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Kelly Leonard ’11
Thank you for following along with us during this twenty-two-week series highlighting a small handful of the inspirational alumni who work as library and information professionals. Whether you’re a student, faculty, staff, or community member, we hope this series has been entertaining and insightful. Please reach out to one of our librarians if you now find yourself interested in pursuing a career in the library and information science field. We would be happy to speak with you and point you towards some resources to help you discover more about librarianship.
For our final installment, we are pleased to feature Kelly Leonard, a 2011 alumna who works for Boomtown! A real estate software company. Leonard graduated with her bachelor’s degree in English. She then completed a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of South Carolina. You can view all of the posts in this series here.
What has been your professional path to your current position?
“After working in the library throughout the duration of my studies at Furman, I entered graduate school at the University of South Carolina in the Library and Information Science Master’s Degree program. I quickly realized my passion for organization & technical prowess was guiding me towards the technical services aspect of librarianship, so I focused on metadata & cataloging in my studies. As my program drew to a close, I was offered a job at a start up software company in Charleston, SC that provided software solutions to libraries and needed help formatting their MARC records. I took a leap of faith and joined their team, where I worked for a year and a half or so before moving to a new software company. While I still work in software, my current position involves managing the team that sets up metadata schemas for real estate listing data feeds across the nation — it may seem like a stretch, but the foundational concepts from my metadata courses have proven most helpful in my career!”
Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?
“As I mentioned, I worked in the James B. Duke Library for 4 years as a work study student. My major was in English, and while I’d entertained thoughts of getting into journalism, I ultimately realized I wanted to work with organizing information and the systems behind it. What institution does this better than a library?”
What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?
“The James B. Duke Library, of course ;)”
What is something you have been surprised by during your career?
“Moving away from ‘traditional’ librarianship and working in software was definitely not on my original career path, but it’s been extremely satisfying thus far. It’s also amazing how applicable all of the frameworks I learned in school (specifically as it applies to metadata) can transcend industries — as I mentioned, I now work with real estate listing data. There will always be a need for those who have expertise in classification & organization, no matter the field.”
Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?
“I always loved my shifts during exam times! The energy in the library was varied and it was interesting to observe students’ study habits as finals descended upon them.”