Our board member profiled for this month is Kara Whatley. Kara is the New Members Round Table Secretary for 2006-2007. She earned her BA at Hendrix College in Biology with a Minor in Spanish. Along with her MLIS from University of Oklahoma, she also has a MS in Biology from Texas Tech University.
Kara began her career as the Chemistry, Math, and Physics Librarian at Texas Tech University. She worked at TTU for four and half years, serving as a librarian to various disciplines in the sciences. She loved her work there, but discovered that she didn't really want to stay in West Texas. She states, "When I saw the Life Sciences Librarian position advertised at NYU, I heard the big city and the big research library calling my name!" She took the job at NYU and has now become the Head of the Coles Science Center.
She was encouraged to become a librarian by one of the reference librarians she worked with as an undergraduate. For four years she was a work study student in the Bailey Library at Hendrix College, and Sheila Miller said to her one day, "you should think about getting your MLS!" Kara says, "It just blossomed from there!"
She joined ALA and NMRT as a student member while in library school, but didn't really get involved until her first job. It was a tenure track position, and the librarians were really encouraged and supported to attend conferences and give back to the profession. Kara checked out both ALA and TLA (Texas Library Association), but really found her home in NMRT. She served for several years on NMRT's Orientation Committee, eventually chairing that group. She is also involved in ACRL's Instruction Section (IS) and Science and Technology Section (STS). Her feeling is that her NMRT committee experience has "really served me well in my ACRL committee assignments!"
When asked about her hobbies and outside interests, Kara replied, "I know this is a complete librarian answer, but I love to read in my free time! I'm also a devoted dog owner, so I spend a lot of time (and energy) on my dog Jasper. And I love exploring New York City!"
Kara is passionate about NMRT as a good jumping off point into ALA, especially due to her involvement in the NMRT Orientation Committee. She wanted more involvement in NMRT, so running for the NMRT board seemed a good next step for service to the group. She feels that the NMRT board does a good job of meeting virtually, just as many NMRT committees do, and that "It's a good model for many other ALA groups!"
Kara is a native Arkansan, "although most people I work with at NYU seem to think I'm from Texas."