Staff Spotlight: Katheryn Carrier

Katheryn Carrier, Reference Librarian TADL Main Library, Traverse City

What is your role at the library and why did you choose this career?
I’m a librarian in the Adult & Reference department at the Main Library (Traverse City). Originally, I thought I’d like to be a teacher and I had a part-time job at the library while I was in high school. During my Senior year of high school, I job-shadowed a teacher in the classroom and afterward decided that it wasn’t for me! Since I liked working at the library, I researched what I needed to do to become a librarian. So, I got my undergraduate degree in English and Literature at the University of Michigan -Flint and a Masters degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Basically, I’ve worked at a library either part-time or full time since I was 15 years old!

How long have you worked for TADL?
I started working for Traverse Area District Library at the Traverse City Library (Sixth Street) on May 5, 1987. That’s a little more than 30 years.

Thirty years is a long time. What’s the biggest change that has impacted librarianship during your career?
The Internet! People used to come and ask for a reference book, and now they “Google” everything when they seek information. Amazon.com has realistically replaced the Books In Print trade publication which was the librarian’s reference to find the right title and explore all the known format options for almost 50 years. Amazon has also pretty much cornered the used books marketplace, too.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I really enjoy it when someone asks for help finding an answer for his/her class project or a research question. It’s fun to help them solve the puzzle and find the most relevant resource material to answer their inquiry.

What’s the greatest challenge in your job?
I truly hate for people to leave the library without a book or the information that they are searching for. Especially when a patron thinks that he/she can find the information on their own, without asking for assistance, because there’s a chance that they may leave without the answer or resource that they seek. We’re here to help!

What hasn’t changed in the library or librarian profession?
Working at the library is still about relationships with patrons and the community. Authentic interaction and a friendly human exchange is very important in our increasingly “virtual” society. To that point, the Reference Interview that librarians use is as relevant today as ever. Often when a patron comes in with a question to ask, it isn’t the true question that they seek an answer to. It’s my job to discover what information they’re really seeking and to connect that person to the relevant answer and resources.

What’s the biggest misconception about the role of libraries?
Not everything is available on the internet! And, not everything that you find on the internet is true or factual.

What is one thing about the library that you want our community to know?
Most people still think that the library is a place where you have to whisper. It’s perfectly okay to have a normal conversation as long as you’re being respectful and not disruptive.