Thursday, July 28, 2011

Library Day in the Life: July 28 guest entry

Sarah Denzer has been the awesome LIS intern at Kelly Library since August 23, 2010. She graciously agreed to write a guest blog entry about her internship experience as a part of this week's Library Day in the Life project.

When I began my MLIS last August at the University of Pittsburgh, I was fortunate to get an internship position at the Penn State Greater Allegheny library, Kelly Library. Today happens to be my last day as an intern at the library and it gives cause for a great deal of reflection regarding my time spent here. My internship, in combination with rigorous study and a move across country has not always been easy, but it has definitely been worth it.

When I think back to my first day I recall the following: intimidation, anxiety, feeling lost and completely out of my comfort zone (those feelings most feel when they begin something new). And this was certainly a new experience for me—I had never worked in a library before and although I had done a brief internship at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, it had prepared me only a little for this. Those feelings felt at first speedily went away as the weeks went by. My co-workers were incredibly patient and very generous with their time and resources to make me as comfortable as circumstance would allow. I generally create strong ties in the work-place, so this was essential for me to feel at “home.” Routine provided opportunity to smooth out those essential skills needed in myself as a developing librarian.

Due to the small nature of the Kelly Library, I was fortunate to participate in a number of activities. My primary responsibility was to serve at the reference desk: this was initially the most stressful position for myself (an introvert), but certainly the most rewarding. There is very little that can prepare you for your first reference interview—and nothing that can perfect it better than practice, practice, practice! It was thrilling the first time I realized I was no longer intimidated by the process. In addition to reference, I was also able to participate in the following: circulation, receiving and shipping and adding/withdrawing materials. Furthermore, I was actively engaged in a few projects: organizing, writing up citation guides, assisting the Head Librarian in the development of a YALSA webinar, and compiling resources for a research webpage for the campus’ 2011-2012 Teaching International program. I was also able to attend some instruction classes taught by our Reference Librarian, learn how the cataloging system works, and even travel with the Head Librarian to the Penn State Harrisburg library to interview/meet with a few of their librarians. In all, there was a rich variety of activities/opportunities for me to participate.

What I feel today is almost 100% the opposite of what I felt on my first day as an intern. In sum, I feel comfortable. I feel blessed. There are multiple benefits that spring from my time spent here: knowledge, confidence, experience, networks, and friendships. It is invaluable. Although graduating with an MLIS is an essential foundation, my internship provided a practical application of everything I learned in the classroom. In combination, these two serve to prepare me for the professional workforce. I am sad to leave, but am grateful that I can look forward to the new horizon with a confidence that would not be possible otherwise.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Library Day in the Life: July 27

The major focus for today was a lunch for our LIS intern, Sarah. Her last day is tomorrow. I'm sure the year she's spent in the Pitt LIS program and the Pitt Partners internship program have gone by very quickly. It's been great having her part of our library staff. It's also been great for me to give back to the profession and play an even more active role in a new professional's development.

A running joke I have with Sarah is that she's worked here longer than I have. She started at this campus in mid-to-late August. I didn't start my position here until a month later. We both learned as we went, with our fall semester road trip being one of the many highlights.

Lunch would not have been complete without dessert


and of course a gift.

Intern gift

One of our staff members made a blanket to make sure Sarah would not forget her experience at Penn State.

Sarah with her gift

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Library Day in the Life: July 26

I had a pretty busy day today, especially for this point in the summer. The morning was spent in a meeting. A faculty member teaching a media ethics course this fall wanted to brainstorm about ways to build in technology and civic engagement into the course. The students will be recording video and audio using an iPod Touch. My experience with blogging, video, and Facebook turned out to be useful for the discussion. It is always nice to be part of a major course assignment conception.

I left the media ethics meeting to present to students in the STEM program. I was invited to talk to them about the library during their lunch. I kept things short and sweet. I distributed a one page handout with a few general pieces of information. I also gave them each a library mug. I received the most questions about the mug.

1 page handout and mugs

It was a good day to be outside of the library, not just because of the beautiful weather. I think some people are still getting used to seeing me beyond the library building. Of course, library stuff is taking place beyond the building.

Library in summer

Of course I continued to write and respond to email throughout the day. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Library Day in the Life: July 25

Today is the start of round 7 of the Library Day in the Life project. I enjoyed participating in round 6, so I'm back for more. When I first saw the announcement I figured that it would be a quiet summer week and I wouldn't have much to offer. Turns out there are a number of things that have made their way onto this week's calendar.

This is actually our LIS intern's last week at the library. She's finishing her program at Pitt. I kept telling her it goes fast, but even I was caught a bit by surprise when I returned from vacation last week and realized how soon she'd leave us. The mantra will be "it's not goodbye". I'm thankful for all she's taught us over the past year, not to mention her invaluable assistance on a variety of projects.

Today I spent most of my day completing responses to emails sent to me while I was out of the office. I managed to send two, and both recipients thanked me for the response. There are still a few more drafts I really want to finish this week.

A faculty member did come over to check style manuals for two articles accepted for publication. One APA, the other Chicago. It was nice when he told me my showing him in early May how to use Microsoft Word to change footnotes to endnotes was a tremendous help. Another win for information literacy.

I also did some prep for a meeting on Tuesday. A faculty member contacted me a week ago regarding a few different things. I don't completely know what we and a few other people will be meeting about, but I know it involves brainstorming for a course she's developing for the fall. At least two of the meeting participants will be attending from another campus via Polycom.

The day's had fits and starts. I'm not usually much of a "it's been a Monday" person, but today definitely had that quality. It started with a thunderstorm and discovery I was completely out of conditioner. It's ending with some sunshine and a trip to buy conditioner.