The highlight of my week was probably the visit with ZSR’s Preservation Librarian, Craig Fansler, to see the antique letterpress (pictured) donated to the library by Carl Hein. Craig talked about the resurgence of the letterpress in the wake of new technology, and it’s really neat to see it used regularly for bookmarks, invitations, and other uses in the library. It hasn’t been that long, but it reminded me of my work at the newspaper and made me feel at home. I could always tell which press our print shop manager, Early Bailey, was running by the sounds coming from the back of the building.
This week, my supervisor, Chelcie, met with me to discuss some potential summer internship opportunities. I had expressed some interest in finding something to keep me occupied over the summer, and she was kind enough to look over some of the internships I found and offer some professional advice. She also asked me two questions for which I realized I didn’t really have answers – What do I want out of a potential internship and Where do I envision myself after graduation? – I wasn’t really satisfied with my answers to these questions and have been thinking about it since.
I went into grad school as a blank slate. I knew I liked reading and that sharing/preserving/making accessible information was important to me. I knew I had an interest in archives, simply because of my overarching fascination with the past and the belief that preserving it is vital. I also knew that I could not ignore the presence of technology in the field and viewed it as one of the major benefits of entering the library studies program. With all of that being said, I feel more than fortunate that I was offered this unexpected opportunity at ZSR, particularly so early in my graduate school career, because it meets so many of those expectations. But I don’t know that I had actively considered what I want when I get out of school, because from past experience where I wanted to be and where I ended up are usually two completely different places (in both positive and negative ways). I am wary of being specific because I don’t want to be disappointed, yes, but also because I am open to where life will take me. However, I also know that avoiding decisions out of uncertainty is no excuse. I’m not the greatest planner, I think, because when I sit down and think about the future I visualize all of the possibilities and cannot imagine planning for everything that could possibly happen. That being said, I have been giving it some thought.
So, what would I like out of a summer internship – or any other possible internships or learning opportunities during my time as an LIS student?
The reason internships are so important to me is twofold. First, I believe that I cannot truly know about a job without the experience of actually performing the work. And, two, I know that potential employers are looking for that experience, even out of entry-level employees. So those are my practical reasons for wanting an internship. But what do I want out of a potential summer internship? I want skills that I cannot get in a classroom. I want skills that are not always easy to master and can be technical – metadata creation, digitization, cataloging. This may lack the specificity that some people need, but for me, it is a fairly well-defined goal.
Where do I envision myself after graduate school?
This is a much more difficult question for me to answer. I entered graduate school with a vision of providing service to people. I envision myself doing this in two very distinct ways. One is in a role very much like where I am now at ZSR, preserving the past in some meaningful way for the users of the future. The other way is in service to the public in a small, community library where I can help people directly. But as I said, I am open to many different points in between.