KELLIAN CLINK: Reference Librarian and Professor

When she’s not collecting pretty rocks from beaches or hiking around England towards the next castle, Kellian Clink helps students as a librarian professor here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In addition to helping students who come to the library to find the books they’re looking for, she also advises students in choosing their major.

Clink started working at MNSU in 1987 after her time as a librarian in a Health Sciences library at the University of Illinois. When asked why she decided to become a librarian, Clink said, “I love books. I’ve always loved books and reading. I’ve always been a big library user myself. Even growing up in Wyoming, that was our thing on Saturday mornings. We went to the library and you could get as many books as you could carry in your arms… I read a book a day, mostly.”

Clink enjoys books about law or murder mysteries. One of her favorite authors, however, is Chiam Potok, who writes books about the Hasidic community. Clink explained, “[Hasidic] is a very traditional, as in Poland 1800’s, form of Judiasm… In this book, the kid is an amazing artist and his papa doesn’t think much of that at all because it was one of the tenets of the Jewish faith that you don’t make any graven images. You don’t make images of people who look like people.”

The book is about family, and the conflicts that can exist between family members.

“I’m always fascinated by that,” said Clink. “You want to say who you are is very important, and who your family is very important, and sometimes those things are not compatible.”

Kellian Clink grew up in Casper, Wyoming, with her two siblings and both parents. Her dad worked in the oil fields.

“The funny thing is, in Wyoming, they have your father’s occupation on your birth certificate. My father shot oil wells. And in Wyoming, everyone knew exactly what that meant. So, on my birth certificate, it says, ‘father’s occupation: shooter,’” she said, laughing.

Her mom was a stay-at-home mom. When asked whether she has children, Clink replied, “I have two cats and that’s pretty much perfect for me!”

Clink described what she does at the university: “I’m a reference librarian, which means I spend about 15 hours a week at the reference desk answering questions. And I do a lot of instruction; at this point, I think I have taught 900 students about the library in a classroom situation.”

She is a full professor who teaches only in the library. Clink’s favorite memories of working at the university involve students.

“I like that… many of us dress up for Halloween, so that is very fun,” she said.

She builds a connection with students during her time as an advisor.

“I love the contact that I have with the students,” she said. “I’ve been an advisor for most of these 30 years. I keep this file called the gratitude file.” In the gratitude file, there are letters from alumni thanking Kellian Clink for helping them in their time in college.

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