Professional News

UK Grad Student Selected for Prestigious Library of Congress Residency

photo of Kelly Bilz working in UK SCRC tent in front of King Library
Kelly Bilz worked a Special Collections Research Center open house last fall.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 7, 2020) University of Kentucky graduate student Kelly Bilz is one of only nine librarians to be selected for the Library of Congress’ prestigious Librarians-in-Residence Program in the nation’s capital. The program provides the next generation of librarians and information professionals early-career opportunities to gain meaningful work experience.

As part of the Librarians-in-Residence Program, Bilz will receive on-the-job training and undertake assignments that contribute to the ongoing mission and work of the Library of Congress. She will also take part in enrichment assignments and receive mentoring from professionals, as well as participate in library-wide activities, such as the National Book Festival. Bilz will also be expected to provide information sessions concerning her professional interests and report back to UK on her experiences as part of the program.

Bilz is currently finishing up her master’s degree in library science at the School of Information Science in the College of Communication and Information while serving as a graduate assistant at UK Libraries.

A 2018 graduate of Ohio University, Bilz has worked in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) since her first year on campus. During this time, she has taught active learning sessions and pulled archival materials for classes visiting the SCRC, as well as helped students locate primary resources for their projects.

“Kelly has become an integral and indispensable asset to our education program,” said Jay-Marie Bravent, director of Research Services and Education at the SCRC. “She conducts expert research, meets with faculty members, plans and delivers course sessions, curates exhibits, and participates in program assessment. The faculty members and students we serve have only sung Kelly’s praises as an adept, kind and knowledgeable professional.”

Bilz’ service at UK Libraries has also earned her the 2020 UK Libraries Outstanding Graduate Assistant award, presented each year to a student who exhibits exceptional work and initiative in their field.

Upon joining the Librarians-in-Residence Program in July, Bilz will begin working in the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, which provides access to cartographic and geographic information from across the world.

“Working at the Library of Congress has been my dream since I first went there as a junior in college,” Bilz said. “Working at the SCRC has helped prepare me to answer a wide variety of questions and think creatively about how to find answers to them.”

The Librarians-in-Residence Program will not be the first time Bilz has worked for a national library. She previously volunteered with the National Library of Medicine in 2019 as part of an Alternative Spring Break program organized through the School of Information Science.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.