By Tevin Voong
The Cal Poly Pomona University Library welcomed a new member to its research librarian team.
Kai Smith previously worked at the University of Notre Dame as a visiting assistant faculty member and librarian-in-residence. Prior to this, Smith worked at a number of different libraries and colleges and worked internships in government, academic, museum and public libraries.
Smith received her bachelor’s degree in writing and her librarian degree from Pratt Institute.
As a subject librarian at CPP, Smith is a liaison to different departments on campus including the College of Environmental Design, the Department of Theatre and New Dance, the Department of Ethnic and Women’s Studies, the Department of Music and the Department of Foreign Languages.
Prior to her work in librarianship, Smith worked in the media industry and developed a strong interest in the arts.
“I found working in the industry that it wasn’t for me, but I’ve learned through those experiences that I really like research, so I was struggling to figure out how to marry my interest in research with my love for the arts because I did go to art school and so my community were people from the arts background,” said Smith.
Smith decided to pursue librarianship with the help of her colleagues from the Frick Art Reference Library.
As a new face on campus, Smith hopes to make an impact on students who need her help.
“I want to show the students that the librarians are available,” said Smith. “Kind of break down that barrier a lot of people have at times about the ‘shushing’ librarian or we’re just behind a desk and not accessible. I want to make sure they know that I’m accessible, so I’ve been doing quite a bit of outreach and plan on continuing doing so.”
Although Smith is new to CPP, she has already started to make an impact on students, staff and faculty.
“She’s really outgoing in a sense where she doesn’t just concentrate on the library,” said Paul Hottinger, subject librarian at the University Library. “She’s already making connections to outside of the library like the architecture department that she works with, the cultural centers, orientation services and really promoting what the library can do”… I think that’s going to help the library grow and get students more aware of what we can offer.”
In addition to working at the library, Smith will also be teaching a class with Hottinger in the fall. Her enthusiasm with students and ability to teach paved the way for her success at CPP.
“Another thing that really got us, too, was her enthusiasm for the job and her love for helping people and her interest in students because she did a lot of training at other universities with making workshops for students,” said Emma Gibson, department chair and head of public services lat the University Library. “And above all, it was her teaching capabilities. She’s a very good teacher and she has good pedagogy. She works with students instead of just lecturing at them.”
Smith emphasized not only the importance of her experience as a librarian, but also her dedication and ability for helping people.
“I love all of it because I feel like it brings together all of my skills,” said Smith. “It’s like when you know that you found your path. I can’t really explain it, but everything that I’ve learned has contributed and built up to me being able to do my job.”
Tevin Voong / The Poly Post
Kal Smith new to the CPP library
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