Member Spotlight - Jackie Keck

June 24, 2024

This week's member spotlight is on Jackie Keck. Jackie is the director of the Caseyville Public Library District. Keck is a member of the 2024 Conference Program Committee and the Fundraising Committee. 

We asked Jackie to answer a few professional and amusing questions. Continue reading to find out more about Jackie.

A little background on Jackie:

When I was younger, I always dreamed of becoming a director. I thought it would be for films, so it’s all been a pleasant surprise! I have always had a passion for the arts and received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art with an emphasis in painting with an Art History minor. After working in the library field for a few years, I went back to school for my Master of Science in Library and Information Science in 2020 and completed it in December of 2022. Since then I have joined ILA’s Conference Program Committee and Fundraising Committee and became the director of the Caseyville Public Library District.

How did you get your start in libraries?

I was originally in the museum field, desperately trying to break into the world of art restoration and conservation, but I decided I wanted to go in a different direction. Over the years after college, I interned at several libraries including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Peter H. Raven Library at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Because of my background in art, books as physical objects drew me to libraries. After spending time working in museums, I broke back into the library field when I was hired at Caseyville Public Library District almost seven years ago.

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

Man, the best advice? The best advice would probably be to set boundaries. We work in a very passionate field and the lines between work and life bleed into each other. You can’t pour from an empty cup so take care of yourself.

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries? 

My advice to newcomers is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there if you want to be involved. Get a mentor! Find people who support you and are willing to give you advice and guidance as you learn.

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

I have only been a member since 2022, and it’s because I was finally able to go to the ILA Annual Conference. I had wanted to get involved for years, but have only recently been able to participate. Working at a small library gives you a ton of experience but can limit your ability to get outside the library, literally.

How has being a member of ILA helped you professionally? 

It was at the 2022 ILA Annual Conference where I was recruited to join the Conference Program Committee for 2023. It’s helped me gain a network of peers and mentors that I don’t think I would otherwise have. Now, I am part of the Conference Program Committee for 2024, the Fundraising Committee and the incoming chair of the fundraising committee for fiscal year 2024-2025 for ILA. This experience has connected me to other library leaders, new perspectives, and opportunities.

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Becoming a library director has been one of my biggest accomplishments, but I am really most proud of how far the Caseyville Public Library District has come since I started seven years ago. The library has more than doubled in staff, created a diverse and inclusive collection, and hosted meaningful programs that have established the library as a community space.

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

Oh, now for the tough questions! I am a sucker for a good hardback book. But I don’t discriminate. They all have their place.

Favorite authors?

I mostly read non-fiction books and a few of my favorite authors over the past year have been Mary Roach, Hayley Campbell, and Lindsey Fitzharris.

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

I would definitely bring some kind of survival guide, preferably for desert islands, but besides that I would probably bring a few books from my TBR pile:

  • The Culture and Art of Death in 19th Century America
  • The Chick and the Dead: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors
  • The Secret Lives of Color
  • Ten Days in a Mad-House

Maybe I can get some leisure reading done then, am I right?

Cat or Dog?

Though I am allergic, I am more of a cat person. That being said, I have 2 at home.

Favorite film, podcast, or television show? 

This is really embarrassing, but I am a huge Simpsons fan. It’s been on longer than I have been alive and it’s still my comfort show.

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

Again, with the Simpsons; I would love to meet Dan Castellaneta. He’s a very talented voice actor and seems like a really cool but kind of weird person.

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