Monday, July 8, 2019

Getting to know WHSLA member Kellee Selden

This week we're getting to know Kellee Selden, Ascension Region 1 Program Manager – Library Services. 

Q: How did you get started in Libraries?
I was living in Germany and became friendly with the library staff.  When an opening for a paraprofessional position came up, they encouraged me to apply.  I showed interest in all aspects of the profession, so the Head Librarian started to provide hands-on training.  When I returned to the United States I got a job at a large law firm library in the Sears Tower in Chicago.  I started MLIS classes at Northern Illinois University but part way through the program they told us the school was closing. Not because the MLIS program wasn’t doing well, but because funds were being allocated elsewhere.  I decided to go to UWM and commuted from Chicago up to Milwaukee for classes while still working full time at the law firm.  Near the end of the MLIS program I was hired at the law firm library of Foley and Lardner in Milwaukee and moved to Wisconsin.  After working for almost two decades in law libraries, I went back to school for a second master’s in medical informatics at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.  While at MSOE I was offered a job at Columbia St. Mary’s hospital.  I have been there for over 5 years.

Q: How are you/have you been involved in WHSLA. Why did you join?
Michele Matucheski told me about WHSLA and suggested I join.  It is a good way to meet local librarians that may not be active in MLA.

Q: What are the three personal items currently on your desk?
1. A program from the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse gala from May 31, 2019.
2. A handmade 2019 calendar from a friend
3. A quote – “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny. . .whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Q: Do you have a professional goal for 2019/20? What is it?
As the Region One Leader for Ascension, supporting the MI & WI Librarians is my priority. This has been difficult as Ascension has reorganized, but I will do everything I can to get what they need and speak up for them.

Q: If you could hop on a plan right now, where would you go?
This fluctuates as I read and learn more about historical sites.  Right now, I would go to Egypt.  I have been reading about a site that is several hours south of the Valley of the Kings.  It seems to be where much of the carving was done for the Valley of the Kings and other sites/tombs.  A burial tomb was found there a year or so ago and I would like to see it.

Q: What is your advice to people who want to get into librarianship?
If you want to be a hospital librarian, you better take lots of tech-oriented courses AND be ready to be a business person. Today’s hospital librarians are one-woman(man) shows and you do everything from downsizing a collection to budgeting.  To show your value you need to be able to speak up about your resources and educate those with the budgets as to why they need to be maintained.  If you show you know how they work, who uses them and why they should be kept, you will keep your job.  Be ready to be a non-traditional librarian because you need to be proactive and not just wait for your patrons to come to you.

Q: What do you do for fun outside of work?
For the last 6+ months I have been the Chair of the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse (WBCS) Gala. It has been a full-time job with my full-time job.  The WBCS has been around for over 22 years.  We generally get someone to offer up their large lovely mansion in Milwaukee to tour.  A group of designers donate their time, talents, goods and redecorate this home.  Note: the owners must move out for months!  When the house looks perfect it is open for two weeks, so the public can tour it for a fee.  Before the house opening we have a gala to raise money for Breast and Prostate Cancer research at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  All the money stays local. Thus far we have raised 6.8 Million dollars which has been turned into over $68.9 Million through research grant funding from the NIH and other foundations.
Otherwise, I love working in my garden, traveling to as many countries as possible and supporting animal humane organizations.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
1. The Library Book
2. Churchill: Walking with Destiny
3. Rebel Gold: One Man’s Quest to Crack the Code

4. A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilt’s

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