Alumni Profile: Bill Burchfield

Bill Burchfield, a recent graduate of the Library and Information Science at the University of Kentucky accepted a librarian position with the Kentucky Historical Society in October 2018. 

How has your career progressed since you graduate from UK?
My current position, Librarian at the Martin F. Schmidt Research Library at the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS), is my first library position since I graduated. I had been working full-time for UK Healthcare up until being hired at KHS.  Already having a full-time job and the fact that I am a mid-life career changer meant that I could be, and really needed to be, selective in the positions for which I applied and the one I ultimately accepted with KHS.

What drew you to the field?
I had been interested in library and information science for many years. I was the one helping people find the information they needed in my earlier years. During part of my undergraduate education I worked as a student assistant in the interlibrary loan department at William T. Young Library. It was there that I first recognized my love for library work. During my graduate education, I did an internship with KHS and that is when I fell in love with genealogy, which is a large portion of the library at KHS.

What do you enjoy most about working with the Kentucky Historical Society?
The thing I enjoy most about my work at the Kentucky Historical Society is helping people.  I have been in positions most of my life that help others in one way or another. Being able to help others find the information they need to solve a family mystery is an amazingly rewarding experience.  Secondarily, I really enjoy work that is different every day.  My primary work focus is cataloging but I work on the reference desk most every day and it is never the same day when you work the reference desk.

What more do you wish to accomplish professionally?
For my short-term goals I plan to build experience in all aspects of librarianship that I possibly can.  As for my long-term goals, I have lofty professional aspirations. I think having lofty dreams is important to keep me striving for more.  My academic track in library school was health information.  I expect to eventually bring my career back to health information librarianship.  In doing so I also hope to eventually be the director of a health information library one day.

What advice would you give to a recent graduate who is just starting out?
One of the best pieces of advice I could give a student or recent graduate is to go to conferences and network.  My now boss, Cheri Daniels, who is also a graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Information Science, and I worked together in interlibrary loan at UK.  We ran into each other at the Kentucky Library Association conference and struck up a conversation about life and work.  A few short months later she contacted me and invited me to apply for an internship at KHS.  This internship ultimately led to my consideration and job offer for the librarian position.  Meeting people and making contacts can make all the difference in the job market.