M. Kathleen Kern
This seems like a fitting time to be the IAmRUSA member of the week as I've just completed my year as RUSA president. Kirk MacLeod and Sarah Hammill launched IAmRUSA in October, making my "wouldn't it be neat?" idea a reality with their hard work. RUSA is a diverse group of librarians and IAmRUSA is a place to get to know a few of them.
A little about me. I've worked in libraries for twenty years and post-MLS for 15. During that time I've worked in: academic reference, a map library, a tax and accounting library, academic information literacy, freelance corporate research, and in ILL. While I haven't loved _every_ minute, I have found every job rewarding and worked with some great people. I consider myself a true generalist, enjoying the challenge of what each new question or situation will bring but being able to focus in to become adept with a new topic area or resource.
I am currently at the Univeristy of Illinois Library (Urbana-Champaign) where I supervise twelve graduate assistants who work our reference desk and I co-manage our reference services. I helped to build our virtual reference service (13 years old and answered over 16000 questions last year!) and wrote a book for ALA Editions on Virtual Reference (VR) which grew from my involvement in writing the RUSA guidelines for VR. I've taught reference for two library schools, and the RUSA Behavioral Guidelines are a fundamental text. So, a lot comes back to RUSA for me. I'll be leaving Illinois soon to relocate in the greater DC area with my spouse. Job leads and search tips welcome!
My hobbies are travel, crochet, making jewelry, and baking. Sometimes I combine my hobbies. I made my first crochet project (a blanket for my grandfather) while on a work exchange in Shanghai, China and finished it while at a conference in Croatia. I've trained librarians in Nigeria and am in search of my next opportunity to travel overseas.
I have the most adorable dog (not hyperbole) and a husband who has a lot of forbearance for my long work hours, time spent on RUSA, and my international travel. I am in the middle of a PhD that I am looking forward to refocusing on now that Joe Thompson is RUSA President.
Like any good reference librarian, I look forward to your questions, whatever they are!