NEWPORT, R.I. - The Naval War College’s new library director, Terry Metz, has a tough agenda ahead of him, not to mention an entirely new environment in the military realm.
Having transferred from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., to replace former Library Director Bob Schnare, who retired over the summer, it’s his first time working with the armed services.
“The Navy has a reputation for excellence, and the people here at the War College are trying to do the very best work that they know how,” he said. “I very much enjoy working with people who are trying to be excellent.”
Metz’s career has taken him a long way from his home state of Minnesota, and it sprang from the invention of the computer and a business administration class. While originally an aspiring college professor, Metz was introduced to the information and research world through the greatest technology change of the 20th century. Furthermore, when taking a business class, an assignment involved studying the administration of any kind of business—he chose his college library.
“As you probably know, it gets very cold in Minnesota,” he said, laughing. The commute to the college library was short, so tolerating Minnesota’s harsh climate wasn’t as bad. He remembered a space of three weeks when the temperature didn’t rise above zero degrees Fahrenheit.
He earned his undergraduate degrees, a B.A. in geography and business administration, at Gustavus Adolfus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. He earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Minnesota in a three-year program while he worked at Hamline University, a small, private college in the Great Lake State. He also worked at Carleton and McAlester colleges, before Wheaton College.
“I enjoy working around people who are learning,” he said of his career, which has been exclusively in academia. “Institutions of higher education are where those types of people are collected. The life of the mind and the life of learning have always attracted me.”
He heard about NWC’s opening through an e-mail late last winter, which was sent to academic libraries throughout the region. His colleagues at Wheaton half-jokingly said he should apply, and he did, suspecting that someone with previous government or Navy experience would get the position.
College leadership has asked Metz to refine the vision of the library and how it can best serve the college in the future. Subsequently, Metz intends to better integrate information technology, in part to make research easier for students and faculty.
The library has lots of opportunities for immense change, due to the development of new technology, Metz said. He continues to spend time getting to know the library staff and the library itself.
“They’re committed, they’re very professional at what they do,” Metz said of the NWC library staff.
Metz also learns from other military librarians and information specialists, and took many lessons from a conference in mid-December.
Metz continues to look forward to meeting the NWC community and hearing how the library can serve them more effectively.
by Tyler Will, Naval War College Public Affairs