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Release: Oct. 28, 2002

UI’s Mary McInroy named Iowa Library Association’s ‘member of the year’

When the Iowa Library Association (ILA) needs something done, chances are they can turn to UI map librarian Mary McInroy to get it done.

“She’s not just a member of the ILA, but an active participant in serving professional organizations in any way she can,” said Robin Martin, head librarian at Central College in Pella and immediate past president of the ILA. “We turn to Mary for many things, and we know they’ll always be done right.”

For her work with the ILA, McInroy received the organization’s Member of the Year Award earlier this month in Des Moines. The annual award, first presented in 1989, recognizes ILA members who have served the organization in an extraordinary capacity and given much of their time to helping it grow.

The ILA is a professional and advocacy organization with a membership of librarians working in public, college, university, school and other libraries across Iowa.

Colleagues say McInroy is more than deserving of the award.

“She’s a very enthusiastic and effective worker, she gets involved in all kinds of things and she does them well,” said Carolyn Kohler, UI librarian and ILA member who wrote a letter to the ILA in support of McInroy’s nomination.

McInroy has worked in the documents section of the UI Library since 1971 and has overseen its maps collection for about seven years. She’s been involved in numerous ILA committees since joining the group more than 20 years ago and is also involved in several national library and information management organizations. She is currently chair of the Map and Geography Roundtable of the American Library Association. One of her most prestigious memberships is the Cartographic Users Advisory Council, which monitors and advises government agencies on providing access to information on maps.

Closest to her heart, though, is her work with the ILA’s membership committee, which she sees as one of her biggest challenges.

“It’s important work because it’s how we bring in new members, and without new members, the organization doesn’t grow,” she said. “I have to think, ‘why would someone join, why would someone working as a one-person library staff in a small town spend his or her own money to join the ILA?’ It’s a challenge, and one that I haven’t fully mastered yet.”

McInroy said she enjoys being involved in the ILA because its members work in so many different settings, from large university research libraries down to those small-town libraries with just a few thousand books and a one or two-person staff.

“I’ve always liked variety, and my work with the ILA has allowed me to meet so many different types of people,” she said.