As I apply for jobs I’m reminded by a cartoon episode of the Simpsons where Lisa Simpson is given the opportunity to finally move to the next grade. She wasn’t sure of the decision and the choice was given to her in a different way “So, do you want to be a big fish in a small pond or do you want to be a little fish in a big lake?” She said “Big fish! Big Fish!” I am less intimidated by the job requirements for many public library and academic library jobs because of my experience in the Skokie Library. I have completed a year of work in different departments and working with amazing programming and efforts.
At first it was very intimidating working alone in some of the after school spaces or answering readers advisory questions. As I wrap-up my internship, I’m finding that it’s a lot less intimidating to work on the Youth Desk or in the after school areas alone. I don’t feel anything like a big fish in a little pond but I am a lot more confident in myself while working in the library. I feel more assured in giving college preparation advice to high schoolers or answering a reader’s advisory questions to avid ten year old readers. I can offer my opinion and not be terrified of giving the “wrong answer”. I feel that this internship gave me the opportunity to walk as a librarian and practice my coursework or even learn lessons that I missed because of class choices. A great example of this is the Readers Advisory training I attended and practice I received on the Youth Service desk and shadowing on the Reader’s Service desk. I did not have enough credits to take that course but the Skokie Internship has given me that training in the added value of working in a library setting!
Another final semester reflection is the interconnections of library programming and experience. This hit me when I helped one of the other interns, Kara, with the Marvelous Birthday Bash Celebrating Curious George’s 75th Birthday. I was tasked with the banana tree activity. So far my experience and work has been concentrating on working with teens and sometimes adults. This program helped me put together my skills working with both groups and work with families with different age children. I had exposure with that in the BoomBox during drop-in hours, but this was a lot more people. The event was attended by more 200+ people. The youth department was full of families who were there for the event specifically but also some who were just visiting the library for the day. Interacting successfully with the diverse families in different age groups gave me confidence in my skills interacting with others. I’ve had experiences interacting with specific age groups but this program gave me the inter-generational perspective I didn’t see before.
Overall, this internship has been amazing in terms of experience and simply getting exposed to an amazing public library. It is my first experience in public library work and I maybe have become a little addicted to it. Working with the variety of library users and with all the possible activities is exciting and thrilling. Whatever I library I end up working at, I know I can apply all the skills I learned in this internship. Thank you to all the amazing mentors who coordinated all the training times and activities including the reference and user service training, library security and safety training, outreach and community engagement, and administrative and management snapshots. These were only a few of the many experiences that I don’t think would have been possible in an average type of internship. I am pretty sure I’ll have Skokie withdrawals when I go back to North Carolina, but I will always remember the awesome time I had here and the amazing people I met.