I just finished the first week of my summer internship, and I wanted to document some of my experiences thus far. I hope you find this interesting, helpful and/or entertaining! (Most of all, I am writing this because after the program is finished, it will be helpful for me to reflect on the work I have done.)
Thanks to a generous grant through the Erie County Community Foundation, I am one of five “Community Links” interns in my county; each intern is paired with a local nonprofit organization (and a mentor from the respective organization) for the summer. I am spending ten weeks working on various projects at the Sandusky Library and the Follett House Museum, a historic site owned by the library.
On the surface, many people may view librarians’ tasks as simple and perhaps one-sided – organizing books, directing patrons to certain materials, checking out materials, etc. (I’ll admit, when I was little, I used to imitate librarians by sliding my glasses down my nose and saying “May I help you?” in a funny voice.) However, in just the first two days of my internship, I learned more behind-the-scenes details related to library operations than I ever thought imaginable. This past week, I was trained in using the library’s comprehensive computer systems, and I also assisted with children’s services and learned about the interesting task of deciding which newly-published books to purchase for the library’s collection. Many of the tasks, which may appear to be mundane, are actually very tedious and fast-paced; I spent one morning in the book “sorting room,” which was quite the experience.
Though I have been trained in nearly all departments of the library, the majority of my time will be spent in the Sandusky Library children’s department, where I will be assisting with the Summer Reading Program (a longstanding reading-log program designed to encourage reading for kids and adults of all ages) and leading activities and sessions for children and families. I will also be working on a multitude of projects at the Follett House Museum. The Follett House, once the home of a prominent Sandusky family in the 19th century, was built in 1837 in the Greek Revival style (Do I sound like a tour guide yet?) and is home to an extensive collection of artifacts that tell the story of early Sandusky, Ohio, and Erie County. In addition to leading guided tours of the house, I will be working on revamping three older exhibits and researching/creating a brand new exhibit for the museum.
- One day, when I was working at the circulation desk, a patron approached me with a stack of typed papers. He pointed to a hand-written note, which read “Wikipedia.” He then said, “I’m looking for him.” I had to explain (politely and patiently) that Wikipedia is the name of a website, not a person.
- I have been a library patron for many years, and I even remember participating in the children’s programs and “Storytime” sessions when I was very young. On the first day of my internship, many of the staff members recognized me from when I little! (They said I was a “frequent flier” at the library.)
It is refreshing to work in such a welcoming and friendly environment. The cover photo of this blog post (“Always be a little kinder than necessary”) is a picture of the chalkboard in the staff room; the quote perfectly embodies the positive climate of the library. The supervisors and employees I have met thus far truly love what they do, and it shines through. So far, I have learned that it is important to voice any ideas you have about possible projects or responsibilities you hope to take on during your internship; more often than not, your mentors, boss or co-workers will be happy to hear your ideas. For example, I made sure to let my mentors know that in addition to my main assigned projects, I would be happy to work on the library’s social media accounts and potentially lead a seminar for teens and adults about blogging.
I am looking forward to the upcoming events and projects I have on my plate. If you have any questions about my internship program or topics you would like to see me discuss in the future, leave a comment below!
Here’s to being “the intern,”