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DMIL Member Interview with Tammy Kirk

DMIL Member Interview with Tammy Kirk

1 . How did you get involved in military librarianship?

I first became aware of military librarians when I was stationed in Sinop, Turkey while in the Navy. When I decided to become a librarian, I remembered the library/librarian there and thought that becoming a military librarian might be a way to combine my love of service with my love of travel.

2 . How did you get involved in DMIL?

I won a scholarship, as a student, to attend SLA in Nashville. Because I knew I wanted to become a military librarian I made sure to network heavily with DMIL at that conference.  After the conference, I also used my DMIL contacts to complete coursework in my special libraries class in a blatant attempt to extend my network and search for more post-graduation employment opportunities!

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

I have had many wonderful experiences working for the military. I am very aware that, as a military librarian, my job is to help inform and educate members of a community who make some of the most difficult and critical choices facing our nation. The aspect of librarianship that has always been most important to me, though, has been access to information.  In my current position with the Nashville District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, I have uploaded troves of information to the USACE Digital Library (UDL). The UDL is an invaluable tool that allows me to give the public access to a wide array of previously inaccessible information. This includes the 1937 and 1939 Cumberland River Flood photos, maps and charts that show the Cumberland River before we built most of our modern locks and dams, and photos of some communities that no longer exist because of some of those projects. Some of these photographs have been used in local history books.

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

I love how truly helpful and supportive the members of DMIL are. From my very first conference the librarians I met rallied around me and tried to help me find a job. They helped me further my network and encouraged me to apply for positions. From that point on, any time I seriously applied for positions I had people who could help me.  As a librarian, I have a community I can turn to for professional advice. I also enjoy moving frequently (too frequently, according to some of my mentors…). Whenever I decide to change positions, I have mentors in each of the services who can usually tell me something about the position I am considering and offer suggestions about applying.  In all, DMIL is a very knowledgeable community that is very willing to share their experience and knowledge with others.

5. What positions in DMIL have you held?

 I have been a planner twice – San Diego and Philly.

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

What is nice is that, more and more, people don’t have to actually visit my library to see my show-and-tell type items. You can also see these things digitally. When I know that I’m going to have visitors I usually put out items that show both the history of our district and highlight what I have been doing to provide access to our historical items.

For example, I might display a flood photo book. Most of our projects were created primarily for flood-prevention, and the flood photos highlight the importance of that mission (http://cdm16021.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15141coll5/id/1772).

Another primary function of our district, of course, is Navigation; so I might put out one of our most recent navigation charts along with one of our historic maps, possibly our 1942 Cumberland River navigation chart

(http://cdm16021.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16021coll10/id/10136).

Depending on the visitor I might put out the book(s) that were created using resources that I had put into the UDL. This highlights the value of making these resources available to the public. I might also print out covers of items that I uploaded into the UDL for public review.

For people visiting Nashville I always recommend a visit to the Parthenon.  It is a replica of the one in Athens created for the Tennessee Centennial anniversary celebration. The interior hallway has a nice history with photos and objects describing the celebration.  It also has a so-so permanent art exhibit, but the rotating exhibit can be very nice. The gallery with the statue of Athena is great, though, as are the replicas of the Elgin Marbles.  It’s historical kitschy fun.  Nashville also has plenty for those who are into Civil War history or country music. The food is really good, too.

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

One?! Nice try! I just finished Maria Semple’s latest so that makes me think of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? It was a very light-hearted, humorous novel. For any wife/mother that has ever dreamed of running away from home, though, I just finished Leave Me by Gayle Forman and really enjoyed it.  Pure escapist fantasy.  You didn’t think I’d really only suggest one, did you? I’ll show a bit of restraint, though, and leave it there.

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DMIL Member Interview with Tammy T. Lowery

DMIL Member Interview with Tammy T. Lowery

How did you get involved in military librarianship? 

I got involved with military librarianship by landing my first professional position–as director of Maxwell/Gunter Base Libraries at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL.

How did you get involved in DMIL?  

A few years later after some job and life changes, I joined the Air Combat Command Information Research Service Center at Langley, AFB in Virginia.  That December, I attended the MLW in Monterey, CA.  Listening to dedicated DMIL members speak, I thought, hey, I need to be involved, too.

What has been your best experience working for the military?

I love being an Army Civilian for the potential it offers to work in any state and many countries overseas while staying with the same “company” so to speak.

I enjoy the diverse workforce.  I’ve interacted with over the years especially at the Presidio of Monterey.

I equated working for the Defense Language Institute there to having a world tour come to me.  I doubt I’ll work amongst a more richly diverse group of professionals ever again.  I cherish the many lessons I learned and the cultures to which I was introduced.

What has been your best experience being involved in DMIL?

Best experience  of DMIL is continuing to learn from my dynamic colleagues who keep me inspired through their commitment to the profession.  Enormous effort goes into  making MLTW’s happen and they are so important in terms of networking and shared problem solving.

Now that I am working in the equal employment opportunity career field, I appreciate the value of DMIL even more–there’s no equivalent for army EEO specialists, but the same need for networking and shared problem solving exists.

What positions in DMIL have you held? 

I’ve enjoyed being part of the Resources Committee for several years and look forward to many more!  I’ve also served as Membership Chair and Student Liaison.

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

I’m currently at Tooele Army Depot in Tooele, Utah.  Tooele is pretty small but the landscape is spectacular and one has to see the Great Salt Lake. When I was at the Presidio, I’d usually take visitors to see the Berlin Wall monument.  A family donated three panels of the wall for DLI to display on its grounds.  It’s a must see!

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

I recommend Marshall Breeding’s Library Systems Report 2016.  So much information there about trends and who is doing or is no longer doing what.  I recommend reading Mr. Breeding’s report every year for its thorough to-the-point coverage.

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

Since we’re nearing the holidays, for fun I recommend Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory.” Yes, it’s a short story nestled in various Capote collections–go ahead and read the rest of the compilation.  Proud to promote a fellow native Alabamian!

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DMIL Member Interview with Pat Alderman

DMIL Member Interview with Pat Alderman

How did you get involved in military librarianship? 

My husband was a career naval officer and I knew that becoming a military librarian increased my chance of finding a job.  I was very fortunate that during his military career I was always able to find a job, with no break in service.

How did you get involved in DMIL?  

When I was working at the Ft. Story Post Library in Virginia Beach my boss, Carl Cannon was active in the Virginia Chapter of Special Library Association.  He got me involved in that and also brought the Military Libraries Division  to my attention.  It was a natural fit.

What has been your best experience working for the military?

I was mostly an Army Librarian, despite being married to a naval officer.  My most unusual experience was probably deploying to Taszar, Hungary as an MWR specialist, in support of Operation Joint Guard.  We trained along side Army soldiers, contractors, and civilians first at  Ft. Benning, then at Hohenfels in Germany.  We finally got specialized MWR training in Heidelberg where we learned how to prepare brackets, given an overview in repairing some sports equipment, learned about paperback book kits, Army entertainment program, and other things. The deployed MWR specialists came from all of the different recreation branches including sports, outdoor recreation, arts and crafts, library (me), rec centers, auto crafts, and theater.  It was the first time I lived almost like the military–wearing the same uniform, living in the same barracks, eating in the dining facilities.  We did not have to carry weapons with us, although we did have to qualify with M-16s before leaving Ft Benning.

taszar-c130-jul-97

What has been your best experience being involved in DMIL?

I have really enjoyed the comaraderie of other military library staff.   We are a special bunch who provide library and information services to all branches of America’s military, their families, retirees, and authorized civilians.

What positions in DMIL have you held? 

I was chair elect, chair and past chair from 2003-2005.  I was director-at-large for the SLA centennial in Washington DC in 2009.  I was webmaster for several years in the 1990s and early 2000s.  I was also copy editor for the Military Librarian, and have served on the resource and finance committees for several years.  Most recently I have been assistant discussion list manger.

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

We now live in San Diego and I volunteer in the library of the USS Midway Carrier museum.  It is the most successful ship museum anywhere.  The Midway was the longest serving air craft carrier in the 20th century.  It was commissioned in September 1945, shortly after WWII ended and served through Desert Storm, before being decommissioned in April 1992.  She  was recently named the 6th best museum in the United States.  I would definitely recommend the USS Midway.

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

My favorite LIS related book is This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson.  She focuses on both real and virtual libraries.  Most books do not pay much attention to virtual worlds.  I met Marilyn’s avatar in Second Life, when she came in world to give a book talk shortly after her book was published.  Marilyn was also the featured closing speaker at the 2016 SLA annual conference in Philadelphia.

marilyn-johnnson-this-book-is-overdue

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

I am currently reading Harry Potter and the Cursed child.  I love the scene where Hermione, who is now the Minister of Magic, has put a spell on her bookcase so people can not carelessly rifle through her collection of books on Dark Magic.  There have been times in post libraries, particularly in the children’s room, where I wish I had had such a spell when parents have looked the other way while their darlings remove every book off the shelf and throw them into a pile on the floor.

 

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