Internship – Week 1

I’m interning at the Lilly Library with the Education and Outreach Librarian, Rebecca Baumann, for the Fall 2015 semester.

Front of the Lilly Library
The Lilly Library on Indiana University’s campus in Bloomington, Indiana, United States (via K. Emmons)

As part of the coursework, interns have to keep a weekly journal of our experiences. Blog entries are acceptable and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone updated on my library activities!

August 24 – August 28

Monday , Aug. 24 (3 hours): I’ve worked at the Lilly in a couple of different capacities, but Rebecca gave me a tour of the library from a reference librarian’s perspective. She showed me the card catalog, the manuscript collection description binders, how to page books, how to reshelve manuscripts, and various other reference files. I talked with two other reference librarians about the email account. That’s where the majority of outside reference questions come in and they’ll reserve some for me to work out in the coming days. I spent the rest of the time sorting through a few manuscript collection boxes trying to find a specific item for one of the patrons. No luck this time… though it was eventually found by someone else!

Wednesday, Aug. 26 (3 hours): This shift started with some manuscript reshelving. I went with one of the reference librarians to do this task. He’s been doing this for quite a few years and seems to know where several of the manuscripts are stored off the top of his head. That’s the kind of thing that I think is important in libraries: librarians knowing their institute’s collections. At the Lilly there are seven total floors: two of them are devoted to manuscript collections, four are full of book shelves. That’s a lot of material, and there’s more at the off-site facility. Working with the materials allows you to learn the quirks and figure out what’s requested often. It was enlightening going around with him. The rest of the day I worked on reference emails and marking folders for items to be photocopied.

Friday, Aug. 28 (4 hours): This shift was particularly exciting because the day started with a class visit! Rebecca was showing some manuscripts pertaining to The Phantom Tollbooth to a homeschooled 8th grade class from Columbus. This was my first time as an intern getting to watch a class being taught by Rebecca. It’s important to know your audience. These were middle schoolers, so Rebecca didn’t need to dig up a dissertations worth of information. This talk was more giving them a general idea of what the items were, how they pertained to their reading of The Phantom Tollbooth, and basic knowledge about how the Lilly (being a special collections library) differs from other libraries. I also got to hear a little of her “Treasures” speech. Next Tuesday, actually, she’s set up time for three of the librarians to give their respective “Treasures” speeches to me and another intern, Sarah. It’ll be cool to see what each of them emphasizes. The rest of the day I spent answering reference emails and searching through boxes to find requested items. And SUCCESS! I found one of the items requested! That was a great feeling.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, illustrations by Jules Feiffer
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, illustrations by Jules Feiffer

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