Alumni Profile: Cristen Ross

Cristen Ross, a 2016 graduate of the library and information science program at the University of Kentucky accepted a job as the Extended Collections and Scholarly Communications Librarian at Northern Kentucky University in March 2018. 

How has your career progressed since you graduated from UK?

Since graduating from UK in 2016, I have been incredibly fortunate to land my dream job at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) as the Extended Collections and Scholarly Communications Librarian.  

In your current job, what are your duties and responsibilities?

At NKU, I manage a team of 4 in the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) and Scholarly Communications departments. We do a lot of acquisitions through our ILL program and we work hard to provide a quick and impressive experience for all of our ILL customers. 

I also manage our Institutional Repository (IR), advocate for open access policies, and provide encouragement and guidance through the rapidly evolving digital scholarship landscape to our campus community.

What drew you to your career? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I have worked in libraries for over 20 years now; I finally made it “official” in 2013 when I decided to enroll at UK. I knew I needed to do this in order to be able to grow. While my initial thoughts about returning to school were my MSLS was another “box to check”, the experience proved to be quite invigorating and I got much more out of the experience than I had ever imagined. 

Librarianship is transforming very quickly before our eyes and there are so many avenues to pursue right now, it’s a very exciting time to be involved. I think that’s what I enjoy most about what I do. The library is a campus, hospital, and community resource; we are instrumental in breaking down walls and silos, which are truly a hindrance for growth and progress in all communities. To be directly involved in this sharing of information and experience is something I appreciate every single day and something I feel makes a real difference in my community.

What more do you wish to accomplish professionally?

So much, I have just begun! Practically, my goals center around advocating for more open access policies on our campus and working those policies into our everyday campus life. Big picture, is being an advocate for all librarians and educating the community on what we bring to the table as professionals in all facets of education, research, information literacy, archiving, preserving, data management, scholarship… and well… everything. We have so much to offer.

Is there any advice you would give to a recent grad who is just starting out?

My advice would be to take every opportunity you can to learn as much as you can. Do not pigeon-hole yourself into one role/idea of yourself. A lot is changing fast and there are a lot of great opportunities right now. Take the time to learn and experience them. Understand what it means to be a lifelong learner and truly take it to heart.