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DMIL Member Interview with Eleanor Mullens

1. How did you get involved in military librarianship?

I am an Army veteran who discovered librarianship a few years after getting out, thanks to a book on display at my post library. When I learned about how many different settings librarians and information professionals work in the military, I was hooked.

2. How did you get involved in DMIL?

Soon after starting my masters program, I started looking for divisions and sections within the different library associations that supported military librarians. I’m rather partial to SLA because of the variety of folks it brings together, so when I came across DMIL it seemed like a good fit. I learned about the Military Librarians’ Training Workshop (MLTW), which was being held within driving distance at a time of year that did not conflict with my studies. DMIL folks were so friendly, inviting and encouraging, that I knew I’d found my “library home.”

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

I’m still in grad school, so I’ll have to say it was when I was in the Army- preparing and deploying to Iraq. It wasn’t fun, but it was a wonderful growth experience. I came home much stronger, physically and mentally, and much better equipped to work as part of a team under challenging conditions.

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

I have enjoyed attending SLA as a member of DMIL. But my best experience so far was attending my first MLTW. As a librarian-in-training, it was great to be able to just sit and listen to what was being discussed. For as much research as I had done beforehand, I was still amazed at how many different places and settings military librarians worked in.

5. What positions in DMIL have you held?

Secretary

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

I live in Chapel Hill, right near the campus of UNC. Within 1-2 miles there is a botanical garden, a planetarium and all sorts of trails, to say nothing of dining and entertainment venues. But the one thing I would recommend to late summer visitors would be to catch a showing of the Paperhand Puppet Intervention in the Forest Theater on the UNC campus. It’s a spectacle of giant puppets set in a small stone amphitheater tucked away in a park on the UNC campus. It really is remarkable.

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

I read an article from a recent issue of KM World, written by Judith Lamont, titled “Text analytics: not just for customer sentiment.” It discussed the predictive use of text analytics in scientific, medical and technology development settings as well as process automation and case management. The segment on a group in the FDA that used text analytics to solve current outbreaks of foodborne illness then used that solution to create predictive models of future outbreaks was very interesting. Learning that text analytics was being used in the legal industry to automate contract management was fascinating.

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

At my house, we’ve been reading “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” recently. It really is neat to learn about all the amazing things the women profiled in the book have done. My favorite story so far is about a highly decorated British spy from WWII named Nancy Wake.

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