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Drew University English Grad Takes Career to the Library

Kate-Lynn Brown C’17 says “I wouldn’t have gotten these experiences anywhere else”

October 2021 – Kate-Lynn Brown C’17 has taken her English degree from Drew University and a flyer at a local library and turned them into a career as a librarian.

Brown works as a teen services librarian with the Piscataway Public Library, where she provides resources to local teens through digital and print materials, programming, and outreach, and oversees the library’s Teen Space, designed as a safe space for teens to come after school.

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Brown majored in English with an emphasis on creative writing.

Her path to her career started with the first of the two main reasons she chose Drew: “the location and the liberal arts education.”

“I grew up a few towns from Madison and always loved downtown. I would be close to home but my friends and I could also easily get to Hoboken or Manhattan for a change of scenery,” said Brown, who counted the New York Semester on Communication and Media among her most impactful experiences at Drew.

She found her passion for library sciences after running errands with her grandparents, who also lived nearby. She saw a sign at the nearby Library of the Chathams seeking help in their children and teens summer reading programs. She applied, and the rest is history.

“I knew from my first day that I wanted to do this forever, and I worked there for the rest of my time at Drew,” she said.

After graduating a semester early from Drew, Brown earned her Master’s in Information with a concentration in library sciences from Rutgers, and eventually landed her current job at the Piscataway Public Library.

In addition to her library work, Brown has held numerous roles with the New Jersey Library Association, New Jersey Makers Day, and a Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition.

“I’m so passionate about the work I do outside of my job, and relating it back to what I do in the library,” she said.

Part of Brown’s interest in extending beyond her day job stems from her appreciation for the second reason she came to Drew – the liberal arts education.

“A liberal arts education was important to me because the emphasis was on more than just academics in a single subject,” she said.

I can't begin to express how valuable the New York Semester experience was.

“Yes, I would study hard and delve deep into my major, but I would also build model houses in History of Architecture. I wouldn’t have gotten these experiences anywhere else, and it’s made me a well-rounded adult.”

She specifically noted the New York Semester and her creative writing courses with Courtney Zoffness, assistant professor and director of the creative writing program, as being critical to building her professional skillset.

“I can’t begin to express how valuable the New York Semester experience was,” she said. “We got to experience firsthand what it would be like to work at companies like the New York Times, Google, Hachette Book Group, and Havas PR. Plus, some of my closest friends are classmates I met through the program. We still call each other for professional advice all the time.”

Between finding and pursuing her career passion, and extending her interests beyond the classroom—or library—Brown ties it back to her time in The Forest.

“I formed my own worldview while becoming a more empathetic and communicative person, and those skills and experiences help me in my career daily.”

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