childhood, work stuff of sci-fi
a Roswell native, Nancy Dennis understands science fiction.
As a librarian, she puts technology to work in ways recently
considered the stuff of sci-fi.
of Library Information Technology (LIT) at the UNM General Library,
Dennis leads initiatives to take information out of a box, off
a shelf, dust it off and bring it to life through the Online
Archive of New Mexico.
is probably the greatest time to be working in libraries. Working
to apply technology to organize and reveal unique collections
to the campus and the state, thats the fun stuff,
came to UNM in 1995 to serve as Internet training librarian.
Several months later, the director of Library Technology Development,
now LIT, left and she was asked to take over. Three years later
she was officially named LIT director.
2000, the library gave her another title, interim head of Collections
and Technology Services, bringing together cataloging, collection
management, acquisitions, serials and technology.
UNM, Dennis library experience had been in public libraries.
After earning a masters in library science at Case Western
Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, she worked for eight years in the
Los Angeles Public Library, then headed up technology services
at Long Beach Public Library. While in L.A., she earned a masters
in information systems, as well.
the Internet became a reality, I was attracted to applying this
new technology. The Internet was, and is, on the leading edge
of library initiatives. The position at UNM appealed to me because
I wanted to come home to New Mexico, she said.
is a great place to grow up, said Dennis, whose grandparents
owned a farm on the edge of town. Her father worked at Ballard
Funeral Home driving the ambulance and running all aspects of
in July 1947, her father, Glenn Dennis, got an ambulance call
that would become part of world history.
was told there was an accident in town. They had a contract
with Walker Air Force Base and he was to pick up an injured
serviceman and take him to the base hospital, she said.
Upon arrival, the elder Dennis saw a lot of activity at the
knew nurses, others, who said aliens or something was retrieved
from a crash site. As soon as the MPs [military police]
knew he was there, he was threatened and told to keep quiet
and to say he knew nothing, she said.
points out that her fathers account was put with others
to piece together the story of that July day.
never talked about it, recalls Dennis. I never heard
a peep of the UFO business throughout my childhood from him
or anyone in Roswell.
as if the police and government officials told them to say they
knew nothing and collectively the town forgot.
could look at the headlines of the Roswell Daily Record that
day and wonder, what the heck? Then nothing at all throughout
the 50s and 60s, said Dennis.
that people in Roswell didnt want to be identified with
it. They were more interested in promoting Goddards
rocketry, she said.
The Roswell Incident came out in the 70s and interest
in UFOs grew. It wasnt until the 80s that Dennis
father talked to her about that day. It is also when he became
one of the people sought out by the media and researchers. He,
Walter Haut, another Roswell-local involved in the incident,
and others, opened the UFO museum in Roswell.
have journals, first accounts, sightings, photos and research
on international UFO events from amateur scientists and historians,
sees Roswell today as a hidden jewel. It is
environmentally clean with a good climate and a small town feel,
technology drives much of Dennis library work today, she
thinks it might help explain what happened outside of Roswell
that day in 1947.
by revealing the true stories, Roswell will be remembered for
more than a UFO crash, Dennis said, But we may not
know in my lifetime.