Intern’s Perspective | Jordan Oldham

November 20, 2017

What to write……. What to write……. What to write. This always happens when I go to write. I am stuck until at the last possible second an idea comes to me. You would think sitting in a library amongst the vast stacks of books that the information contained inside them would somehow find its way into my brain. Nope! Being a library intern you might assume that I am well versed in the English language and could immediately come up with a truly awe inspiring idea. Knowing all the in’s and out’s of grammar, and being able to analyze in depth one of Shakespeare’s sonnets as several of my quintessential skills . Sorry to disappoint, but I am a geology major. What?!? Why is a geology student in the library let alone a library intern? Shouldn’t I be outside licking rocks or digging up dead things in the dry, dusty western US? Contrary to what you might think geologists (let alone other science majors) need the library too.

Geologists normally do most of their research out in the field: looking at outcrops of rocks, measuring a stream’s velocity, or carefully detaching a fossil from its host rock. That is normally a large portion of what a geologist does, but when they are not out in the field they are most likely searching the literature for others’ research. Has someone else looked at this stream before, what other types of methods can I use to find its velocity, or my results are not correct what did I do wrong? Questions similar to this are normally asked sometimes once, but sometimes a lot (especially what did I do wrong). Most of the literature that is searched through is peer-reviewed journals. Books are also essential because they provide a basic background on a subject, and can also provide a wide variety of sources that can help with the research process.

This is all good and well-geologist need libraries, but how does this translate to this internship? Well, for me this internship has been a great experience and learning opportunity I have had here at Cedarville. I have worked in two other libraries, but I did not get in depth behind the scenes. Learning the behind the scenes details that go into making a library run efficiently has given me a greater depth of appreciation for what librarians do. They provide an essential service, and most importantly they are here to serve. For me it is hard to pinpoint just one activity of the internship to specifically write about, but two activities I know have given me valuable experience for my dream job. At some point in my life I would like to work in the hidden portion of a museum with its collections, specifically its fossil collection.

The archives and collection development are very similar in a library to what a museum does. The main job of an archives is to preserve the history of an institution whether that be in the form of a photograph or financial record. Museums work to preserve history itself like Egyptian artifacts, paintings, or a complete dinosaur skeleton. Developing a library’s collection happens in several different ways like getting rid of materials (also called weeding) or adding materials to the collection. Personally, I got to develop the library’s collection through weeding and I was also able to purchase books for the circulating collection. Weeding is an awful process because, at least in my case, it made me feel horrible to get rid of a book. Lots of factors go into deciding whether the book should removed from the collection like is the book being checked out or is the information still up to date. The books I was able to purchase I chose based on reviews and subjects I thought would serve students later on down the road. Museum collections also need development either with removing items or adding items. This internship has given me training and skills that I will definitely use during my career. I am thankful to have been chosen to partake in such a wonderful and awesome opportunity.

Posted in: ,