space artifacts.

7) Please recommend one LIS-specific book or article that you read recently that you found particularly interesting. What makes it worthwhile?
“When Books Went to War: the Stories that Helped US Win World War II” by Moly Guptill Manning, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. This book tells the story of Americans response to the Nazi book-burning. Working together, publishers, librarians and the US Government supplied G.I.’s with reading material that led to the rise of the paperback book and contemporary legacy, the Army Paperback Book Kits. These materials support deployed Soldiers of today in remote locations through regular monthly deliveries of paperback book kits, small MP3 players containing an audio book and other materials. Kits contain about 25 paperback books and are specially selected to match the interests of Soldiers.

8) If you were to recommend one book, just for fun, what would it be?
As a Science Fiction fan I would like to introduce you to the sub-genre of Space Opera and an S-F classic novel by James H. Schmitz, “The Witches of Karres.” This novel features well-developed characters, a mix of fantasy and science fiction and is “laugh-out-loud” hilarious in many places as the befuddled Captain Pausert deals with what he thinks of as three ordinary young girls (in reality very powerful young witches) enslaved during a raid on an Imperial planet. Adventures abound!

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