Mary Schreiber, MLIS – Alumni Spotlight

Mary Schreiber

iSchool Graduation Date


Professional Organizations/Affiliations

• American Library Association
• Association for Library Service to Children
• Currently serving on the 2021 Randolph Caldecott Committee

Current responsibilities/How are you using your information skills?

• Collection Development Specialist for Cuyahoga County Public Library in the area of youth selection

• Presenting at the South Central Library System (WI) virtual staff development day in October on the topic of Partnering with Parents for Early Childhood Success

• Adjunct Professor at Kent State University’s iSchool.  Taught the Selection and Acquisitions class in Spring semester 2020

• Published a professional development book, Partnering with Parents: Boosting Literacy for All Ages through ABC-CLIO.

What is the best professional advice you can give?

Always return emails and voicemail in a timely manner.  I shoot for 24-48 hours even if the response is simply that I’m still working on getting an answer or finding a solution.  Your co-workers and community partners will really appreciate the courtesy.

How do you encourage innovative ideas?

We’ve had a lot of retirements over the last few years, so there are many new librarians and support staff working in the branches.  It can be a challenge to get to know everyone, but I feel it is important to keep the lines of communication open so branches know they can ask for materials to support their programming idea.  For example, when Baby Club was started, the branch staff asked to have reference copies of the board books they would be sharing with families.  This was something I could happily do.

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

I’ve had several mentors throughout my career.  Some have been formal mentors that have helped me make decisions about next steps in my career.  These were set-up through my library’s mentoring program.  Others have been more informal, including managers who were strong and supportive leaders and were examples to me when I was a supervisor.  I’ve also been informally mentored by ALSC members through the various committees I’ve served on.  This has expanded my network and comes in handy when my library is looking for outside advice on new products or services.  Specifically, I learned how to work with a board and leadership team when I served on and co-chaired the ALSC Public Awareness Committee and was involved in creating board proposals and the Championing Children’s Services toolkit.  I’ve also served as a mentor and learned a lot from my mentees.  Their creativity and enthusiasm inspires and energizes me.

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

Taking a little time to think before saying yes to an opportunity and knowing it’s fine to say no when a project doesn’t really interest you or the timing isn’t right. If it’s meant to be, they’ll ask again.  If it’s a must do for your job, then speak up to your boss and ask for guidance.  It is okay to ask for help prioritizing projects when what you’re hearing is that everything is top priority.  They can’t all be #1 and a good boss will help you manage your to-do list so you can get them what they need when they need it.  I’m stilling working on this one. 

How and where do you find inspiration?

I read a lot and get inspired by books all the time.   Listening to authors and illustrators talk about their process brings additional joy to favorites.  I also find professional development rewarding.  Whether it is attending an ALA or OLC Conference or a webinar, I love to learn from others and then see how I can bring at least one thing back to my library to implement. 

To what values are you committed?

As a selector of materials, I’m committed to intellectual freedom and access of information.  I work to find and add a wide variety of diverse titles to the collection.  I feel it’s very important to have books that reflect and expand a child’s experiences with the world.

How do you balance your work and home life?

In the past, I have not brought work home much, and tried to limit out of work time spent checking email.  Using the out-of-office feature lets people know when they can expect to hear back from you.  Since March, I’ve been working more from home and so I’ve been pretty strict about turning off my work computer at 5:00 and staying off email in the evenings.  I enjoy spending time with my family, reading (the lines are a little blurry on this one), and traveling when I’m not working.

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

With the pandemic it has really highlighted the importance of digital access and broadband for all.  I think this is an area that library professionals will be working with their communities to expand and improve.  There will also be a need to see how it permanently influences libraries.  Will people permanently move to ebooks?  What will programming look like once large in person groups are safe?  Will there still be some author/storytime events online?

I’ve worked in libraries for 25 years.  Services, programs, formats, and technology have changed and shifted to the point where some areas of librarianship are almost unrecognizable to the libraries of my childhood.  I’m glad the library is more of a community space rather than a quiet, sacred space.  I think being flexible and embracing change are characteristics information professionals will continue to need in the future.

How can the library remain important to the community?

As COVID-19 has shown, libraries are where people go when they need reliable Internet and computer access.  They go to libraries for job searching and for help applying for benefits.  I gained firsthand knowledge of the challenges of applying for unemployment when my library went on Shared Work Ohio for a couple of months this Spring.  Libraries are perfect partners for community organizations like senior centers and schools to support reading and lifelong learning.

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

I like the Mile High Reading blog and Heavy Medal Mock Newbery blog. To keep in the know about what’s being published, I subscribe to the Shelf Awareness and Book Pulse e-newsletters.  

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 was a huge Babysitters Club fan as a child and a librarian told my mom that she should make me read “better” books.  Thankfully, my mom didn’t listen.  This has made me a champion for kids having access to the materials they like – graphic novels, comic books, cartoon/superhero beginning readers, video games, etc. Caregivers can set limits for their kids, but library staff never should.

I never was able to make it through Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  I tried reading and listening to the first book, but just couldn’t get into it.  When asked, I say that teens know about the series and they’ve never really needed me to recommend it.  I also read the reviews so that I would have good background knowledge for parent concerns.  Twilight was hot right before I left branch life and moved to collection development.  With Midnight Sun arriving in August, I purchased many copies to meet the customer demand and in lots of formats.

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.

Julianne Bedel, MLIS – Alumni Spotlight

Julianne Bedel

iSchool Graduation Date

I graduated with my MLIS in 2006. I was part of a scholarship cohort guided by Dr. Carolyn Brodie and Dr. Greg Byerly through the Laura Bush: Librarians for the new millennium IMLS scholarship grant. If memory serves me correctly, half of us aspired to teen librarianship in a public library (that was me!) and the other half of our scholarship cohort planned to do the same in a school library setting. I’ll always be thankful to Drs. Brodie and Byerly for the wonderful experience I had in the program! I’m happy to say that I still see a few folks from our cohort around the library community and it’s always wonderful to catch up.

Professional Organizations/Affiliations

OLC, ALA/PLA, American Association of University Women, and Chi Omega

Current responsibilities/How are you using your information skills?

I am presently the Director of the Medina County District Library (Ohio). We’re a county library with six branches and a bookmobile. I’ve held the position since February of this year. What a wild six months it’s been! Prior to that I was the system’s Assistant Director starting in July 2018. Is it just me…or do you also find yourself relying on both basic and advanced information literacy skills sometimes even more in your personal life than at work (some days) as a library professional? I’ll blame the relentless 24/7 news cycle.

What is the best professional advice you can give?

The following was shared with me many years ago, and I think it’s still evergreen. Change can be achieved by either evolution or revolution. There’s a time and place for each. Choose wisely.

How do you encourage innovative ideas?

By not being afraid to admit mistakes and change course when needed. I always put in the honest work to research, plan, and exercise due diligence. However, when things run amuck, I try to be frank about it. Don’t point fingers, just fix the problem and move on! Nothing kills innovation more quickly than fear of blame. That’s not to say I don’t hold myself and others accountable for inadequate planning or poor decision-making if that occurs. It’s all about honesty. I just try to encourage creativity by reducing the fear of failure by being open and honest with mistakes. Of course, when things DO end in success, shine the light on all those who were involved. Make sure that kudos are given to the entire team – not only those who were directly responsible for the innovation, but also those who supported the work in ancillary ways. Recognize “the village” that contributed to the success.

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

The library director who gave me my first management position (20+ years ago) still takes my calls. I’ve kept in touch with her through professional good times and tough periods, even though I only ever actually worked for her for less than a year. She was also the adjunct professor who taught my KSU library management class. I’m not sure she knew I unilaterally appointed her as my mentor way back in the day, but she’s certainly lived up to the role. She’s influenced me by her professional example as she’s directed several library systems in our region and been actively involved in OLC and ALA leadership roles. I’ve been particularly thankful for her willingness to listen and talk through complex situations…always offering insight and guidance but never advice.

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

I wasn’t aware of the practice of mindfulness until fairly recently. I’m still very much a work in progress in that regard, but I do wish I had started thinking about that much earlier in life.

How and where do you find inspiration?

Professionally, my staff is the biggest inspiration to me at this stage in the game. Their ingenuity, dedication, and tenacity are the reason that I look forward to doing my own job. Ensuring that they have access to the resources they need to get the job done today and in the future is my number one priority. And not just in a pandemic.

To what values are you committed?

Speaking on an individual level, I strive to live with personal integrity, empathy and kindness. Thinking about values organizationally, last year our library’s staff developed a Culture Statement – and I have to admit that I kind of love it.

How do you balance your work and home life?

Most times I would say that I categorically do NOT have a balanced work and home life. It depends on what’s going on and where, really, which way I lean at any given time. For me the key to long-term sanity is knowing when to unplug long enough to recharge. If you’ve got the secret to balancing work and home, please give me a call!

How can the library remain important to the community?

As we always have: by staying responsive to our local community’s needs. By providing the services and resources they need – not that which we think they ought to want. By listening. And 2020 of course is putting a whole new twist on connecting with our communities in the ways which are safest for patrons and employees alike.

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

Right now I’m enjoying Higher Ground: The Michelle Obama Podcast on Spotify (including the free version) as it is focusing on the relationships that make us who we are.

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?

Back in my very first library job, when I was a high school sophomore, my manager could hardly bear to include “trash romances” in the library collection. I think she may even have described them that way and said that at least they (the paperback romances) got some folks in the door who otherwise wouldn’t come in. She just hoped that sometimes they also grabbed some “decent reading” while they were here, too. I must have internalized that judgement because some years later I accidentally read Jude Deveraux’s Knight in Shining Armor (1989), which started me on romance reading, and I became a fan of the genre – but certainly wouldn’t mention it at work! (Yes, I made sure she didn’t see me borrowing “those” kinds of books.) I originally picked up the title because I thought it was time travel fiction (it is) rather than a romance (it really is). At the time I was support staff working through my undergraduate education, and in hindsight it still surprises me how long I carried that attitude. I think in the long run it made me super sensitive not to do that to any of my own library patrons! What book do I dislike? I just can’t stomach any kind of horror. Even the most basic. But I’m not going to defend that…because I know you won’t judge me for it!

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.

Brendan Latran – Student Spotlight

Tell us a little about your background.

My name is Brendan Latran, and I am scheduled to graduate at the end of 2020 from the iSchool with my MLIS. My journey to this point in my life has been unconventional, but during these times, “unconventional” is more ordinary now than it was a year ago.

I was born and raised in Long Valley, New Jersey, and I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film, Video, and Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University. I originally came to Kent State University to earn an MFA in Scenic Design, but after a particular project for the teaching assistantship I earned, I pivoted towards Library and Information Sciences; within a month I was accepted into the MLIS program. Since I started the program the realm of intelligence work, political strategy, knowledge management, and research librarianship has been the main focus of my studies.

Tell us about your internship site.

I interned at Bandwidth, Inc. as their first Information Heuristics Expert (intern) for the 2020 Summer, and I’ve been greatly honored to have my internship period extended till I graduate at the end of the year. Bandwidth is a software company providing “Software as a Service” (SaaS) for telecommunications across the country, for example in text messaging/notifications, emergency/911 communications, etc.

How did you find out about this internship?

I found out about the internship when I was searching for internships with the term “masters in library and information science” on LinkedIn. That really was the key to finding any internship opportunities for future MLIS students. If you can find a posting with that requirement, you should be relatively successful.

What sort of work did you do during your internship?

Mostly the work revolved around “problem-solving.” I was given a business challenge involving knowledge management, and the capturing and sharing of tacit knowledge, and was told to research new tools and techniques. From there, I developed an “out of the box” solution that is modeled like an “old-school, OSS-like intelligence network” that can capture, discover, and synthesize new knowledge to be used by the company.

These proposed solutions have changed though since I’ve continued my work. More time on the project means I can go “deeper down the rabbit-hole” and discover things I hadn’t come across yet. It is a far more complex challenge now, after discovering the inner workings of the AGILE Software Development process. I am now researching what I’ve deemed the “AGILEvolution” and trying to find out what the next stage to better capture tacit knowledge in an extremely dynamic workspace.

What was your favorite part of the internship?

I love puzzles, and that’s exactly what this project is; a puzzle. The ongoing adventure of testing theories, and discovering new bits of information, always kept me interested. I was able to apply my skills towards a real-life situation and test out my work in an enterprise environment.

The people were amazing to work with. Despite the fact that everything was virtual (thank you, COVID), everyone was supportive and very friendly to me and the rest of the interns. They called us “Headliners” because the interns were doing really important work rather than doing typical “roadie” work (i.e. “getting coffee,” and basic intern grunt work).

What is your advice to students looking to complete an internship?

PERSISTENCE. Another important thing I learned is that library and information science is a very diverse degree and a group of skills that can be applied to a wide variety of different jobs and sectors; especially, the private sector. Be open to the possibilities that you can do with your experience and the degree; don’t just limit your potential to only one thing, apply to anything and everything.

The other thing that I want to share with any incoming students into the program involves the massive “up-turn” of our employment opportunities during the pandemic. I had the majority of my future jobs get dissolved during the pandemic (thankfully the internship was unaffected), but you need to keep in mind is that all of those events are out of your control; you can’t do anything about it, and that’s okay; that’s how the world works. If you can’t do anything about it, why are you worried about it? This isn’t the end of the game, you’re just going to need to be a little more creative and bold with your next move.

The best way to go after these problems starts within yourself. If your attitude is mostly negative, you’ve already lost. When I received the news about my future opportunities, I thought to myself: “Okay, a little bit of a setback, but I’ve lived and succeeded through much worse. We’re just gonna need to hunker down and work hard.” That would be my advice to you in working towards your success as a newly graduated LIS professional. And if you ever need advice, I am more than happy to help!

G. Kim Dority, M.L.I.S. – Faculty Spotlight

Tell us a little bit about your professional background and areas of focus.

Okay, I’m going to take a bit of a shortcut here and do what we tell our students never to do, i.e., self-plagiarize! But this is a good description of my background and areas of focus from my website:

I’m an information professional whose somewhat eclectic career has included research, writing, editing, online content development, and LIS career advising, among other activities. In fact, I love what an adventure my LIS career has been! Since receiving my MLIS in the ‘80s, I’ve used my LIS skills to:

• conceptualize and create the first virtual academic library, working with a team of amazing academic librarians and LIS subject specialists

• create an information center literally “from the ground up” for a major industry association

• license and/or create the content for the first website devoted to helping people with disabilities live their fullest lives

• work with recognized thought leaders in the positive psychology field to create content for the first website devoted to mental health and well-being resources

• create and teach the first course on alternative LIS careers

I love my career today, but I can easily remember many moments when, despite my MLIS and my diverse set of skills, I was unsure of what professional path to pursue or next step to take. That’s why my most rewarding work has been the opportunities I’ve had as an LIS careers expert to help individual students, alumni, new professionals, mid-career practitioners, and others achieve their best LIS careers.

As a part of that commitment, I’ve written over 400 articles and two books on information careers, including LIS Career Sourcebook (Libraries Unlimited, 2012) and Rethinking Information Work, 2d ed. (Libraries Unlimited, 2016).

In 2016, I chaired SLA’s Students and New Professionals Advisory Council, working with graduate program student groups, their boards, and faculty advisors to help create a high-value, sustainable relationship between these passionate, hard-working volunteers and SLA. In addition, I founded and manage the LinkedIn LIS Career Options group, with over 14,000 members from 80 countries. I continue to be amazed and gratified by members’ willingness to share knowledge and insights with each other. In 2017, I was honored to receive SLA’s Rose L. Vormelker award (the Rosie) in recognition of my work “actively teaching and/or mentoring students or working professionals.”

Over the past twenty years, I’ve worked with numerous graduate programs and professional associations to help them create outstanding career content, resources, and programs tailored to the needs of their specific constituencies, whether students, alumni, and potential student recruits or existing/new/potential association members. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to live by this simple commitment:

Be kind, do awesome work, and have fun!

Describe recent projects or research that you’ve been working on.

I’m currently working on two basic research projects. 

The first is assembling a guide to what student/new professional programs, resources, and benefits LIS associations offer to students.

The second is gathering information to create an overview of all of the government job opportunities that exist for those with LIS skills, including types of agencies, level of government (e.g., state, federal, regional, etc.), job responsibilities/requirements, and job titles.

What is your favorite part of teaching?

Connecting with students and their goals and circumstances. Every student is different, and having an opportunity to get to know those differences and to be able to respond supportively (and, hopefully, knowledgeably!) to support them is simply incredibly rewarding. Plus, students are smart and know tons of stuff I don’t, so I’m always learning and laughing a lot!

Do you have a favorite teaching moment?

At the beginning of each course, students provide a brief bio or background statement about who they are. I put together a document that captures all those bios, so that when I’m reading a journal entry, discussion post, or assignment, I can put those into the context of who that person is, what they may or may not have experienced yet, what their dreams and goals and assumptions are. So my favorite teaching moment is when I can see and respond to that individual student, rather than just evaluating their work against a deliverable metric.

How have your professional experiences influenced your teaching?

When I graduated with my MLIS, I had no idea what sort of career I should pursue. I was extremely fortunate to be recommended to my first post-grad employer, an LIS publishing company (Libraries Unlimited), by my program’s administration. But I never forgot that moment of panic when I realized what I was good at – research and writing – but had no clue how to connect that to a job, let alone a career path. I learned through trial and error to build strong relationships with my colleagues, to seek out new opportunities, to be curious and, most importantly, to aim for being fearless rather than perfect. The end result has been a career that I’ve loved every day, and, I hope, one where the opportunities I’ve been given or created have had positive results for those around me. 

When possible, I try to share that same approach with my students, especially those who are perfectionists!

What issues related to information interest you most?

• How to create a true community information system, mapping out all the information resources in a given community, and then have the library be the beating heart and connecting hub of that CIS.

• How many ways LIS professionals can deploy their information skills, and how to present this information with the multitude of variables involved so students can easily visualize and understand career path relationships and interconnectedness.

• LIS career pivots – how librarians and other information professionals can create highly adaptable careers that position them to fairly easily pivot and bridge into a new information role should they want or need to do so.

Are there any websites, apps, podcasts or other resources you’d recommend students explore?

I’m a firm believer in reading outside the profession because I think it helps us have a more expansive context within which to consider LIS issues (and possible solutions). So one of the things I’ve done for years is a monthly “magazine cruise” through all of the magazines at our local independent bookstore (shout out to Tattered Cover!). 

I’ll check out the Tables of Contents for all of the magazines that are discipline-specific, such as history, art, foreign policy, science, technology, business, politics, etc. What I’m looking for is a trend, statistic, quote, idea, innovation, etc. that can be adapted to thinking about LIS work. For example, I first came across the wonderful discipline of “design thinking” in the Stanford Review, and I’ve found great ideas in Scientific American and the MIT Technology Review (keep in mind that I was a comparative literature major undergrad, so I occasionally struggle a bit here….)

In terms of e-newsletters, I cruise through things like The Aspen Institute’s Five Best Ideas of the Day, The Conversation,, The Scout Report, and the discussion groups for ALA, SLA, and AIIP, all of which I’m a member of. 

Currently reading Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by Epstein (Riverhead, 2019), Designing Your Life by Burnett and Evans (Knopf, 2016), and The Creative Habit (Simon & Schuster, 2006) by choreographer Twyla Tharp.

If you had one superpower:

To remember everything I’ve read! 🙂

How do you like to spend time outside of work?

Playing in Colorado, coming up with cool information projects to pursue, watching baseball (even though the Rockies are pretty awful), attending classical music concerts, practicing on my drums, and bodysurfing when I can get to California.

Do you have any advice for students?

Don’t focus on your GPA too much in grad school; instead, explore as much as you can, build as many lasting friendships and relationships as possible, and do as many informational interviews as possible while people are still willing to talk to you (i.e., while you’re a student!). 

Vet your assumptions about what certain career paths are like, and let yourself change your mind and your direction. Plus, remember that your first job is ONLY your first job, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have it be the perfect job. It’s meant to launch your LIS career, not define it.

What class(es) are you teaching this semester for Kent’s iSchool?

60040 Information Institutions and Professions (2 sections!)

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’ve absolutely loved the work I’ve done with my information skills over the past 30 years, and although I’ve been laid off 3 times, I’ve always ended up being asked to take on a new project almost immediately. That’s not because I’m particularly brilliant but rather because I know that information is a strategic asset and I’ve developed the confidence to treat it as such, plus the professional relationships that continually open doors. Also, I’ve found that my LIS skills are infinitely adaptable….

So basically, I think you’re getting the coolest degree anyone can get, and if I had to make the choice between this degree and any other one, I’d choose LIS skills every time.

Alex Bell, M.L.I.S. – Alumni Spotlight

iSchool Graduation Date


Professional Organizations/Affiliations


Current responsibilities/How are you using your information skills?

I’m a children’s librarian in a public library, responsible for the collection development of our World Languages collection and programs such as story times and author visits. I also help develop our Educator and Student cards, services, and outreach for the local school districts and private schools.  In 2019, I was the drivers and hospitality volunteer coordinator for the University of Illinois’ Youth Literature Festival and while at Kent State, I was able to help at the Church and Synagogue Library Association Conference and Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth, and I volunteered at the Ohio Educational Library Media Association Conference. I’m currently serving on the 2021 Notable Children’s Books Committee and am always looking for ways to be a part of professional library work within city, state (including Kent State!), and national organizations too.

What is the best professional advice you can give?

Know yourself – think of your passions, what skills you feel most comfortable using, and what you might need. Find ways to use that knowledge in your professional life. Be willing to work hard, listen well, think through things in unique ways, and grow. 

How do you encourage innovative ideas?

Lots of ways – I like finding and sharing similar resources, using collaborators, infectious enthusiasm, imagining the outcome and working toward that visualization of success, or sometimes plain persistence and elbow grease. I also use humor to help make any massive task, as innovative ideas often are, more palatable. I don’t think you have to be a children’s librarian (although it’s amazing!) to throw out a wonky joke or silly imaginative moment to change the atmosphere into a more positive one. Smiling and laughing obviously makes doing the work more fun. For instance, although the changes a young patron was talking to me about (not going to the pool this summer, having to wear a mask in school) aren’t “innovations” per se, I tried to help. When she changed to the topic of not always listening to her parents, except about brushing her teeth because she loves her toothpaste, because “it’s strawberry and so good. And it’s red!” I tried to run with that for a moment. “Oooh, I’m so glad it was red! I think if it was strawberry toothpaste but it looked green, I would expect it to be mint and then – bleck!” She laughed and said, “yeah, or it could be green but really be orange *holds up hands like the fruit.* THAT WOULD BE WEIRD TOO!” We agreed we were being silly, and then began talking about the changes coming up again for a minute. Although she went off to find the DVDs she’d come up for help finding in the first place, I think we both benefited from that humor in helping us adjust to the “innovations” our society is going through right now. Leave space to let out some steam. Be compassionate to yourself and others through change. Try to make the work involved in that innovation itself as fun as can be. 

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

Dr. Harper was a mentor to me during my time as her graduate assistant, which is one of the positions I am proudest to have held. She really modeled how to have a caring approach in professional settings and how to combine a happy demeanor with successful outcomes and real change. Working with her gave me a wonderful example of establishing good communication, productivity, and support. I look for that in my colleagues and try to be more like her in my own work too.

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

Acknowledged hard work more positively – I often pushed myself and had high expectations of others without enough perspective and enough pause for celebration of success along the way. I would take more work and break it into smaller chunks.

How and where do you find inspiration?

Books! 😀 Reading articles online, listening to music, daydreaming, talking with friends and coworkers. 

To what values are you committed?

Being caring and working toward a continually more welcome, safe, innovative, and diverse community. Valuing childhood and the rights of children to be free, have fun, and be welcomed as their authentic selves in their personal lives, in schools, and in libraries. 

How do you balance your work and home life?

I’m thankful that my library has a strong union and an ingrained sense that personal lives should be given time and attention too. I try to check in with myself on whether I’m getting too overwhelmed, or not whelmed enough. I also try to delegate tasks or ask for help when I need it and be flexible with changes I need to make in expectations. 

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

Explaining our current work and our ideas in development, and advocating for our right to do it with respect and support. Being supportive of each other rather than competitive. Staying steady through rocky times. 

How can the library remain important to the community?

Be authentic members of the community. Be transparent and proactive in communication. However, I don’t worry that we might not remain important. People need a sense of community, need the space, and need the services libraries provide. 

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

Speaking to other youth services folk: I love the ALSC blog, the Future Ready Librarians group on Facebook, and resources on the ALA and affiliated websites the most. Some of my favorite kids apps are the Endless apps, like Endless Alphabet. For more general skills: I love Duolingo for language learning (not ashamed to say I got my dad to start and he has FAR surpassed me, as of 7/31/20, on day 1,057 of continuous use!) I like the Calm app to stay centered and practice SEL skills. 

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?

There are tons of quirky kids’ books from the 80s and 90s I like but might have to defend (although I don’t actually use them with kids) – “It Zwibble, the Star-touched Dinosaur” and “The Treasure Tree: Helping Kids Understand Their Personality” come to mind. 

I don’t think I could publicly speak ill of any book that others like (well…I do discuss books on the Notables committee and sometimes bring up concerns about them, but always with a balance of what criteria they do well too. Our opinions are as anonymous as possible, and we are working to bring books up, not down)! There are 1-2 popular picture book authors whose books are not my taste, despite putting me into a very small minority, but I am still glad they have an appreciative audience. 😊 

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.