Librarian by day, backup for Gorbachev by night: Q&A with Barry Trott

Over the next several weeks we will be highlighting members of RUSA’s Board of Directors. Take a minute and get to know our fantastic leaders!

Meet Barry, RUSA Ex-Officio member. He’s a lean, mean, guitar/banjo/mandolin/-playing machine! If you’d like to reach Barry and discuss RUSA and/or bluegrass, you may reach him at the email address listed at the end of this post.

Barry Trott
Digital Services Director
Williamsburg (VA) Regional Library
Editor, Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ)

Barry Trott
Barry Trott

What are you currently reading or listening to?
Re-reading Fred Chappell’s Brighten the Corner Where You Are; Listening to John Reischman’s Walk Along John.

What is the most interesting “reference” question you’ve ever been asked? (reference in quotes to allow for some flexibility in answering the question)
For me it is always the next question to come along. One thing I love about reference work in the public library is the wide variety of fascinating questions that come along over the course of a day on the desk. Everything that you read or learn about will at some point be useful to you in responding to a user query.

Tell us about your current role at your library, and maybe a little bit about your career path, too.
I have worked as a reference librarian, readers’ services librarian, and Adult Services Director before coming to my current role. Now, I coordinate library-wide projects dealing with the intersection of people and technology, including social media, library website, digital collections from ebooks to magazines to databases, and digital marketing tools. And I oversee Technical Services. Before going to library school, I worked for 12 years as a musician, and prior to that got my BA in Biology, so a typical reference librarian career.

Describe a particularly rewarding experience in your library career.
Being involved in RUSA has been one of the most rewarding things for me. I have been able to meet and work with librarians from all sort of libraries–public, academic, special, and school–and have learned a lot from all of them. That would not have been possible without RUSA.

Give one fun fact about yourself—can be personal or professional.
I have played music for and shaken hands with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Any hobbies?
Music, woodworking.

Why did you join RUSA (and/or sections)?
To have the chance to meet and work with other librarians who are passionate about what they do.

How has RUSA helped you in your career?
Membership in RUSA has given me great ideas, a place to share concerns and new thoughts on the profession, and introduced me to many folks who I count not only as colleagues but as friends.

What are some of the RUSA activities you’ve participated in?
CODES Readers’ advisory committee, several award committees, CODES Board, RUSA Board, RUSA President, RUSQ Editor, RUSA membership committee.

If you’re open to having RUSA members connecting with you directly, provide an e-mail address and/or phone number where they can reach you.
I am happy to talk to RUSA members, email at

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