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Member Profile: In Her Own Words – Jane Killian

Jane Killian works at the Defense Forensic Science Center (DFSC) in the Gillem Enclave at Forest Park, Georgia and will host an SLA Georgia Lunch and Learn program there on Wednesday, April 1, at noon.

1. How long have you been a librarian at your current employer?

My life at the DFSC covers the last three years. And my government career spans 16 ½ years.

 

2. What is your title and what are your main job responsibilities?

I’m the Chief Librarian and the only librarian. Besides my regular librarian duties, my other (terrific) challenges include functioning as the administrative operations officer and contract officer for the Office of Quality Initiatives and Training. In short, librarian duties range from A to Z.

 

3. What other libraries have you worked in and what were some of your major achievements there?

My library life started as an MSLS student working at two University of Kentucky (Go Cats!) campus libraries. Then, it was on to Berry College, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Academy, the FBI Laboratory, and now DFSC. I started an accredited bibliographic instructional program at the FBI Academy and it still continues today. At the FBI Lab, I became embedded with some of the scientists to assist in an informational manner on their cases (which was pretty cool). And in my current position, my supervisors have seen the skills that are packaged in “librarians” and are now using me for other duties, which is great for me!

 

4. Why did you become a librarian?

The librarian idea came along after taking the Myers-Briggs (Type Indicator personality inventory) test. The concept and my temperament stuck with the idea, so I made a mid-life career decision to go back to school. After my first two classes I marveled that the course content suited me so well but I had never had anyone along the way say, “You should really take a look at this path”.


5. What are the challenges you see facing information professionals and special libraries today?

Our challenge is to first prove ourselves as very competent librarians and then take on other duties so that we can market ourselves as excellent organizers and planners. We also have to do it to not be viewed as a luxury but crucial to business operations. This can be challenging and tough if your supervisors want to pigeon-hole you or your work.

 

6. What ideas do you have for overcoming these challenges?

Soft skills are the challenges for the ages because no one has arrived at the peak of “most people skilled”. I seek out and watch how other people handle challenges. Much of it is the repetitiveness in seeing them react the same way, like humor (Jane, remember everything is not serious), choosing to argue/fight/confront (Jane, everything is not important to everyone), refraining from expressing opinions (Jane, keep your mouth shut), and various other manners of watching them express their patience in a situation (Jane, always be patient).

 

7. What advice would you give new entrants to our profession?

I still think that future librarians should do other lines of work before going back to school and then expecting to be immediately hired as a fresh graduate. My career path took me to work in an advertising agency in Atlanta, organizational student work at three Arizona college campuses, and doing sales and service work in the graphics industry in Louisville before deciding to go back to graduate school. So, by the time I went back to school, my bag of skills had a solid ten year foundation.

 

8. When you’re not at work, what are you interests and hobbies?

Stress relievers and fun time activities include yoga, biking, jogging, hiking, golf and cooking. Pet therapy with our newly rescued cat is a daily must!

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