Alumni Highlight: Kelly Murphy

Kelly Murphy
Friday, May 12, 2023

Kelly Murphy, MS Library Science with a concentration in Archiving Management, May 2022

Kelly knew that she wanted to combine her love of environmental studies (BA), her passion for storytelling, and her library science degree, but she did not know how she would do it until she came across the position for a Records Administrator at the Trinity River Authority on LinkedIn. That position required three to five years of experience, which she did not have, but what she did have was experience at the Dallas Municipal Archives through her practicum, where she gained skills in archiving, digitizing, imaging technology, and website design, and she had the enthusiasm for the mission of preservation. As a matter of fact, after a phone interview, during which she could recognize his enthusiasm for the role and the organization, and a face-to-face interview with a presentation, she landed the job that same week. Since she did not have a background in records management, she watched a training webinar on the topic, leading to seven hours of preparation for her interview presentation. 

    Kelly loves her job because she gets to make it her own. She says, “Me being brand new and coming into a very under-developed project has been a great learning experience.” She says that she will have the opportunity to update the organization’s records management program. Consistency in records management procedures across the facilities is a big challenge because the Trinity River Authority is spread over 17 counties and is responsible for the conservation of the river and the operation of multiple water and wastewater treatment plants, a recreational facility, and a reservoir.

    Before she returned to school to get her Library Science degree, she interviewed librarians in several sectors and researched the best library science programs. One of the librarians she interviewed worked at UNT, and he invited her on a tour, which sold her on UNT’s College of Information Library Science program. She signed up for the 100 percent online program but had planned to take a few face-to-face classes, but then COVID hit. Kelly says, “My first class was Information organization with Dr. Larry Enoch, and I was having trouble focusing due to this new situation we were living in. I emailed him to apologize for being late on the assignment and explained that I had been unfocused and stressed. He immediately sent out a communication to the entire class giving all of us more time to complete the project. He was very helpful in providing encouragement and timely feedback.” She says that all the classes were very interesting and interactive, the professors were passionate about their topics, and the feedback was especially useful. Kelly shared her experience in planning her coursework. She said, “I loved that the coursework was a great mix of theory and practice and that I could use my electives to pursue what I was interested in. I never took cataloging but took classes on archives and manuscripts, which piqued my interest in DEI- giving voice to historically underrepresented stories. I couldn’t wait to do oral history projects to preserve those voices and make their stories accessible to others.” Kelly says that in her personal life, she’s a “ditch everything and save nothing” kind of person, but that she LOVES other people’s stuff, endeavors to find ways to preserve it, and is passionate about sharing the stories of the meaning behind the stuff.

    In the fall, Kelly will join the Dr. Yvonne J Chandler mentoring program and become a practicum supervisor to give back to the department. We will also invite her for a CODE series interview to share her unique experience at the Trinity River Authority, applying her skills to connect records management and archiving.