Kristen Chinery is a 2006 WSU alumna with an MA in History and an Archival Administration Certificate. She is an archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library, part of the Wayne State University Library System. She is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Service Award at Wayne State University as awarded by the Academic Staff Professional Development Committee.
What is your name? When did you graduate? What degree did you receive?
Kristen Chinery. 2006. MLIS.
What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
MA (History), Wayne State University
Archival Administration Certificate, Wayne State University
Bachelor of Arts (History), Adrian College
Why did you choose Wayne State School of Library and Information Science?
I was employed as an Archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library, with responsibility for the non-manuscript collection. There were parts of my job I realized I could do even better with more training, so I enrolled.
What was your area of concentration? Why?
I chose academic libraries because it aligned with my job and the skill set I wanted to expand.
Where/What class format did you use for most of your classes? Why?
Almost all of my classes were on main campus. There weren’t as many online classes offered then; since I was already on campus it was easy.
Are you currently active in any professional organizations?
Several, at the state and national level, and all related to archives.
How has your participation in those activities contributed to your professional development?
Each organization I am a part of has contributed to my professional growth, either through the relationships developed with other professionals or opportunities for presentations and service.
When you were a student at SLIS, were you involved in any student or professional organizations? How did those experiences impact you as a student and now as a professional?
I was involved in the same organizations I am a part of now. It was fortuitous because I was able to draw from some of those experiences and relationships for course projects. As a professional now, I feel there are significant benefits for archivists who have both MA and MLIS degrees.
Are you currently doing any library or information science related work? If so, how has the program prepared you for it?
I moved into the Reference Archivist position here a little over three years ago, which is less tied to library-related work in the traditional sense than my previous position. However, going through the program and learning about the various facets of librarianship provided a necessary framework for understanding the work of my colleagues within the larger library system.
What were you most proud of in library school? What are you most proud of now that you are in the profession?
In library school, probably my GPA. Taking classes while working full-time is difficult. Now that I am 10+ years removed from all of that work, I would say successfully navigating group projects.
Was there a professor who really impacted your journey into librarianship?
My undergraduate advisor, Dr. Roger Fechner, put me on the path to Wayne originally. When I was contemplating the library science program, it was Dr. Barry Nevill’s “History of the Book” course that sold me.
Since graduating from this program, what do you feel is the most important or surprising thing you’ve learned about the library and information science profession?
There are many, many opportunities for professional achievement at all levels for librarians. The number of professional associations and conferences is staggering.
What aspects of your SLIS experience prepared you for your current career? What skills, knowledge, or other aspects of your education have been most impactful in your professional life?
All of those group projects prepared me for committee work, which is in ample supply in academia! In all seriousness, working together to accomplish a common goal is easier than it sounds. Group projects are just like real life - personalities clash sometimes and there isn’t always an equitable division of duties.
What professional accomplishments have you achieved since graduating from the program?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of presentations accepted at national/international conferences and held offices with state or national professional organizations. I’m currently PI on a research study concerning the working conditions of archivists, which is receiving tremendous support from within the archival community.
What advice would you give to someone considering SLIS as their library school?
It is a great program with wonderful faculty who will go the extra mile for you. Take as many classes as you can that require you to do research and writing, you will need those skills no matter what job you take.