Tuesday, February 1, 2011

They've begun to teach me their ways... Soon I will be one of them...

My name is Audrey Schwinn and I am the Spring 2011 Fortenbaugh Intern for the Reference and Instruction Department at Gettysburg College's Musselman Library. I am originally from Maine, but for the last three and a half years I have been down here in Gettysburg working towards my B.A. in English. (If everything goes according to plan, I will graduate in May.)

This brings me to the familiar question of "What do you do with a B.A. in English?" The Center for Career Development would probably tell you that 'you can do anything with an English degree,' but as for my personal answer, I'm really not sure what to do yet. So that's why you find me here, interning in the library. As an English major, the library seemed as good a place as any to start my search for career ideas. I have come here so that they may teach me the ways of being a Reference Librarian.


By this point I have completed my training, but only in the sense that I have made it through the Training Binder and not in the sense that I have any idea what is going on. So far the various librarians I have worked with have discussed things such as general library policies, knowing the collection, the reference interview, information search strategies, and ethical scenarios at the Reference Desk. (I have also learned how to put more paper in the printer, as well as how to fix the frequent paper jams.) Now that I am into my second week of interning I have been made aware of all the information that is out there, but the idea that a student will rely on me to help them find it is still a quite intimidating. When you sit behind the Reference Desk, library patrons assume that you know what you're doing. However, I have been promised that I will not be left alone at the desk until I am perfectly capable of answering the wide variety of questions that library patrons will come up with.

Although I am not currently confident in my ability to answer reference questions, I am confident in my ability to learn. (Thank you, liberal arts education.) In a library even the librarians are still learning as information and technology is constantly changing. I anticipate that my experience as the Fortenbaugh Intern will be a truly unique and rewarding undergrad experience.

- Audrey

1 comment:

  1. A belief in the power of learning is key, Audrey!

    If you are initially stumped by a question, you can always stall with "Hmm, what an interesting question! No one has asked me that before. Let's think about where we might learn more about this..." By articulating your own learning process, you teach patrons how to explore a new topic.

    You'll be great!