For Kathryn Baumgartner, teaching was always a desired industry, and English was a field that greatly interested her. However, it was not until later on in her professional and academic career that she would realize a career as a Librarian would be the perfect fit.
When it came time to decide where she would spend her next four years in Higher Education, Kat was drawn to STAC because of their Honors Program, which includes a semester abroad at the University of Oxford in England.
“The professors at STAC truly care about their students and are passionate about the subjects they teach, they always made coming to class truly enjoyable.”
While on campus, Kat was involved in various leadership roles, among them, Vice President of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) and Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, The Thoma. These leadership experiences helped prepare Kat for her career: “I learned how to handle conflict with administration, manage a hardworking staff, and meet deadlines.”
“STAC not only helped me find my true passion but also provided the tools necessary for me to find a job in my desired field. The professors in the English and Communications departments truly care about their students and are passionate about the subjects they teach, which is an ideal combination.”
Kat completed two internships during her time at STAC—the first being with the Rockland County Times. During her time there, she wrote articles on local community events, such as the name change for the Rockland Center for Safety & Change, and the Nyack Halloween Parade. Her second internship was a two-year position with Wunderkind PR. While there, Kat was responsible for several book campaigns, which involved setting up author interviews, scheduling blog tours, and more. She excelled in this position so much so, that she became a part-time employee with the company.
“Take advantage of the job fairs and internships offered through STAC, they are great ways to see which career path you may ultimately want to pursue.”
After graduating from STAC, Kat considered becoming a librarian. Her past internship experiences had been in the book publishing and publicity industry, but one trip to return a book to her local public library became an influential step toward her current career path: “After looking into it and realizing how much of a role librarians play in their communities and what a difference they make in terms of social justice, I knew it was a career I wanted to pursue.”
After receiving her MBA at St. John’s University in Library and Information Science, Kathryn worked as an Interim Branch Head for the Great Neck Library System. During her time there, she oversaw the professional and clerical staff of the branch, created and distributed the weekly schedule, and led monthly staff meetings and trainings. She also helped manage day-to-day operations including reference, circulation, maintenance, and patron experience. In addition, Kat evaluated and communicated peak branch performance and consistency amongst locations, and wrote monthly reports for the Board of Trustees on branch activities, including administrative updates, new initiatives, staff trainings, and community outreach efforts.
Kat is a Children’s Librarian within the Great Neck Library System where she creates programming geared toward kids, ages birth to grade 6, organizing class visits/material selection for surrounding schools, managing a 17,000-item collection within Parkville Branch, building and executing training for staff throughout the system, and providing reference, reader’s advisory, and technical assistance to children and caregivers. Besides the usual story times, arts and crafts, and science experiments, she also comes up with programs related to pop culture (i.e. Magic for Muggles and Free Comic Book Day) and cultural programming. Kathryn is also generating STEAM programming for children, young adults, and adults with the introduction of a 3D printer to the branch, and coordinates the purchasing of other emerging technologies.
Kat’s internship experiences and education provided a stepping stone toward her current career, allowing her to discover her true passion. Not only was she able to connect with highly regarded professionals in the industry, but it also provided her with real-world internship experience during her time at STAC, giving her a plethora of tools to flourish in her current role.
Despite having a tremendous amount of responsibilities, Kathryn is an active member of the American Library Association, Association for Library Services to Children (member of the Early and Family Literacy Committee), Collaborative Summer Library Program (member of the Inclusion and Children’s Manual Review Committee), Nassau County Library Association Pop Culture Committee (Co-chair), and is a huge supporter for the LGBTQIA+ community.
When she is not working, Kat likes to crochet, travel as often as possible, explore the city, read, and attend drag shows!
As Kat says, “Begin saving money while you’re still in school. Start cultivating good habits now, so they can flourish in the future.”