Greta Marlatt wins Librarian of the Year award

Greta Marlatt, Library of Congress FEDLINK’s 2019 Federal Librarian of the Year

Greta Marlatt is widely known for her work with the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) and Dudley Knox Library at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). Around campus, she’s also known as the definitive source for delicious chocolate treats—which she often has displayed in a bowl in her office to share with the many guests who frequently visit her. But now, she has a new title: 2019 Federal Librarian of the Year.

Marlatt was notified of the prestigious award from the Library of Congress Federal Library and Information Network (FEDLINK) in late June 2020. The FEDLINK awards are established to recognize the many innovative ways that federal libraries, librarians, and library technicians fulfill the information demands of the government, business, and scholarly communities. Federal libraries and staff throughout the United States and abroad compete for the annual awards. The award affirms her dedication to helping Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) students, alumni, faculty, and staff solve complex research issues. But the award also recognizes her contributions as the Outreach & Academic Support Manager at the NPS Dudley Knox Library. Predictably humble, Marlatt was surprised to receive the award. “I am honored to receive this award over my federal peers who all do an outstanding job on a daily basis,” she said. “I am also the third NPS librarian to receive it, so am especially grateful that the Dudley Knox Library is able to continue the tradition.” Past winners include Eleanor Uhlinger (2009) and Lillian Woon-Gassie (2003).

FEDLINK specifically cited her instruction to Defense Analysis, National Security, CHDS, the Institute for Global Security, and the delivery of courses in citation management and bibliographic instruction as factors that improve data science research and education in support of the combat effectiveness of the Naval service. In 2019, Marlatt headed an important library renovation and collection relocation space-planning effort to remove barriers to resources while creating learner-centered physical and virtual spaces. She managed $2 million in library acquisitions, curated more than 30 LibGuides in the areas of congressional information, area studies, military information and conflict, and security studies, and responded to 750 off-desk reference questions.

How many other librarians can extinguish a structure fire or rappel down a building?

Marlatt began working at NPS in September 1994 and has been a part of CHDS-HSDL since its inception in 2002. “I was there from the beginning, at the discussions regarding creating the Center,” she added. “I was in some of the initial meetings with Lacy Suiter, Darrell Darnell, Vince Cable, Paul Stockton, and others. Paul felt the Center needed to have what is now the Homeland Security Digital Library.” While that may seem like a long time, time flies when you love what you do. The award honors her contributions in 2019, which admittedly feels like a long time ago—due to the effects of the COVID-10 pandemic on everyday life. “I am one of three library staff designated as essential and so I work in the library every day. As well as doing my regular work, we are providing scanning, printing, and check-out services since the building isn’t open as well as doing a lot of building-related functions,” she said.

So far in 2020, Marlatt has contributed to a handful of COVID-19 projects, in addition to her regular work with faculty and students. “At the request of an FDNY task force, I also prepared a bibliography of NPS theses and research related to pandemics, epidemic, and influenza,” she shared. “I also responded to a congressional request asking for information about economic recovery related to pandemics.” Two of the HSDL projects have already been published and are gaining traction: the COVID-19 Special Collection and the Resource Archive. The HSDL Special Collection contains over 5,500 resources related to issues associated with the coronavirus disease and pandemics. The HSDL Resource Archive brings together documents from agencies and organizations that capture the environment, debates, and hard realities affecting governmental and public health policy decisions in preparedness, response, and recovery. Users can browse by categories in an easily accessible interface or do an advanced search on the HSDL website for specific topics, publishers, or other criteria.

Marlatt also runs a personal blog—aptly named Greta’s Gouge. She updates it regularly with timely information on security studies, homeland security, intelligence, and special operations.

Marlatt at the FDNY Academy training with Richard Blatus (FDNY Assistant Chief, Bureau of Operations), Frank Leeb (FDNY Chief of the Fire Academy) and NPS-CHDS staff Jodi Stiles and Heather Issvoran.

This is not the first time Marlatt has received recognition for her amazing work. She has left an undeniable mark on the field, authoring numerous academic articles and gleaning honors ranging from a 2012 New York Times “I Love My Librarian” award to the Navy’s Meritorious and Superior Civilian Service Awards. In 2016, she was honored with the NPS Lieutenant Commander David L. Williams Outstanding Instructor Award—which is named after an NPS alumnus who was killed in the September 11 attack on the Pentagon in 2001. “The I Love My Librarian award and the FEDLINK award both mean a lot since they are awarded at a national level and are related to my peer groups,” she revealed. “But I also had the honor of receiving the student Cohort Impact award and that means even more to me because supporting our students is my primary goal and what I love doing the most. It’s about teaching them how to research and find quality information because as they write their theses, they are writing about important topics, not just checking a box. They are writing about real-world issues and trying to make a difference.”

Speaking of loving her job and making an impact on CHDS programs, Marlatt often gets to participate in specialized events and training that involve students and alumni. When discussing an FDNY Academy event, she mentioned “I had the chance to attend their alumni events and both times we had the opportunity to go to ‘the Rock,’ their training facility. We got to participate in the same kind of training they go through and experience it first-hand. Those types of events are a lot of fun and also very educational.” It’s another example of her unmatched ability to guide CHDS students through the maze of research and writing demands required by the master’s degree program. And further proof that she is the perfect candidate to hold the title of Librarian of the Year.