Editor’s Note: This month we return to our occasional series profiling members of the ACRL staff. We’ll be featuring one of our fantastic staff members each month or so moving forward. You can learn more about all the ACRL staff on the association website in our new staff bios.
1. Describe yourself in three words. Empathetic, enthusiastic, creative.
2. What are you reading right now (or watching or listening to on your iPod?) Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility by Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon.
3. What was your background before coming to ACRL? I started out as a sculptor but became a reference librarian after getting my MLS from The University at Albany in Albany, New York. I have worked in public libraries, a museum library, a university library, and at the Association of Research Libraries as well as a multi-type consortium in Illinois before coming to work at ACRL.
4. What do you do in your role as ACRL’s Content Strategist? I am the ACRL Content Strategist which is certainly a conversation starter of a title. My job is several-fold. I look for new book authors, editors, and topics, and use my persuasion skills to get them to publish with ACRL since we are a separate press from other ALA publications. I also work with my colleague Margot Conahan to acquire e-learning content which essentially means looking for interesting and timely topics and finding librarians eager to present on those topics. Finally, I have a role in co-leading the ACRL Consulting Services program that provides such services as external library reviews, facilitation of planning retreats or team development retreats, consulting on change initiatives and the like.
5. What’s your favorite thing about (or most memorable experience) working at ACRL? I think my favorite thing about working at ACRL is when we do the ACRL Conference every other year. It is such an exciting time and it is a time when all of us come together to make the experience as special and valuable for the ACRL Conference attendees as possible. And it is so much fun to be in that sizzling environment every other year!
6. Fun facts about Kathryn: Aside from having wielded a 14 lb mallet on stone when I was a stone sculptor, I am a painter and plan to go back to many other media when I get more time for larger scale work. I was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, and Spanish was my first language. I taught U Thant, then Secretary General of the United Nations, the bunny hop when I was young!
7. In your own words: I think we, as a profession embrace our values in a unique way – the strength of our values is what drew me to librarianship in the first place. I’d love to see us be even bolder leaders and to solve problems (with our communities) in more imaginative ways, but also I’d like to see us continue creating the new. I am in awe of the next generations of librarians I meet in the leadership programs I conduct and in the libraries I visit. I know our profession is in great hands with extremely bright and intellectually curious librarians coming along at just the right time. The challenge to my (boomer) generation is to trust that they will do great things and to work with them, make space for their ideas, or get out of the way!