Librarian: Amy McHugh
Is there anything better than a win-win? Not at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School’s Library, which is hosting its second year of a pilot library internship for students. Student interns were put to work after brainstorming ways to get reliable helpers who would understand all aspects of the job and be a consistent presence in the library. The results have been fantastic.
The program started small, with two juniors and two seniors who worked different periods of the day. All were voracious readers who I believed would benefit from the experience of learning the science behind how the library operates. The students I asked were highly motivated and interested in learning about the library rather than just using it as a place to hang out (and get out of gym!). The screening process was a series of questions focused on their interests and expectations of the position, as well as their current knowledge about copyright, patron confidentiality, and the way the library is organized. This digital document was used as a pre-assessment for my SMART GOAL, which focused on student proficiency/mastery of various responsibilities as a library intern. My professional practice goal centered on creating curriculum, units, and lessons for the intern program.
It’s been a worthwhile investment to train each of them in all areas of the library, such as circulation, book processing, maintaining a blog, shelving books, website design and upkeep, and writing book reviews. The variety of students’ interest suited the positions in that one gravitated toward organizing the books and putting them away. Another student favored circulation and learning the Library World circulation system well. A journalism student created her own page on the library’s website and loved finding book trailers and book quotes to share with other readers, as well as writing reviews and asking students for feedback.
As with any class, certain students are better at self directing than others. However, all interns have been receptive to direction. Cell phone issues and talking to friends when in the library have not once been a problem. Many have helped students in the library, which has made them feel knowledgeable and also empowered them to do more and try more.
Senior Kate Wrobel is determined to have our library organized by genre. She’s already started to break it down.
Wrobel agrees that the experience in the library been worthwhile. “I’ve become much better with my organizational skills and I love being able to help students find a book that they’ll like to read. I’ve also learned about the Dewey System and where everything goes. I love working in the library,” she said.
The success of the program has me wondering why I didn’t do it sooner. It is a wonderful way to get to know students better, something that I missed when I left the English classroom. The intern program has freed me to work on curriculum, research projects, teacher collaboration, and other professional responsibilities that were tricky to juggle with no help. I’m looking forward to another year with the program and meeting students who are ready for a win/win!