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Katie Kennedy'18

Duffy Community Partner

Major: Sociology
Hometown: Galesburg, Il
Program Mentor: Carol Wickersham, Adjunct Instructor of Sociology and Director of the Duffy Community Partnerships and the Leadership Initiative
Duffy Site: The Beloit Public Library
Site Supervisor: Tina Kakuske, Library Director, Door County Library, UW-Milwaukee

Share a little bit about your experience in the Duffy Community Partnership program at the Beloit Public Library.

I wore many different hats during my time as an intern at the Beloit Public Library. I created a non-user survey for the community (and learned non-user surveys are rarely successful). I also helped plan, promote, and take pictures of many of the events the library held, such as book club meetings, fruitcake fests, and game nights.  

What was the biggest takeaway from your experience?

The Duffy Program really influenced the way I view the world. I’ve always considered myself involved, but this course definitely instilled in me the importance of regular community involvement. This has influenced my current research project on the accessibility, comfort, and relevance, of public libraries in people’s lives. Now I plan to be a community engagement librarian to try to create the best information and resource center I can, wherever I end up.

What have you found most interesting about the Duffy program?

Community involvement is interdisciplinary. When I applied to the program, I was sure it would be full of sociology majors like me. The "What makes a good society?” class should draw a lot of sociology majors, right? But talking with the computer science, biology, and economics majors in my class made me realize there are connections to be made everywhere. What we were doing always related back to someone’s studies. The course definitely reinforces the idea of a liberal arts education.

Describe your experience working in the community and the public library.

Working at the public library has allowed me to form relationships with staff members and patrons that I would not have made if I was not involved with the Duffy Program. These friendships have allowed me to see more sides of Beloit and realize my responsibilities as a community member and Beloit College student.

After completing your program, what are you looking forward to most?

I will be presenting my research at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in October. A few years ago I couldn’t even imagine myself attending conferences, let alone presenting.