My Semester at the Library: An Intern’s Point of View
Guest blogger Chelsea Cowit (Class of ’14) describes what an internship at the Library taught her about librarians, library resources, and self-confidence.
“My Semester at the Library” | By Chelsea Cowit, Purchase College Class of 2014
When you think of the library, you probably think of studying or of rushing to print your paper. What you might not consider is how much goes on behind the scenes. For the past semester, I did my undergraduate internship at the library, and I can safely say it is a far more complex place than I thought.
There are aspects of life at SUNY Purchase I don’t know about due to my status as a transfer student. The Library’s Research by Subject guides are one of these aspects, and I’ve found them to be very valuable. Each guide includes components to help students, whether it’s a link to a subject database or a list of required movies/books for a program like Cinema Studies.
Through my internship, I’ve seen how communication between professors and librarians is vital. There are many aspects of the library that require communication. Have you ever gone to an instruction session in the library? That’s set up between the professor and the librarian. New book collections also start with communication between the librarian and the professor.
On the topic of communication, I’ve always been afraid to ask for help at the Reference Desk , fearing that I would annoy the librarians, that my questions were too simple, or that the librarians were too busy to help me. I’ve realized that this was not a good assumption. While shadowing the librarians at the reference desk, I’ve seen students from all walks of life come and ask for assistance, and I’ve watched and helped the librarians provide it. Librarians are there to help you, and their help is irreplaceable. They can help with any type of question you may have, be it a research question or simply how to save as a PDF file. All it takes is that first step of communication– either in person, through the text a librarian (“Text Us”) service, or the chat service (“Ask Us”), all linked on the homepage of the library. Next time you find yourself needing assistance, ask them. They work hard to help you!
Beyond gaining knowledge of the library during my internship, I also gained confidence in myself. During my final day, I found myself helping students with confidence I had been lacking before. I helped students with an easy smile. Before interning, I wasn’t as sure of myself when I talked, and I wasn’t confident in providing help to people. I still struggle with this, but stepping into the library to intern this semester has forced me out of my comfort zone and enabled me to gain those skills. For me, the library has been a place where I’ve grown.