Member Spotlight: Kate Tkacik

By Stacey Nordlund

This month's Member Spotlight features Kate Tkacik, business librarian for the Bank of Montreal Business Research Group. She is a Library Journal 2013 Mover & Shaker and is currently representing NMRT in the 2014 Emerging Leaders program. She received her MLIS from Dominican University in 2012. To learn more about Kate, check out her blog, The Lifeguard Librarian.

Tell us about your current position at the Bank of Montreal Business Research Group and what you do on a typical day—or IS there such a thing as a typical day?

My title at BMO is "Research Analyst" which is a very serious sounding name for "business librarian"--which I suppose sounds no less serious. On any given day, I (along with a team of seven other researchers) respond to the reference needs of investment bankers. We're hardcore, string-search building, database-scouring reference librarians. We tackle dozens of requests each day on different areas of market, industry, and/or company research. It can be an extremely fast-paced, high-pressure environment. It's challenging work, but great experience especially for a new librarian like myself.

What is your favorite aspect of working as a business librarian?

I learn something new every single day. Because of the range of information we're asked to collect, I research industries and markets I didn't even know existed. As a nerd, this is about the best I could hope for in my first professional library position.

How did you decide on the information profession for your career? Was it meticulously planned or a happy accident?

It was certainly a happy accident. I left my alma mater, St. Bonaventure University, with a BA/MA in English Literature and an uncertainty about how to put those degrees to good use. Two years or so before graduation, I started working in a vocational internship program in which I worked with young adults on an American Indian reservation. This experience sparked a passion for service which led me to take a position with a full-time Americorps sponsored volunteer community working with at-risk/high potential youth in Chicago. During my work there, I discovered librarianship was at the intersection of my two passions--learning and service. I went to library school and haven't looked back.

When/how did you first get involved with NMRT? What impact has your service to NMRT had on your involvement with ALA?

I really became interested NMRT after meeting Margaret Howard at the Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. NMRT has provided significantly more focus to my involvement in ALA. In my online work with with 'tumblarians' (librarians on tumblr), I have gotten to know dozens of new librarians--many of them students, job hunters, or early career noobs. Many of them, like myself, are unsure of where they fit into ALA. I'm hoping to use my experience with NMRT to learn and share more about the massive structure that is ALA.

What do you do for fun when you're not librarianing?

I ride my bike, play outdoors, travel, and party--all as much as possible.

Do you have any advice for NMRT members who are current students or recent graduates?

As usual: get involved. One of my regrets from library school is that since I was working full time as a student, I wasn't able to connect with my cohort or get involved with my local student chapter. I think I missed out on a valuable networking resource and support system. Do what you can to get yourself out there, online or in person. If you don't understand the process of how to get involved or join a committee, ask! Everyone in ALA, and NMRT is a resource for you--from division presidents to your fellow students. We're all librarians in this together.

What's your secret passion?

Right now I'm secretly bonkers for tattoos. It's such a secret passion that I don't have any yet. But soon. SOON.