Member Spotlight - Kyra Lee

October 4, 2021

Our latest member spotlight features Kyra Lee, a Co-manager of the ILA Students and New Professionals Forum. We asked Kyra to tell us about herself and to answer a few professional and amusing questions. Continue reading to find out more about Kyra.

A little bit about Kyra

Kyra Lee is a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing her MLIS. She works part-time for the Chicago Public Library as a Children's Library Associate and interns at the Chicago Transit Authority in the engineering unit. In her free time, you can find Kyra continually adding books to her never-ending TBR, traveling, playing tennis, or exploring the streets of Chicago. 


How did you get into libraries?

Libraries have always been an integral part of my life. I got my first library card at five years old, and since then I've volunteered in libraries; worked in public, academic, and special libraries; and am currently in library school to continue my career in youth services librarianship. 

Best advice you've received since starting your career in libraries?

You never stop learning! Also, be patient with yourself. 

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries?

Get involved and reach out to people. I'm still very early in my career, but so far, I've had the opportunity to work in a lot of different roles. And I've built relationships with everyone I've worked with, which proved instrumental when requesting letters of recommendation for graduate school, or just some timely advice. You never know what connections will be handy in your career, so try your best to form real relationships with everyone. 

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

In 2020, I was honored to be awarded the Sylvia Murphy Williams Award and became a student member of ILA. I've since continued my membership because ILA has been an integral part of my development as a library professional.  As one of the Co-managers of the Students and New Professionals Forum, I've gained a lot of leadership skills and experience being involved in a professional library organization. 

Hardcover, paperback, e-reader, or all three?

All three! I don't discriminate against book formats. 

Favorite author?

It's hard to choose just one. Some of my favorites are Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, Jandy Nelson, Tiffany D. Jackson, Jenny Han, Gillian Flynn, Samantha Irby. But to claim an absolute favorite? Impossible!

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what five books would you bring with you to pass the time until being rescued?

    • A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (A beautiful contemporary that I can read over and over again.) 
    • Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas (If I can count this series as one item, I'd definitely use my time on the island to finish it.)
    • The New Kid by Jerry Craft (This graphic novel makes me laugh out loud!)
    • When You Learn the Alphabet by Kendra Allen (For when I need a good cry and life lesson.)
    • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (This has been on my TBR for far too long.) 

Cat or Dog?

Cats! I adopted a street cat last summer and she's since taken over my life. Her name's KitKat. 

Favorite film, podcast, or television show?

My guilty pleasure is The Bachelor franchise. I started listening to podcasts because of this show, and my favorite happens to be 2 Black Girls, 1 Rose because it adds a level of social commentary that is usually missing in Bachelor Nation. 

One person you would like to meet, dead or alive, and why?

Michelle Obama. Being native to Chicago's Southside, I've always looked up to Michelle Obama. The level of grace, intelligence, and tenacity she possesses has always inspired me to strive for more. She's iconic, to say the least.  

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