No, I Am Not a Naughty Librarian: Journal of an Intern of Library Science

However you might rail against it, my little Salem sisters, the mandatory internship is as inevitable as menopause: it will be here, whether you accept it or not, so the better prepared you are to face it, the easier it will go. Am I trying to frighten you? Never! I am shocked you’d even think it. I have no doubt you’ve heard internship horror stories in plenty. Well, this is not one of those. Learn from experience, ladies, preferably someone else’s, so that you don’t have to suffer.

In choosing my internship in library science, I played to my strengths. If you, perhaps, are the sort to thrive on challenges, you might be better off interning with a medic, mushing your way through the Alaskan tundra. But if you are like me and adverse to drastic cold, know what your strengths are, what comes naturally to you, and what you are willing to live with. This isn’t a game of hot potato, children, and you can’t just toss the internship when things get too toasty for you. Thus, I chose interning at my former high school’s media center. Not only was I familiar and comfortable with the work, but I also had a connection there. Feel free to apply to places where you are an unknown, but do not discount the places or people with whom you are connected. Nepotism is a beautiful thing, when you’re on the receiving end.

If my life were a Disney movie, I could impart the details of my everyday tasks in glorious song, while I swished my unnaturally voluminous hair, styled courtesy of my woodland animal friends… who can talk. But it isn’t. My everyday work in the library is entirely dependent on how busy things get. Certainly, I do the sort of things that you’d expect of a librarian: checking books in and out, shelving said books, rearranging the books into their proper place (Dewey Decimal system, people, it’s not hard), and helping students find what they need. What I did not expect, which was a tad foolish, I’ll admit, was just how much of my internship was going to revolve around the rising technology being incorporated into the high school. In a sense, it is incorrect to say that I interned at a library; I interned at a media center.

As a result, much of what I have learned revolves around the evolution of the library, or as I’ve already pointed out its more apt title: media center. It is not enough to offer books; now, a media center must provide access to new technology, or it will quickly find itself redundant and outmoded. On that note, love your local library, embrace your literacy, and check out a book for fun… please.

Further, the work hours will throw you for a loop, unless you happen to be one of those nauseatingly cheerful people who chirps about beautiful mornings and pleasant days. I always assumed that my parents were pansies for their perceived lack of stamina after working forty hours a week. I will never make such an error again.


Certainly, I could go on about the minute details of my internship. I could tell you about how frustrating it is to realize that there are people in high schools who are alphabetically challenged and do not know that R comes before T and therefore these people should never be permitted to re-shelve books without first putting the ABC song on their iPods. I could also tell you about the surrealism of being referred to as “Ms. Parker” or “ma’am” by students only four or five years my junior, or ordering new books for those students in the desperate hope that their brains won’t wither from disuse. I could tell you of the respect and fondness that I held for my supervisor in high school and how it has only doubled now that I have come to know her as an adult. But relating that minutia would be superfluous, because you see, I’ve already done it. I will, instead, tell you about the simple joy of returning home after a long day. For those of you Salem ladies reduced to foraging in the snow like lemmings, I enjoyed the sumptuous luxury of home-cooked meals. Soup, bread, thoroughly cooked meat, vegetables, fruit– I got it every single night, baby, and it was so good. Eat your hearts out.





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