With two education degrees and more than a decade of K–12 teaching experience, Kathryn Zielski said her attraction to librarianship almost felt pre-ordained.
"With a BS in English education, a passion for literacy and access to information, and a belief that public schools and libraries are vital to our democracy, librarianship made sense," she said.
In 2007, she enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at St. Catherine with an eye toward opening up new options within K–12 education or entering a new field.
Kathryn pursued courses in a variety of different areas. But it was a database training webinar experience in her "Searching Electronic Databases" course that proved to be especially pivotal.
The idea of working in a training role, like that of the webinar presenter, sounded appealing to her. "It would allow me to marry my teaching skill set with my MLIS knowledge," she reasoned.
She had the opportunity to test-drive that role when Assistant Professor Sheri Ross referred her to an internship with ProQuest. That position as student trainer led to full-time work with the company.
"None of it would have happened had I not explored areas of librarianship or had supportive and engaged faculty," said Kathryn who continued on to become the community engagement librarian for Third Iron, the Saint Paul-based company behind BrowZine (a mobile app for browsing, reading and monitoring scholarly journals).
"It’s exciting to be a part of a young and small company," she said, "and to know that our work impacts research taking place around the world."
Her advice to current students: Don’t feel guilty about what you can’t do — focus on what you can do.
Recalling her own challenges, juggling school with family responsibilities and fulltime work, she suggests that students maintain a broad perspective.
"Develop relationships; be open to taking courses and trying experiences you may not have planned," she said. "And take advantage of opportunities when they make sense."