1) Educator (Retired), McDowell County Public Schools
2) Library Information Specialist (Retired), Tazewell County Public Schools
Bluefield, WV, USA
Field: Library Information
When Edward J. McQuail III graduated from Beaver High School in 1957, he didn’t know what career path was ahead of him. Enthralled with the history of Bluefield, W.Va., where he was born and raised, it only seemed fitting to enter into the field of education. Nevertheless, he started work as a salesman at his father’s company. Mr. McQuail always had his heart set on being in education, however, and was not going to settle for being a non-college-graduate. More than 10 years after his high school graduation, he entered Concord University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Education in December 1970. He states that receiving his college degree was a dream come true, and he didn’t stop there; he also earned two master’s degrees: one in library science education from Marshall University, and the other in library sciences from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Through his passion to work with young people, Mr. McQuail became a library information specialist for the Tazewell County Public Schools and an educator for the McDowell County Public Schools. He enjoyed being there for the students and listening to any problems they wanted to share with him, whether personal or school-related. Now retired from these posts, he is dedicating more time to his hobby of collecting high school yearbooks, and hopes to expand his yearbook collection in the future. He has a constant desire to learn information about where he grew up and the people who live there. Since 2007, he has also served as the Bluefield High School historian and archivist, where he can put his skills to good use.
Mr. McQuail is a member of the West Virginia Secondary School Association and the American Library Association, the oldest and largest library association in the world. From 1983 to 2010, he also served as a volunteer at the Bluefield Regional Medical Center.
Conversation with Edward J. McQuail III
Worldwide Publishing: On what topic(s) do you consider yourself to be an expert?
Edward J. McQuail III: The history of Bluefield.
What characteristics help to separate you from others in education?
I like knowing about people and learning things. I love finding out information and doing research. I am also a very good judge of character.
What motivates you?
My desire to know information about people.
What lessons have you learned as a professional in your field?
I have learned to put the knowledge that I have to good use. I realize that I have a good mind and I can read people very well.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?
The most difficult thing I had to do was going back to school in 1968. I had to make an A or a B in my studies in order to get my degree and I did it.
Did you ever consider pursuing a different career path or another profession?
I worked as a salesman in my father’s place of business for nine years, but I always wanted to be in education.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your profession?
One of the most rewarding parts of my career was graduating with my undergraduate degree and obtaining my two master’s degrees. Also, my first job as a teacher and an information specialist was very rewarding.
What advice can you offer fellow members or others aspiring to work in your industry?
Stay with it and pursue it.
What is your favorite or least favorite work-related task to do and why?
I enjoyed my time working at Pocahontas high school. A lot of those kids had nothing and they would come and talk to me about anything.
Who have been your mentors or people who have greatly influenced you?
My adviser and counselor at Concord University, Kevin O’Sullivan, was a mentor because I was at the bottom of the barrel when I went back to school and he pulled me out. A woman named Virginia Dolan was a mentor to me when she had me in class at Concord University. We became good personal friends.
What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?
The constant change and development of technology. It is always creating something new every day.
How do you see these changes affecting the future of your industry?
The new changes on technology and the computer world are amazing. These changes will continue in the library and information specialist field.
What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?
I plan to continue to develop my yearbook and doll collection, and provide information on request from various sources.
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
Through personal contact — e-mail, telephone calls, and personal conversation.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
Keeping abreast of new developments; the profession is always changing.
What are some questions that an individual interested in your services can ask to ensure a more productive relationship?
How may I find the information, and is it available?