How could I not blog about this? Inspired from the #scio12 conference (Science Online), Kevin Zelnio started a meme [I know – one of those very online words – but read his blog post here #IamScience: Embracing Personal Experience on Our Rise Through Science]

I was asked in my 2009 interview for the job I currently hold, (it’s a mouthful!) Coordinator, Science Libraries at a university, what experiences prepared you for the job of a science librarian? I think it must have started in my 4th grade Math class with Mrs. Hannigan in Royal Oak, Michigan. She made me love Math! Then in 6th grade Mr. Majeiski made us do science projects. In HS, I had a wonder-woman of a Math teacher in Mary Johnson (and she made me love Calculus, can you believe that?) and I took drafting and Physics and decided to pursue Engineering at the University of Detroit. Dr. Kedzie, of UD Physics fame nearly did me in; as did Dr. Rhomberg in Concrete; but, nevertheless,  I graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. So, you could say…my teachers made me do it! I know they made it all possible by sharing their curiosity and passion with their students.

And to paraphrase Kevin Zelnio, that’s when my “wicked, twisted road” to science librarianship began. From then to now,  I have worked as an engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers in Buffalo, NY; I taught math at a community college in western NY; I worked as a computer consultant for an engineering consulting firm; [during this time of my career I was raising two sons and trying to keep my hand in to get back to work someday] then worked writing grants ( my first encounter with the NSF) and working as a tech consultant with elementary schools; then more grant writing with the Rochester Public Library; then my first library job as a library assistant (I loved telephone reference – so varied and so fun and such good training from the Information Department Librarians at the Rochester Public Library!!!) and then I worked as a HS Librarian and got my MLS from Kent State University.

One of the most amazing things that happened to me in 2006 in Toledo, OH, was my opportunity to meet and assist Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director during Apollo 13) in donating his “moon rock” to his alma mater – Central Catholic High School. His piece of the moon sits in my favorite library in the whole world – the Kress Family Library.

In 2009, the recession was wrecking havoc in OH and so with my lovable engineer of a husband, we moved to the DC area – and I was asked about my life in Science and began my new career as an academic science librarian.

I don’t tell my story often, because it is not a traditional path. Last year I had the opportunity to participate in a SLA workshop as a mentor. I couldn’t tell the above story in an elevator-speech format and so, in a roomful of very important librarians…I wasn’t. But, I have a passion for my subject(s).


And now, I get to teach graduate Library and Information students all about the profession in my class Science & Technology Resources. I hope I do as well as my teachers did in sharing my curiosity and passion and inspiring librarians wherever their path may lead them.


NOTE: meme …according to the OED : from Biology:  A cultural element or behavioural trait whose transmission and consequent persistence in a population, although occurring by non-genetic means (esp. imitation), is considered as analogous to the inheritance of a gene. From American Heritage Dictionary : A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.



About Kimberly Hoffman

Twitter: KMH_nowinVA
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