University of Wisconsin–Madison

Alumni Profile: Kris Turner (MA’12)

Describe the career path that led to your current position.

When I attended the iSchool, I expected to work in a public library. I had been working at the Meadowridge branch of Madison Public Library for roughly two years before starting on my MLS. However, as I was finishing up my degree, I was hired as the daytime circulation supervisor at the Law School Library. I was fortunate enough to then be hired as the Law Library’s Reference and Technology Services Librarian shortly after that and have since become the Assistant Director of Public Services. I’ve truly enjoyed working as a law librarian and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. However, I never expected this to be where my career would take me.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Legal research is especially challenging, and law students are under a lot of pressure right from the beginning to learn not just new concepts, but new ways to write and research. I really enjoy helping these students grasp the best strategies to perform legal research and demonstrate the necessary tools to locate the materials they need to succeed. Understanding the law is hard enough without having the proper research skills, so I get a lot of pleasure out of making any legal researcher’s life easier by teaching them how to more effectively conduct their research.

How has your time at the iSchool influenced your career?

I did not have the slightest idea about how to code or program before my time at the iSchool. I took several classes that focused on coding and have since been able to apply that numerous times at the law library. I also learned how to be a more effective public services librarian. My reference interview skills and in a more broad sense, my patron service mindset, stem from my time spent in the iSchool’s digital and physical classrooms. 

What is your advice for current or future students?

Keep an open mind and challenge yourself. Even if you are certain what path your career will take, a diverse classroom experience at the iSchool will better prepare you for the twists, turns and responsibilities that you may not see coming. The more diverse your educational background and experience, the more likely you are to succeed.