Alumni Profile: Katie Foran-Mulcahy

How has your career progressed since you graduated from the University of Kentucky?

I thought I’d be a public librarian when I graduated from the SLIS, but have spent the majority of my time in academic libraries. My first job after grad school was at Berea College as an Instructional Services Librarian and it has really set the tone for the rest of my career in libraries. My interest and experience with instruction was also the pathway to my current institution, the University of Cincinnati. I began at Clermont College (a regional campus of UC) in 2010 as an Instruction Librarian and moved into the role of Library Director in 2014. I have been at the “main campus” since January 2019, working as Head of the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library at the University of Cincinnati. It’s really hard to believe that I’ve been working as a degreed professional librarian for more than 13 years.

In your current job, what are your duties and responsibilities?

In a nutshell, I see my role as an ideal combination of teaching, online learning support, supervision, and most importantly, planning. As a member of the library faculty, there are also expectations for continued professional development, publication/creative works, and professional service. All in all, it’s a busy job and the work is never done – but it’s also incredibly rewarding.  

What drew you to your career?

I knew that I wanted to help people – that was the biggest motivator to become a librarian. I’d originally envisioned working in a public library in an underserved community, but my version of helping has really materialized more as a teacher or a mentor to student workers since I’ve been working in academic libraries. Being part of someone’s educational pathway is a huge privilege.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

In addition to teaching and working with students, I really like being involved in facilities planning. At my previous job we did a big library remodel and I got to be involved in designing a service point, choosing furniture, and arranging the floorplan. Seeing a project through – from needs assessment to working with donors and architects to being a point of contact for construction crews – is really, really fun.

What more do you wish to accomplish professionally?

Since I’m working in an Education Library now I am surrounded by curriculum materials and children’s books. Something I really loved from UK SLIS was writing about children’s literature, so I’m hoping that presentations and publications about children’s books are in my future.

Is there any advice you would give a recent grad who is just starting out?

Find mentors and hone your writing skills!