NMRT Member Profile: Maureen Barry

By Holly Wilson

What is your current position and what are your job duties?

I am the Librarian for First-Year and Distance Learning Services at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. I create and promote library programming and services specifically for our first-year students and distance learning students and faculty. I also coordinate instruction in English composition classes, provide reference service and supervise practicum students in the reference department.

How did you come to the field of librarianship?

I majored in sports marketing as an undergraduate at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH. I realized after 2 years in sports marketing at a college athletic department, I could not continue working 60, 70, 80 hours a week. I contemplated going back to graduate school for a career change. Thankfully, my cousin loved her job as a librarian and recruited me to the profession. I am very grateful!

How does your current position relate to your previous career?

Most people think it’s a huge change to go from sports marketing to librarianship, but many of the same skills are valuable to both careers. I learned a lot about “relationship marketing” while I was working in athletics – making personal connections with the fans is very similar to making connections with library patrons, believe it or not! I also gained invaluable organizational, communication and event planning skills in the very fast-paced college sports world. I was able to SELL those points when seeking library employment.

Tell me a bit about your experience with ALA, particularly NMRT and your committee position.

I have enjoyed attending four ALA annual conferences and 3 ALA midwinter meetings. I met lots of great people at NMRT events at these conferences. These networking experiences, along with my experience with writing and creating newsletters during my previous jobs and for a student organization in college, were instrumental in getting the opportunity to work on my first NMRT committee – the Vice Presidential Planning Committee (2005-2006). One of the focuses of this committee was to create a proposal to make changes to the May paper Footnotes edition. This resulted in my current position as co-chair for the NMRT Scholarship, Research, and Writing Committee (2006-2007 and 2007-2008).

How has your involvement with NMRT influenced your professional life?

NMRT has allowed me tons of opportunities to collaborate with other new librarians throughout the country. It has also been a great opportunity to gain practical experiences that are different from my daily job duties at Wright State.

Do you have any advice for either new librarians or new NMRT members?

Network. Get a mentor. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

Tell me about some of your hobbies and interests.

I enjoy jogging and going to hear/see live music. More recently, I have tried (and enjoyed!) rock climbing and quilting.