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Ann Wheeler

DNR At Work

Ann Wheeler, the new Librarian for DNR’s Carter Library/Information Resource Center (IRC), was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. She received a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Drexel University in Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University. In December 2006, Ann came to the department to reopen the dormant IRC on a full-time basis. She recently moved to Annapolis with her husband Andy, who is a librarian at the U.S. Naval Academy. In her free time she enjoys exploring the many interesting towns, museums and natural areas in Maryland.

It’s quite an exciting responsibility to be tasked with reopening DNR’s library full time. Explain the nature of your responsibilities as the Librarian at the Information Resource Center.

I have a great job because I get to work with a wide variety of people. I assist DNR staff and the public with information and research requests, collect and organize publications relevant to DNR’s goals and mission, and provide access to the information that DNR staff need to effectively do their jobs.

The IRC has always been a tremendous – if possibly underutilized resource – here at the department. Are you planning any immediate upgrades or improvements on the types of services offered?
Currently I’m focusing on getting as many DNR publications into the collection as possible. To this end, I’m partnering with the publications team in the Office of Communications & Marketing to streamline the process for submitting DNR publications, while at the same time ensuring that copies get into the library collection.

What is the most important point you would try to relate to the general public about preserving our state’s resources?
I think that in order to protect something, you have to understand it. Each of us can play an important role in preserving natural resources once we understand what the issues and needs are. I’d encourage the public to explore the wealth of information on the department’s many program web pages to see how they can make a difference. And of course, the Carter Library is an excellent resource for people who are interested in learning about the history of Maryland’s natural resources.

What is your greatest concern regarding the future of Maryland’s natural resources?
As a librarian, my greatest concern is the preservation of information. As in many professions, a lot of longtime natural resources staff are approaching retirement in the next few years. It’s critical that the work conducted by these staff be preserved and passed on to future generations. The whole point of libraries is to preserve and pass down information, so the reestablishment of the DNR library couldn’t come at a more important time.

As a librarian, this question should elicit an interesting answer… What was the last book you read?
I just finished “The River of Doubt” by Candice Millard. It’s the true story of Theodore Roosevelt’s expedition down an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River in 1912. The author weaves in the politics of the day, the natural history of the Amazon ecosystem, and plenty of real-life adventure.

What are your long-range plans for the IRC? How would you like to see it develop during your tenure?
My vision is for the Carter Library to be the central depository of DNR publications, both in print and digital formats. In addition to storing and preserving documents, libraries give structure to information, making it easier to find and understand the pieces as part of a greater whole. When dealing with a topic as complex as natural resource preservation, the library plays a crucial role.

Any last thoughts, ideas or comments you¹d like to include?
The library is open, and I¹m here to help! I encourage DNR staff and members of the public to make use of this special resource.
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