In February 2022, Katie Edmiston joined the CMU Libraries faculty as the new subject librarian for Art, Broadcast & Cinematic Arts, Communication, Fashion Merchandising & Design, Interior Design, and Journalism. Considering that Katie has been tied to libraries since she entered the working world at 14 as a page in her hometown library, ending up at CMU is a natural progression for her career.
During high school, Katie worked at a couple different restaurants, but she missed her library job. The library was her comfort zone, and Katie realized she wanted a career that would allow her to help people. Serving others is something she really enjoys. Katie majored in Art in college because that is her passion, but she worked in her college library where she got to know the librarians well and learn much more about the profession.
Everyone assumes librarians love books, which Katie does. But more importantly, her early library jobs showed her that a library is so much more than books. In helping people find what they need, librarians help cultivate learning. Offering a combination of serving, learning, and educating, a library is the perfect place for Katie.
When in graduate school, Katie set a goal to become an academic librarian. Her first professional position was at the Novi Public Library; however, when she saw CMU’s job posting, she thought it was written for her. The job matched Katie’s background in arts and her interests in MakerSpaces and the Adobe Digital Lounge. She had strong affinities for the other disciplines, too, so she felt the position would be a good fit.
Katie’s interview at CMU was the first time she had ever visited campus. She said the campus felt familiar because it reminded her of her undergraduate institution. Katie loves how nature is incorporated around the buildings on campus, and the open floors of shelving in the library make her feel like she’s in a fairytale mansion of books. As a practicing artist, Katie also appreciates all the art in the library and around campus.
In her first couple months in her new role, Katie has enjoyed settling into her office and getting to know her new colleagues. She finds folks are down-to-earth and easy to talk with; however, meeting everyone has been a challenge because of COVID-19 precautions. With more events starting to take place in-person, Katie noted that it will be easier to meet people.
When asked about similarities Katie has observed working in a public library versus an academic one, she replied that you never know what questions you will be asked. She loves that spontaneity and enjoys going on the hunt for answers. She has also found her fellow librarians to be passionate about helping others. Katie is user-centered and enjoys being around others who are likewise.
As for a key difference between public and academic libraries, however, Katie said that there is less glitter in the University Library! She doesn’t get to lead crafting sessions anymore.
Away from work, Katie is focusing more on making art than she has the past few years. She works primarily with oils, but also uses chalk pastels. She enjoys expressionist landscapes and is abstracting landscapes more. She plays with shape and color and plain and field, all of which attract her to the natural world. When on her honeymoon in the Upper Peninsula in 2020, she took lots of pictures that are inspiring her newest works.
In the coming year, Katie intends to continue getting to know her library colleagues and the faculty in the departments to which she liaises. She wants to connect with the latter group about courses and assignments. Katie hopes to attend more campus events and get a better feel for the CMU and Mt. Pleasant communities. She also is looking forward to exploring the local parks.