MLIS student spotlight: Ren Kenning '20

Ren Kenning is a current student in the MLIS program, passionate about young people and public libraries. She currently works as an Early Learning VISTA with Saint Paul Public Libraries and occupies leadership positions as ALA Secretary and PLG Social Media Liaison.

What made you want to get your LIS?
I think for me it always comes back to providing access to resources. I have always been interested in how to connect people with the things that they need, and public libraries have always been an important space for me to access things during different stages of my life. I'm hoping to be a youth librarian, and I think a lot about the ways that libraries provide spaces for kids to explore, and also address the multi-generational needs of families.

What is your favorite memory from the program so far?
During my 7010 class last spring we were able to hear from a panel of librarians who all worked in different areas. We heard from librarians working in schools, adult services, youth services, and in a special library. I was considering what kind of librarianship I wanted to focus on, and it was really interesting to hear from them about the different kind of work that they do. I loved having the chance to connect with them, hear how passionate they are about their work, and to learn about work that librarians can do that I hadn't even considered.

Any leadership positions, special projects, work that you’re proud of?
I was excited to help organize the PLG Prisons and Libraries panel that took place in September. PLG members all agreed that the topic librarians serving incarcerated folks is something we had touched briefly on in classes but wanted to learn more about. I was really grateful to our panelists for coming to speak with us about their work. Along with the panel we also organized a book drive and book packing with the Women's Prison Book Project, and I was really happy we were able to get so many people involved.

What are your future career goals?
I would love to be a public children's librarian and focus on programming and outreach. I like working with kids of all ages, but my job right now is focused specifically on kids [aged] 0-3 and it has been fascinating to learn about how libraries can support families during such a developmentally important time in a child's life.


Related content:

MLIS student spotlight: Beth Bryant '21

MLIS student spotlight: Marta Johnson '19

Library and Information Science Department