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Brock Hutchison, MLIS – Alumni Spotlight

iSchool Graduation Date

2013

Professional Organizations/Affiliations

Ohio Library Council, Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees, Louisville Rotary, Louisville-Nimishillen Township Historical Society Board of Trustees, Louisville 20/20 Vision

Current responsibilities/How are you using your information skills?

I am the Library Director for the Louisville Public Library. If you are interested in becoming a Library Director, I would highly recommend taking a class in Public Library Management. I remember being given a budget in my management class and told to make cuts and fix the budget. That experience was incredibly applicable during our recent economic downturn due to COVID-19.

What is the best professional advice you can give?

Build a network and make relationships. It’s important for librarians to network with other librarians and even more important to build relationships with other professionals in your community. Don’t be afraid to get out of the library!

How do you encourage innovative ideas?

Don’t hesitate to try new ideas, even if they are not your own ideas. It’s okay to fail.

Do you have a mentor? How have they influenced you?

I have been blessed with two great mentors – Babette Wofter and Eric Taggart. I learned so much from Babette, that I always tell people anything you see me doing, it’s because I saw Babette doing it first. As a new Director, Eric took me under his wing and is always a helping hand and good friend.

What do you wish you had done earlier or more often?

So, I have basically only worked in libraries. I started working in libraries as an undergraduate and I’ve never left. I would recommend trying to work every desk and every station at each library where you work. You will never regret the extra experience.

How and where do you find inspiration?

I’m a through and through extrovert. I find inspiration in my family, friends, employees and colleagues. I love sitting in a meeting and figuring things out as a group. And, yes, COVID has made this much harder.

To what values are you committed?

Fairness, integrity and trust.

How do you balance your work and home life?

I’d love to be able to tell you that when I’m home I’m just dad, husband, friend, etc. and when I’m at work I’m a librarian, co-worker, etc., but that would be a lie. True to my millenialism, it’s all one big flexible jumble and I’m okay with it. It’s okay to leave early with a sick kid, but it’s also okay to take a work call on an evening boat ride.

What are some challenges that today’s information professionals will face? And tomorrow’s?

As always right now, COVID seems top of mind. In the immediate future, we will have to constantly balance community need and want with safety. Tomorrow’s information professionals will have to adjust to a post-pandemic world. I think there will be an incredible need for everyone to be together again. How does the library fill that need and fill the need safely?

How can the library remain important to the community?

Serve on committees, attend events, and talk about the library with everyone you meet. People often think that the library is outdated, so it’s up to us to get out there and tell them all of the awesome things happening at the library! No amount of social media marketing can do this.

What websites, apps, podcasts, or other resources would you recommend to explore?

Well, if you live in or around Stark County, Ohio, I would tell you to tune into the “What’s Up Stark” podcast. Admittedly, it’s self-promotion, but this a podcast collaboration with two library employees (I’m one of them) where we interview and get to know the movers and shakers in our community and discuss exciting things that are happening.

Otherwise, I would recommend anything local – podcasts, newspapers, radio stations, etc. It’s really important that the library knows what is going on in the community, because we talk to so many community members each day!

What is a book you like that you have to defend liking and what is a book you dislike that you have to defend disliking?

I’m a Star Wars junkie, so I’ve read through almost all of the new canon. I’m super excited for the High Republic novels and I’m usually defending this interest.

So, I typically don’t keep reading, if I don’t like the book, but I read the Southern Reach Trilogy. I really liked Book 1 – “Annihilation,” but I really did not enjoy books 2 and 3.


Special thanks to the Kent State University iSchool Alumni Network for coordinating these profiles. Learn more about the Alumni Network on their Facebook page and group. Students are welcome to join and participate.

Flat Flash

In an effort to see more faces of the Kent State University iSchool family, GSAC is inviting all iSchool students, faculty and alumni to print out a “Flat Flash” and share a photo of it on social media using the hashtag #iSchoolFlashes. We’d love to see your smiling face at home, work or beyond!

If you’d prefer not to post the photo to your account, feel free to send it to GSAC VP of Communication Olivia Wood, and we’ll post it from the GSAC account. (Let us know if you’d like us to include your full name or first name).

Be sure to follow and tag @KentGSAC on Twitter or Instagram (students, alumni and faculty), or join our LinkedIn (students, faculty and alumni) or Facebook group (students only) to join the fun!

You can choose from two versions:

Ready to print OR Ready to color (add your own flair)

#iSchoolFlashes

Flash

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Artwork courtesy of the KSU Flashes Forever Hub

Tricia Bohanon, MLIS – Alumni Spotlight

iSchool Graduation Date

1999

Professional Organizations/Affiliations

Former ALA/PLA/OLC 

Current responsibilities/How are you using your information skills?

My current responsibilities are twofold.  I started a library consulting business this year to leverage my experience, especially in the area of sensory/inclusive programming training, which is my passion in library service.  I’m also working in publishing as an Author Manager.  This is a fascinating switch of perspective to the other side of the books.  In this role, I support the authors I work with throughout their self-publishing process.        

What is the best professional advice you can give?

Let the path unfold before you by being open to opportunities.  A great example of this would be how I became involved in sensory programming in 2008 — totally by accident when I had a conversation with a parent about the absence of programming options for their child with autism.  That one conversation initiated years of research, programming, and training that evolves to this day and has benefited many families beyond Charlotte, NC where it originated.   

How do you encourage innovative ideas?

Innovation comes from a place of safety to expand through trial and error.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library was incredibly supportive because serving the customer is at the forefront of their focus, allowing for innovation in Sensory Storytime Programming at a time when it wasn’t yet a library program option.

Do you have a mentor? How have they influenced you?

While I’ve not had one mentor throughout my career, I’ve had some amazing managers to learn from over the years.  I recall one manager I worked with who could step out of the library doors and leave work behind with such ease that you could physically see her body language shifting to “home mode” as she walked across the parking lot to her car!  Her ability to do this was something I admired.  

What do you wish you had done earlier or more often?

I wish I became a library consultant sooner to share my passion for inclusive library services more broadly.  

How and where do you find inspiration?

I find my inspiration in nature and music.  For me the best way to recharge is a hike with Mahler on my headphones.  That’s when I get my best ideas. 

To what values are you committed?

I’m committed to community, service and honesty. 

How do you balance your work and home life?

I’m not the best at balancing work/home life, which is why I admired my former manager’s ability to do this!  I aspire to do this!  Yet I tend to throw myself into my work and working from home blurs the lines even blurrier!  When I do set boundaries, I make time to practice yoga, meditate, journal, hike, and spend time with my kids.

What are some challenges that today’s information professionals will face? And tomorrow’s?

Obviously, the pandemic is changing library service as never before, limiting our ability to program and interact with our customers and communities.  I think this will also be tomorrow’s challenge–to keep evolving to the environment around us to stay vibrant and valued.  

How can the library remain important to the community?

The library is wise to adjust in response to our current state of the world – and we are doing this!  It is apparent from the services that are happening during this time — virtual programming, personal shopping, curbside delivery. It’s exciting to see the innovation, even if the impetus isn’t ideal. 

What websites, apps, podcasts, or other resources would you recommend to explore?

As much as I love music and have it on pretty much nonstop, sometimes I need a break and lean on podcasts.  Lately I’ve been catching up on Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast and Curiosity Junkie.  

What is a book you like that you have to defend liking and what is a book you dislike that you have to defend disliking?

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli has been and will forever be my favorite teen book.  It’s not that I feel like I have to defend liking it, but it’s an older teen book so it tends to be overlooked.  I honestly can’t think of a book that I have defended disliking.  I’m not one to argue about books. 😉


Special thanks to the Kent State University iSchool Alumni Network for coordinating these profiles. Learn more about the Alumni Network on their Facebook page and group. Students are welcome to join and participate.

Stephen Hamilton Cox, Jr., MLIS – Alumni Spotlight

iSchool Graduation Date

2011

Professional Organizations/Affiliations

American Library Association, Association of Zoos & Aquariums  

Current responsibilities/How are you using your information skills?

I serve as branch librarian for the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park & Conservation Biology Institute, where my primary focus is scholarly research. The mission of the National Zoo is saving species, and to that end, I assist its veterinarians, curators (head keepers), animal keepers, and fellows in their important work.  Species conservation is a global effort, so I serve many of the zoo’s curators in their work for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. To do this, I provide bibliographic curation for half a dozen Species Survival Plans, including literature searches, database hosting and maintenance, citation verification, and bibliographic reports.     

I also serve as the Mineral Sciences librarian at the National Museum of Natural History and provide reference services for the Natural History library.  Because I sit on committees across the Smithsonian, teach research methodology, and am embedded with the 1,000 patrons I serve, my responsibilities closely resemble those of university library faculty.

Since May, I have sat on institution wide COVID-19 committees.  Seeing the explosion of COVID-19 scholarly literature while performing tailored searches, I decided to create a comprehensive coronavirus/respiratory illness citation database for Smithsonian Institution medical personnel, veterinarians, and epidemiologists.  The database currently houses 120,000 citations.           

What is the best professional advice you can give?

Just as librarianship is often a second or third career, so too can it take working in several subject disciplines to find fulfillment in one’s chosen field.  I attended graduate school with a focus in digital preservation, but have worked in biomedical research, university librarianship, federal contract librarianship, and public librarianship before my current role.  Being able to define professional success and hold to that ideal can be scary, especially when your field’s cursus honorum is well-defined.  Most outsiders would not think of librarianship as having inherent risk, but finding contentment in one’s work means being willing to explore different paths.  

How do you encourage innovative ideas?

I spent a lot of Saturday mornings at my dad’s office, watching him tackle international accounting in Lotus 1-2-3.  Dad was an early adopter and advocate for new technologies (e.g., he’s the reason his company invested in sub-Atlantic telecommunication wiring in the late 1980s/early 90s).  I learned that efficiency in purpose and product is key to building strong relationships, and therefore, a lasting, professional reputation.  To that end, I am constantly seeking the most efficient way of serving my patrons, which means long hours testing new software, trying new search methodologies, or reading about peers’ discoveries.   

Do you have a mentor? How have they influenced you?

I am extremely fortunate to have four mentors, across academic, corporate, and federal librarianship.  Marrying the practical with interpersonal aspects of our field is the lesson I continue to learn.  By serving not only our patrons, but each other and the broader profession, we improve all three.  My first mentor taught me to ask the question behind the question, in pursuit of thoroughly understanding a patron’s query and motivation for their request. Practically, learning to create effective and efficient search strings, tailoring deliverables to clients, engaging students, and teaching young researchers how to best use the tools at their disposal, emboldened me to eschew the trivialities that hinder service. 

What do you wish you had done earlier or more often?

This is too easy: I wish I had pursued my library degree earlier.  Whether you believe you are born with specific purpose/fate, or with the combination of traits needed to succeed at a given profession, I have never felt more fitted to a role than that of librarian.  Looking back, there was no other way to achieve my current position, so I do not regret my path.  To be a librarian now, when citation indices, open access publishing, and mass digitization are making access wider and (potentially) more equitable, makes me appreciate my own place in the profession, especially after hearing “stone age” stories from more experienced colleagues.      

How and where do you find inspiration?

My colleagues in the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives.  Their dedication to service and professional development means I am never far from learning something new.  Best of all, they love to share their expertise in intimate seminars or consultations.  I joked before coming to the Smithsonian Institution that it was the big leagues for librarians, but being here, it’s clear this is a daily all-star game.       

To what values are you committed?

Universal access permeates every professional action I take.  The stewardship of knowledge, curation of data, and presentation of information is a trust that must be honored.  Government service has always been my goal, and to do so while working in a non-partisan environment means I can serve the public and my patrons faithfully. 

How do you balance your work and home life?

 I use the commute home on the Metro to unwind the spring in my mind, usually by rating music (in iTunes) or reading.  I’m very color-oriented and use my Outlook calendar to make sure I underpromise on delivery dates and overdeliver on quality and deadlines.  I also make extensive use of Tasks and alarms.  For an overthinker, this was a hard discipline to achieve, but it has made compartmentalizing work much easier.  I have found I’m more productive working from home, while still using Outlook and Tasks to make sure I put work away at 5 pm each night.  Lastly, my home office is in a loft, meaning I can keep an eye and ear on my daughter (i.e., peace of mind), as well as listen to my wife teach virtually, while working.      

What are some challenges that today’s information professionals will face? And tomorrow’s?

The exorbitant cost of scholarly publishing means librarians are often more like Tantalus than Prometheus, forever reaching for timely papers or books but unable to afford them.  We strain our consortiums through interlibrary loan requests, even as digital resources could alleviate backlogs of demand if licenses weren’t so often limited to one or three consecutive users.  The open access movement is integral to providing even adequate access.  I’m not so naïve as to think costs for for-profit publishing services are insignificant, but it will take buy-in from authors, non-profits, and governments to counter the conventional wisdom of the scholarly publishing model.  The Berlin declaration of open access, and the subsequent Belgian declaration, are models for publicly financed research to be made accessible without publishers merely selling other people’s writing (i.e., labor).  

How can the library remain important to the community?

The purpose of our profession is to illuminate information, in all its facets and, and as we see with our peers’ pursuit of improvement, emerging services and products will make the library indispensable.  Passionate and sustained advocacy will make sure the public sees the library as such.  Continued support for the IMLS and regional library associations are necessary to make sure that we continually develop our knowledge and skills.   

What websites, apps, podcasts, or other resources would you recommend to explore?

 I can’t recommend Zotero enough.  Coming from Endnote, Zotero contains all the features I desire, especially the ability to create tags and automatically retrieve PDFs of articles (based on DOIs or URLs).  Integration with web browsers and word processors makes it easy to quickly retrieve article metadata and embed citations in documents, all while retaining the ability to change citation styles on the fly.    

What is a book you like that you have to defend liking and what is a book you dislike that you have to defend disliking?

While I know the series is immensely popular, I still find myself defending Robert Jordan’s (and Brandon Sanderson’s) Wheel of Time series.  The most common complaint is the length of the books and  series itself, yet that’s one of the most attractive features.  Four million words?  Sign me up!

I loathe A Separate Peace, both the novel and the 1972 movie adaptation.  It lacks any sense of authenticity and, though attempting to present powerful and transformative themes, still manages to utterly lack in sincerity.  This book, along with The Scarlet Letter, is why I chose to focus on modern British fiction during my undergraduate degree.           


Special thanks to the Kent State University iSchool Alumni Network for coordinating these profiles. Learn more about the Alumni Network on their Facebook page and group. Students are welcome to join and participate.

Introducing Your New GSAC Officers

The iSchool Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) held elections during our December meeting, and we are pleased to introduce several new officers and representatives.

GSAC serves as a bridge between iSchool students, administration, and faculty. Our mission is to enhance graduate student life through social events and professional development opportunities. All iSchool students are automatically members and welcome to attend any of our events. If you are interested in getting involved with GSAC, please reach out to GSAC President Lauren Zollinger at lzolling@kent.edu.

Olivia Wood, Vice President of Communications

My name is Olivia Wood and I am a second semester student focusing on archival and cultural heritage preservation studies. I currently reside in Mansfield, OH, although I hail from Lima, OH. I earned my BA in History with a minor in Education from Ohio State University in 2017. Currently, I am a member of the KSU ALA Student Chapter and the Ohio Library Council.

I am a full time MLIS student as of late and I intend to focus on cultivating meaningful relationships with my fellow peers. I was introduced to GSAC during my first semester and had the pleasure of meeting some amazing and talented people. While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted my life in many ways, I’m spending my time focusing on my studies while dedicating myself to bettering the educational experience for every student. When I’m not working on extracurriculars or schoolwork, I enjoy spending time with my dog, Emmy, and my cat, Baz; I also love to read, write, paint, bake, and cook. I try to make time for the little things as often as I can. I hope to serve the GSAC with your best interests in mind and I am thankful for this incredible experience!

EMAIL: owood2@kent.edu

Kathryn Taylor, Secretary

My name is Kathryn Taylor and I am beginning my third semester in the iSchool, pursuing the K-12 Library/Media Licensure. I went to Magnificat High School in Rocky River, graduated with my BS in Business Administration from The Ohio State University in 2004, and completed my initial teaching coursework at the University of Toledo.

I live in Cleveland with my partner Moe and our Boston Terrier Larry. During the day, I am a Title I Math teacher at Westpark Community Middle School, a charter school managed by Constellation Schools. I also enjoyed living and working in Keystone, Colorado in the hospitality industry, both in lodging and food service. These days have me reminiscing on some favorite childhood experiences including being slimed at Nickelodeon Studios, going to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, and being part of a sailing race team for Put-in-Bay Yacht Club. When the world opens back up I look forward to spending spare time with my many relatives, going to comedy shows, and traveling the world.

I am already grateful for the connections made through GSAC and look forward to serving as its secretary.

Email: ktaylo85@kent.edu

Jessica Black, UXD Representative

My name is Jessica Black and I am in my third semester of the User Experience Design (UXD) program. I have a particular interest in how user experience principles can be applied to the health care field. I believe there is a need for UX professionals to focus on solving design problems that threaten the safety of patients and health care providers. I am very passionate about my UXD coursework and I am proud to represent the interests of UXD students within GSAC.

I have a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in digital advertising from Louisiana State University. I’m from Slidell, Louisiana, and live for crawfish season. When I have free time, you can find me meditating, journaling, listening to music, or spending time with friends and family.

EMAIL: jblack62@kent.edu

To see our full slate of officers, please go here.