24:1 (2009:03) Profiles: Tracey Thompson

March 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Profiles | Leave a comment

Susan Davis, Profiles Editor


The profiles to date have been of members I have known fairly well and who are veterans of the organization (even if they are still youngsters!).  I thought it would be fun to learn more about a NASIG newbie.  I met

Tracey Thompson--math whiz, bibliophile, Air Force spouse, and NASIG newbie.

Tracey Thompson--math whiz, bibliophile, Air Force spouse, and NASIG newbie.

Tracey at the “Speed Dating with Publishers” session at conference as we found ourselves in the same group moving from table to table. Then it seemed as though our paths were crossing everywhere!  After reading Tracey’s replies to my questions, I know I made an excellent choice.  We have two things in common—too many books and cats!


Susan: You are a relatively new member of NASIG. How did you hear about NASIG and what convinced you to join?

Tracey: NASIG was an organization that was recommended to me by my department head and my staff.

Susan: The first conference you attended was in Phoenix.  What did you expect and how did the conference meet (or not) your expectations?

Tracey: I was not sure what to expect as I had not been to a conference before.  I was very excited.  I was able to get a lot of good information and more importantly, I was able to make contacts in the field.  As a relatively new librarian, I found having the chance to talk to other people and find out how they were doing things to be invaluable.

Susan: Are you planning to come to the conference in Asheville?

Tracey: I hope to have the funding approved.

Susan: Are you on any NASIG committees? Do you plan to volunteer to be more active in the organization?

Tracey: I am not currently on any NASIG committees though I would love to become more involved in the organization.


Susan: How long have you been a librarian?  What attracted you to the profession?

Tracey: I obtained my MLIS in 2007 from Drexel University, with a BS in computer science and mathematics from Central Missouri State University.  I came to the profession by a set of happy circumstances.  We were stationed overseas, and I was looking for a position.  I accepted employment as a library technician at the military base library, and I loved it so much that I pursued my MLIS.  I have always loved libraries and books, so it was a perfect fit.  I have never looked back.

Susan: What were your position(s) before coming to New Mexico State?

Tracey: I was a library technician at Vogelweh AB in Germany.  I worked in all areas of library including technical services, circulation, and reference.  What I miss most is discussing books with the patrons.

Susan: Did you live on base?  Could you talk more about what that experience was like?

Tracey: I have been a military spouse for over 17 years.  It has been difficult developing a career as we move on an average every three years.  Living on a military base is like living in a small town of yesteryear.  Everyone knows everyone, and we all support each other.  I know that if we need help, we have a community of people to fall back upon.  Working on a base library overseas was a unique experience.  We served such a diverse group of people from all over the world.  We had to meet the needs of our community as a public library and while we supported the mission of the military members we also had to deal with some…shall we say unique security issues?  During my three years at the library we had to evacuate the library four times for bomb threats or the discovery of unexploded ordinances from WWII.  It certainly added some spice to our lives.


Susan: The 1996 NASIG conference was in Albuquerque and a lot of NASIGers went to Santa Fe afterwards. Las Cruces is in a very different part of the state.  What’s Las Cruces like?

Tracey: Las Cruces is a beautiful area.  We are surrounded by craggy mountains and desert.  This is the first time we have lived in a desert, and we were pleasantly surprised.  After the first winter of complaining about the lack of a white Christmas, I have decided that 60 degree weather in January is a rather nice thing.

Susan: Where else have you lived?  Where did you grow up?

Tracey: I grew up in the Quad Cities on the Iowa side.  The Quad Cities is a group of cities that straddles the Mississippi River in Iowa and Illinois.  I was a regular attendee of both the LeClaire Library (http://www.leclairelibrary.org/) and the famous Bettendorf Library (http://www.bettendorflibrary.com/).

As a military wife, I have lived many different places.  We started our career in Minot, North Dakota.  Talk about cold.  We have also been stationed in Berlin, Germany, Rapid City, South Dakota, Incirlik AB, Turkey, Whiteman AFB, Missouri, Ramstein AB, Germany, and here at White Sands Missile Range in Las Cruces.  I have enjoyed the many different cultures and the opportunity to travel.


Tracey: I am a confirmed bibliophile.  In fact, I just had to purchase another set of bookcases.  I have very eclectic tastes, and I will read everything from math history to the latest fiction novel.  By the way, Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World is a very good book, but have a box of tissues handy.  I am also a quilter.  My books fight for space with my fabric.  I am most definitely not a musician. My children regularly make me promise not to sing. For fun, I love to watch movies and to shop

Susan: Family?

Tracey: My husband, Kyle, is an air traffic controller in the U.S. Air Force.  We are retiring from the Air Force in September.  I say “we,” as it has also been such a part of my life.  We have three children: Zachary, 16, Jordan, 15, and Kalie, 13.  Zach is a gamer like his father and another avid reader. He has talked about becoming a librarian. The girls are the family musicians.  Jordan plays flute, cello, and tenor sax, and Kalie plays alto sax and flute.  Kalie is also a dancer.  We have three cats, and my secret hidden desire is to someday be known as the crazy cat lady with all those books.

Susan: List 3-5 things that others would be surprised to know about you.

Tracey: Others may be surprised to know that despite the fact that I have a mathematics degree, I cannot add.  It is my dirty secret.  I can also ride a unicycle and used to be in parades when I was a child.  I have been inside the cockpit of a B-2 Stealth bomber.  I could tell you what it looks like, but well, you know the drill.  Before I got married, I planned on getting a PhD in computer science and working for NASA as an artificial intelligence expert.  (Ed. note—But didn’t you fulfill that last goal by becoming a mom?)


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