NMRT Member Profile: Holly Wilson
By Loretta Dunne
Holly Wilson became involved in NMRT after she met Amanda Roberts, the current president of NMRT, at the Chicago ALA conference. Amanda's enthusiasm for ALA, and NMRT in particular, inspired Holly. She now serves on three NMRT committees: the Footnotes Committee, Student Chapter of the Year Award Committee, and the NMRT Handbook Committee.
Holly first showed leanings toward librarianship when she began shelving books in her elementary school library, her favorite place at the time. Much later, she decided that librarianship was a good possibility for a career. She was married and living in Chicago when she made her decision to get an MLIS. Initially, she was concerned about the need for student loans and the risk involved in attending graduate school, but her husband was supportive of her and she felt that it was the right career path to follow. She chose a distance program that would allow her to stay in Chicago and pursue her career.
Holly followed the often-recommended path of gaining real experience in the field as she pursued her degree. She arranged a field placement at the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library Reference & Business Information Center. That position gave her the opportunity to gain experience providing reference service via telephone, email and in-person transactions. Then she held a position at the D'Angelo Law Library, preparing the collection for storage. Eventually, she returned to the Regenstein Library and worked in technical services. Although her area of interest is reference, she found "the technical services experience was wonderful and very helpful for doing reference work." She has a new Assistant Professor position at Pratt Institute Library in Brooklyn, New York, as a Research and Instruction Librarian. This role fits Holly well, as she has a background in art. Additionally, she is very dedicated to teaching patrons how to navigate to the quality information resources that are available to them.
During her off time, she enjoys seeing live bands in small, intimate venues. Her husband is an artist and they both like visits to galleries and museums. She enjoys reading and a new hobby that she took up this year, knitting. One passion she has had for a while, although it has received less attention recently, is the collection of toasters. While she was making art, much of it was related to the image of the housewife, and how the role of the housewife has both evolved and remained the same over the years. "The toaster is, to me, a symbol of a transformative process and toast is one of the best and most versatile comfort foods out there," she explains.
Her recommendation for new librarians is to become involved in the profession and keep current with the literature and developments in librarianship. She finds that networking is central to success in the field and, as a new librarian herself, has found that NMRT is an easy way to become involved professionally. She attended the Chicago and New Orleans ALA annual conferences and enjoys both the programs and the socializing. She reminds us that librarians are fun people; therefore we shouldn't miss the chance to hang out with them!
Holly's goal as a librarian is to help people be successful and find the information that they need. She sees this role as particularly crucial with the tremendous amount of information, both good and bad, which is available on the internet. "It is essential that people know not only how to find information, but how to evaluate it for accuracy as well."