Behind the Shelves: A Librarian Spotlight Interview with Kay P May

Common spaces and collaboration are right up Scholarly Engagement Librarian for Social Sciences and Data Kay P Maye's alley—uh, I mean, bookshelf row? Learn about his favorite spaces in the library, love for data, and experience as a high school teacher in our newest series, Behind the Shelves: A Librarian Spotlight Interview with Kay P May.


What’s your favorite section in the library?

My favorite section of the library would have to be the Knowledge Lab on the 2nd floor! I love having a common space with my coworkers to collaborate on the many projects we find ourselves completing. The Knowledge Lab is also a good space for students to chat with a librarian about their research. I want to give an honorable mention to the administrative office too! There are always snacks, and I love a snack!

What attracts you to researching data and have you always known you wanted data to be your specialty in research?

My interest in data is its practical application. Data intersects with research and so many fields, and it’s always interesting to see how data can be collected, analyzed, and presented in ways that support interdisciplinary scholarship. It’s also fun to play around with programming languages like Python and R to find ways to make my job a bit easier.

Do you feel like your experience with teaching has helped shape your work as a Scholarly Engagement Librarian?

My experience teaching helped shape my work in the library. I often find myself referring to the pedagogical concepts I used as a high school teacher. College students may be a bit older than high schoolers, but they often need the same support. The best thing I learned as a teacher was to never take anything personally, and I remind myself of that anytime something doesn’t work as planned with a student or faculty. Learning and creating knowledge can be stressful, so everyone needs an empathetic librarian to help guide them through the research and creativity landscape.

Published: 9/1/2023

Interviewed by Jasmine Young | Tulane Libraries Social Media & Marketing Assistant

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