Karen Kayir Wilson: iSchool Alumna and Librarian in South Korea

Karen Kayir Wilson graduated in 2012 with her Master’s in Library and Information Science¬†from FSU’s College of Communication & Information. Wilson currently resides in Pyeongtaek, South Korea as a librarian for Osan Middle/High School. Her passion for library sciences have taken her all over the world to places like Germany, Japan, and now South Korea.

As a second generation librarian, choosing a career path growing up wasn’t always clear. “I changed my mind daily.” Wilson says, “Sometimes several times a day. Being a librarian allows me to feed my un-ending curiosity.” One of her favorite parts of the job is being able to create and manage her own space. “I am fortunate to still have autonomy over what I teach with less curriculum mandates than many of my colleagues. The library is a magical space where I can tailor learning to each individual student which is a big luxury in today’s school setting.”

Learn more about Karen by reading our Q&A with her below!

Where do you look for inspiration?

100 Scope Notes is my go-to Library blog. For non-Library things, I am a total podcast junkie. There are so many great ones but you should start with This American Life, Reply All, 99% Invisible, and Heavyweight.

What was the last show you binge-watched?

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

Who do you admire and why?

Michelle Obama. It may be cliche – but for good reason. She is intelligent, hard-working, classy and unrelentingly positive.

What is your favorite place in the world?

Tokyo, Japan

What was the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Professor Don Latham talked about what it means to be professional in one of his classes. He talked about showing up on time and prepared even if you don’t want to or you’re having an off-day. It is obvious advice, but it stuck with me in the era of “I can’t adult today” and I hear it in my head often. It pushes me to maximize my impact. A little old-fashioned grit goes a long way.

How did your education prepare you for your career?

Like many Master’s degrees, I think my MLIS introduced me to a lot of Library know-how and technology, but you really master it once you roll up your sleeves and get into the field.

What would you say to someone who doesn’t know what career they’d like to pursue?

Take one class just for fun every semester. I did this in undergrad and ended up with an English minor because I kept taking Young Adult and Children’s Lit courses. You would think I would have seen my future career sooner, but it took a soul-sucking year working in Advertising in New York for me to realize I wanted to work in a Library.

What advice would you give yourself in college?

Enjoy yourself, but don’t be lazy. There are so many opportunities open to college students that you never get in other times of life. Take advantage of them! Also I would be remiss if I did not include, travel a lot (always pack your swimsuit and a passport) and eat the sketchy foods.