Kathryn Ryan was recently appointed to the role of Library Operations Manager at the William H. Hannon Library. Previously, Kathryn was the library’s Reference Assistant. We sat down with Kathryn to ask her about the new position.
Tell us about your new position at the William H. Hannon Library.
As the Library Operations Manager, I get to be involved in a variety of areas. I work with the Outreach and Communications department on communications projects, like print publications and digital signage. I manage student employment in the library overall. There are over 100 students in the library, supervised by about 10 library staff members, so I’ll be helping to support those supervisors and working on how we can assess and enrich the student employment experience here in the library.
I will also be the interim supervisor for the Circulation Department. I’ll be involved with other projects as well, like managing projects with Facilities Management, supporting strategic planning, and working on assessment and evaluation.
How has your previous experience helped prepare you for being successful in this new role?
I started in the library as a document delivery assistant in 2008, working mainly on interlibrary loan projects and at the circulation desk. In 2012, I moved to Reference, where I supervised student employees, supported information literacy assessment projects, and helped patrons at the information desk with research and technology questions. Through committee work over the years, I had the chance to work on the library website, organizational climate, student employee supervising, and signage, so I have been thinking about many of the things I’ll be working on now for some time.
I also went back to school for an MBA from LMU, graduating in 2017, so I have learned about assessment, operations, and management that I’ll be able to put into practice in this new role.
What do you think will be some of your challenges?
I’ve always been the type of person who wants to be completely prepared for something before I start, and that usually means finding a lot of books on the topic. I have been making a pile of books and articles around the topics I’ll be working on, so one challenge will be finding the time to dive into those!
What are you most excited/hopeful about in this new role?
I’m excited to be able to take on projects to help improve people’s experience of the library, and I get to be involved in a lot of different areas of the library now in this role – from publications to building issues to student employment.
Student employees in the library are a major reason why we’re able to run the library 24 hours a day, five days a week during the academic semesters. We have over 100 student employees each semester who reshelve books, manage library resources, check out books at circulation, help with research at the information and Archives & Special Collections desks, and support library events. We want to make sure we’re incorporating research on high-impact practices and student success into that employment experience. As part of my position, I’ll be able to work with supervisors and student employees to assess and evaluate the library student employee experience.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
As a voracious reader, working in a library can feel like being a kid in a candy shop. Despite the stereotype, I can’t read on the job but I do a lot of reading outside work, and I’m chasing a Goodreads “to read” list of over 1000 books. It just never seems to get shorter! I’m also getting into embroidery, which has been a great escape from screens in the evening and a nice way to feel productive while I’m listening to a podcast.