| Kay, like so many of us, came to librarianship as a second career. She first moved to Chicago to work as a claims examiner for the Railroad Retirement Board in 1969. This job bore little relation to the B.A. in Sociology and Social Welfare that she had received from the University of Arkansas. A year later, she was promoted to a service representative position in the Board’s Denver District Office. Eventually she received another promotion that made her responsible for Board program activities in northeastern Colorado and the eastern half of Wyoming. She was on the road every other week in her trusty Jeep, equipped with a CB radio. Her “handle” (nickname) was 'Brandy.' Cell phones had not yet been invented.
One memorable January, she drove 50 miles on solid glare ice between Cheyenne and Laramie. She was terrified, and only truckers’ radio encouragement kept her from pulling over to the side of the road to wait for spring. It was then she decided that if she made it back to Denver in one piece, she was going south.
She moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, where her territory included eastern Texas and southern Arkansas. She soon realized that she didn’t want to become a district manager, so she began looking at other careers. Her best friend from college was a librarian, and her problems sounded so much more interesting than the grind of life on the road. Kay’s mother had also been a librarian, so she decided to look into library science. Mind you, Kay had never even worked in a library.
She eagerly moved to Baton Rouge when she was accepted in Louisiana State University’s graduate library program. She received her M.L.S. in 1978. She had a short stint as a library technician at Lakeside VA Hospital before returning to the Board, where she became librarian in 1980. There she found manual typewriters, a card catalog that hadn’t added new entries since 1973, and a book housing crisis that approached bibliographic anarchy.
She knew more about her agency than she did about law library resources, so she enrolled as a student-at-large in the University of Chicago Library School, where she learned the basics of law librarianship from Judith Wright.
During her 24-year career, she moved the library from the 19th Century to the 20th, and with the help of Katherine Tsang, brought order to chaos.
She was a paper member of CALL for many years but we got to know her from her posts to Law-Lib. In 1995, we elected her Secretary because her law-lib contributions were usually well-written and often humorous. (This is what the nominating committee told her when they asked her to run.) She worked on CALL’s first webpage, and with lots of help from Joe Hewitt at Washburn University, got CALL’s listserv up and running.
Kay retired from the Railroad Retirement Board last Halloween. She is currently working toward a certificate in Computer Security and Forensics at Wright College in Chicago. In addition, she has volunteered to help the library staff at Wright in any way she can.