Employer: Beloit Public Library
Degree/Year: MSIS, 2008
“Take chances! The worst thing that ever happens when you do is you hear no. Then you just try again.”
As a teen, Kelly was deeply impacted by the books she read. She found new curiosities, answered questions, and experienced a world outside of herself through books. As an undergrad at Cornell College in Iowa, she specialized in English, Psychology, and Writing, but always knew that she wanted to go into libraries. Directly after finishing her undergrad, she began her master’s at UT. Now, Kelly is a librarian at the Beloit Public Library in Wisconsin, where she is responsible for “all things teen,” including collection management, readers’ advisory, and programming.
While at the iSchool, Kelly took a variety of classes that were all helpful, even if they did not directly influence her career path. She is especially grateful for the Business Reference course that taught her how to answer reference questions. She only took one course related to teens and YA and says, “I found a job doing it…because I was passionate enough about it.”
Kelly’s advice for current iSchoolers is to, “find something you’re passionate about and get your voice out there…” She encourages students to write articles, join discussions on social media, and build a professional network to connect with likeminded people. Most importantly, she says to “take chances!”
While attending the iSchool, Kelly met fellow alum, Kimberly Francisco. Shortly after graduating, they took a chance with a blog called, Stacked. Now on its fifth year, this acclaimed blog provides resources for anyone who loves reading, young adult books, and working with teenagers. In addition to her library job and blog, Kelly works as a freelance reader, a copyeditor at a university press, and writes for Book Riot. She also presented at ALA annual conferences on contemporary/realistic YA fiction. Keep an eye out for Kelly’s first book on that topic, which will be published later this year through VOYA Press.