Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last update! The fall semester flew by so quickly and now I’m finding myself serving on the Holley Intern Search Committee…..meaning that my internship is almost over.
With that in mind, I wanted to give a quick update on my thoughts from the fall semester, during which time I worked half-days in Technical Services and Research and Instruction. All in all, I was [pleasantly] surprised. When I first heard that I would be rotating through Technical Services and Research and Instruction at the same time, I thought my work in both departments would be unrelated. I mean, Technical Services sounds like it involves behind-the-scenes technical work, while Instruction sounds like a whole lot of interactive teaching…right?
Well, kind of. My work in both departments did run the gamut from working with collections, to working with databases, to working one-on-one with students. But I was surprised to find that working somewhat “behind the scenes” in Technical Services made me a better teacher. Because I learned about the different ways the library purchases materials, I can explain why we do/don’t have certain materials in our collection. If a student is perplexed about how to find something on the shelf, I can explain how materials are cataloged and how this affects where they live. And because I understand how a link resolver works, I can help students see how the “Gett it” button, for example, connects them to the resources they need. Working in Technical Services filled in some of the technical-knowledge gaps I took for granted when working with students, and has allowed me to better explain why the library works the way it does.
My experience this fall illustrates why the Holley Internship’s structure is so fantastic. Taken separately, these rotations have given me specialized knowledge of one particular area of librarianship and have made me an excellent future cataloger or teacher. But taken together, the rotations have done much more than prepare me to enter the workforce. They’ve exposed the underlying anatomy of the library, the larger structure connecting each department’s workflows and responsibilities. It’s been a joy figuring out how each puzzle piece fits together, especially those which look so different at first glance.