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  • September 2010
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A Summer in the Life of a Teen Intern

**This summer, Teen Services was lucky enough to have a fantastic intern from University of Pittsburgh’s School of Library and Information Sciences.  Morgan finished up her internship a month ago, but it seemed appropriate to post her final blog post when summer is TRULY over: the first week of school. -Karen**

This is your friendly neighborhood library intern posting her first and last entry to the CLP Teensburgh Blog. Some of you may have seen me at the desk in the Teen Department at Main, or shelving books, or just wandering aimlessly through the stacks. I wanted to take this opportunity to post to the blog about myself and about my experience here at CLP Teen.

I am a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences, I have almost completed my course of study to receive my Masters in Library and Information Science. In plain English, I’m going to Pitt to learn to be a librarian and I’m almost done!

I was so glad to be given the opportunity to work in the Main Teen department for course credit during my summer semester. Being a hometown girl, I was really excited to be able to work for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which has long held a special place in my Pittburgh-born-and-raised heart.

The purpose of this blog post is to tell about my experience, what I learned and what I’m going to take away from my time at CLP Teen. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret and say that I’m basically writing it as my farewell love letter to the department, staff, and patrons. I will do so in the High Fidelity style of top five lists. If you havent seen the greatly lauded John Cusack and Jack Black comedy, here’s an example of what I mean.

Imbed – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8q5wiMYojo&feature=related

Okay. Here we go!

Top Five Important (Library and Non-Library Related) Things I Learned while at CLP Teen:

1.) Dont be afraid to take charge. On my first day a teen volunteer asked me to sign off on her hours and I told her I wasnt sure if I had the authority to do that. I remember, because it stuck with me for the rest of my internship, that Connie told me to assert my authority whenever I could. You gotta be assertive, kids!

2.) Library Advocacy is a Battle that Never Ends. When I first moved back to Pittsburgh last summer, I became aware of the troubles the library was going through. And when I stopped hearing about it on the news, I assumed the trouble had passed. This is a trap a lot of people fall into. It’s important to maintain awareness of whats going on in your State and in your library so that you can intervene on behalf of literacy and free access to information for everyone.

3.) The Importance of Statistics. In a library like the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which is under some budget constraints right now, keeping track of statistics is really important. Things like how many and what kind of questions you answer as well as head counts of people who attend programs are important to keep track of so that you can tell the higher-ups and the public where the money that you spend is going and how great an effect it is making on the community.

4.) How to Use Millennium ILS. Unless you are a library software buff, you probably don’t know that the program the library uses to keep track of books and patron accounts is called Millennium. It’s a very popular program, but before my internship I hadn’t had the opportunity to learn how to use it. This is a really great skill to put on a resume, and I’m so glad I was able to acquire it at CLP Teen.

5.) Even Managers Have to do Mindless Data Entry. During my time at CLP Teen, I spent two days a week in the Teen Room, at the desk and in the stacks. And I also spent one day a week in the Teen Services office upstairs. Karen is the Coordinator for Teen Services, and while I understood that much of what I would be doing for her would be data entry tasks for the department and for the Teen website, to my surprise, Karen would be doing the same or similar tasks to what I was asked to do. There are several morals to this story, my two favorites are, Every Task is Important and You Cant Escape Excel Spreadsheets.

Top Five Coolest Things I Got to do while at CLP Teen:

1.) Official Photographer of Wizard Rock. I had heard of Wizard Rock before my time at CLP Teen, but I had never been to a show and never heard a song by any WROCK Band. To my surprise, I enjoyed the casual, fun concerts, and the quirky, yet adorable and well-written songs that the bands played. Also, I never say no to a camera in my hand and I really enjoyed capturing the experience of Wizard Rock on the lawn at CLP.

2.) Mario Kart on a Quiet Thursday. About halfway into my internship, on a Thursday afternoon, but barely anyone was in the library and no one was gaming. So Joseph and a young teen began to play Mario Kart on the Wii. Joseph was called back to the desk so he asked me, Do you want to play Mario Kart? So I said, Sure! And the rest is history. Meaning, I will not tell you how many times I ran Yoshi or Princess Peach into a wall by accident.

3.) Making Sushi in the Library. As a requirement of my internship, I planned a program for the library. It occurred during the Anime club for the month of July and it was awesome. I taught the anime club to make vegetarian sushi and tuna filled rice balls. It was really exciting for me to bring my non-library related skills into the library and teach a rare, valuable, and delicious skill.

4.) Button-making! During the Summer Reading extravaganza I got my first taste of activities from art club. My schedule didn’t allow me to come into the library to participate in the fun and exciting art club, but that day I was able to make buttons for the first time ever. And let me tell you, in no way are buttons over-rated. Making buttons is super fun and I will not hear of anyone knocking it.

5.) Processing New Books. I know this sounds kind of lame. But CLP Teen enters all their new books into their LibraryThing.com account. So you scan the book, add tags for the book, and then link it into the library’s catalog. Tagging books is one of the easiest and most fun forms of cataloging, and I love figuring out what tags to add to a particular book. It was one of my favorite things to do at the desk.

Top Five Things I Will Miss About CLP Teen:

1.) My CLP badge. I’m not going to lie. I love my CLP badge. I love that it doesn’t distinguish me specifically as a volunteer as compared to an employee of the library. I love that it helps me get into the building before the doors to the public open and that its existence gives me one dollar parking in the library/museum parking lot. And I love that my picture on it actually looks pretty good.

2.) Celebrity File Cabinets. I don’t know about you, but who doesn’t want to reach into the depths of Megadeath for X-Box and Wii controllers, or search for a stapler in Audrey Hepburn’s drawers? In case you weren’t aware, the CLP Teen file cabinets all have celebrity names to distinguish them from one another and I, for one, will never tire of hearing the words, Oh, that’s in Johnny Depp.

3.) Thursday Afternoon Gaming. It definitely brings a sense of real community to the library to see old a new faces every week coming together to play Halo or Madden in the meeting room, or Brawl by the bean bag chairs and it is something that I will seriously miss a lot.

4.) Recommending YA books on a regular basis. I’m pretty sure that in the next few months my friends will quickly tire of my incessant YA book recommendations. Because I can no longer come into the Teen department and chat with staff and patrons about what I’ve been reading lately, my poor friends and family will be the only outlet I have for the urge to tell people what they might like to read.

5.) Morgan-time. This is an inside-joke. Sorry everyone else, but I want to take number five of my Top Five Things I Will Miss to thank the CLP Teen staff and the CLP staff at large for being so friendly and welcoming to me and for helping me learn as much as I could in such an enjoyable way during my short time in your department. I also especially want to thank Holly and Karen for being superb supervisors and great examples of highly successful librarians who are fantastic at their jobs, and to thank Joseph for being hilarious.

I was asked to write this blog post to give you, the readers, some idea of what an internship at CLP Teen and a career in libraries looks like. And I think that I will finish by saying what I have been telling friends, family, and colleagues for weeks now and what I will continue to tell them now that I am done with my internship. There was not one thing that I offered to or was asked to do at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh that I did not absolutely love doing. I have found what I want to do with my career and my life and I hope that by sharing my experience I can give some other lover of books and libraries some idea of what they might want to do with theirs.

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