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DMIL Member Interview with Charlotte Bonham

1. How did you get involved in military librarianship?

I initially thought I would be a high school librarian, and had we stayed in Virginia, I probably would be doing that now. However, we moved back home to Colorado (I am a native) and the high school librarians were also the IT people.  I really didn’t want to be an IT person, so started applying for various jobs around the city of Colorado Springs.

My first job in town was as a substitute librarian for Regis library. Then I was offered the job of catalog/reference librarian at Peterson Air Force Base.  Since this was a full time job, I accepted.  The day I started working at Peterson, I received a call from Dr. Ed Scott, asking me to be a reference librarian at the Air Force Academy.  I turned him down because I felt I owed it to Peterson to stay there more than one day. As time went on, the budget at Peterson was cut, and I worked 30 hours or less per week.  When a cataloging position came open at the Academy, I applied and was hired.  I had been a cataloger while in Virginia, so was happy to continue in that line of work.

2. How did you get involved in DMIL?

While at Peterson, I went to 2 of the DMIL conferences. I really wasn’t very active in DMIL, but hope to change that as I learn more about what there is to do.

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

Meeting people and learning about all the different experiences that people have had. My husband spent almost 24 years in the Army, so learning the Air Force way of life has been different.

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

Our library is undergoing a change, but it is still beautiful. We have an amazing Special Collections Department that should be looked into if you come to the Academy.  The signature item that many people remember is a free standing, marble circular staircase that extends for three stories.

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

I won the book, Knowledge Services : A Strategic Framework for the 21st Century Organization by Guy St. Clair from a vendor at the SLA convention.  I started reading it, but then had to have it cataloged into our collection.  I will check it out and continue to read it.  I like to read newer books and articles in order to stay abreast of what is happening out there.  Unfortunately, time to read work related items seems to disappear rapidly.

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

I just finished Vicious Circle : A Joe Pickett Novel by C. J. Box.  I like his books, as they are about the west – mostly Wyoming.  He has a way of fleshing out his characters that I find appealing.

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