Bradt to retire after 40 years at BU

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Bradt to retire after 40 years at BU

Story by Kallie Fischer, Writer

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After 40 years at Baker University, Director of Library Services Kay Bradt is retiring.

It was 1975 when Bradt completed graduate school and started her career at Baker University, but that’s not when her love for the profession began.

A Lawrence native, her interest in the field blossomed when she was hired as a librarian at the University of Kansas at age 14.

Bradt’s mother told her to look into the profession, saying that she would do well because of her organizational skills and her love for reading. When she started at KU, Bradt realized that her mother was right.

“She had a sense that I was an organized person and I loved reading and I should look into that,” Bradt said. “In eighth grade, I took an after-school class on how to use the library and it made sense to me … That’s when I realized this was right for me.”

In 2000, Bradt accepted the position as director of library services.

“I came as the ‘other librarian,’” Bradt said. “There was the director and then there was me, and we had lots of other staff and gradually the shape of the staff has changed.”

Throughout her time at the university, Bradt has taken many responsibilities as the director of library services. Because the organization is small, Bradt and her staff have to do many of the front-line jobs, such as working the reference desk and organizing books.

But as a self-proclaimed lover of books, these are the tasks that Bradt finds enjoyable.

“We have to decide which books in the library have outlived their usefulness,” Bradt said. “I do what librarians call collection development, but it basically means that I just shift books around upstairs. I also have to keep up with new library updates and what new products are out there.”

Bradt is sad to part ways with the friends she has made throughout her time at the university.

“I will miss the people, students, interaction and all that stuff the most,” Bradt said. “It’s going to take awhile to get used to not having all these people around me all the time.”

The library staff will miss Bradt as well. Jill Brungardt, interlibrary loan assistant, said what she will miss the most about Bradt is her management style.

“She’s very non-micromanaging. She’s very relaxed, kind of takes it all in stride and that’s one thing that I really appreciate,” Brungardt said. “She’s very giving of her time and that will be missed.”

Technical Services Librarian Nathan Poell expects to remain good friends with Bradt after her retirement. They both live in Lawrence and he will often see her at the farmers market or WheatFields Bakery and Café.

Poell said not having her expertise will affect the library the most.

“We are going to miss the hell out of her,” Poell said. “She’s irreplaceable and that’s the bottom line.”