Adding a New Chapter to a “Universe of Stories”

Summer Reading

When county schools dismiss for summer, public libraries eagerly jump in to supply activities that support student progress, or turn a reluctant reader around. This summer’s theme, a Universe of Stories, celebrates the anniversary of space exploration, and offers reading and enrichment activities for all ages. A summer break for some, meet Julia, one of our staff members, whose homework continues year-round as a graduate student in library science. She helped plan summer reading, even as she studies its effect on literacy outcomes. Here is Julia’s take on a “Day in the Life of a Library Science Grad Student”.

“Many library patrons may know me as”

1) that dedicated library assistant who goes out of her way to find the right answer, even if it means calling three other libraries

2) as the lady who teaches craft classes and occasionally reads picture books aloud in cartoonish voices

3) the weird woman always humming to herself…

Yet there’s more to my story – by night I an over-caffeinated graduate student!

On a typical school day, I’ve already worked eight hours at the library. Contrary to popular belief, public libraries are not quiet (or dull) places to work. Rotating between four busy service desks, I answer reference questions, show patrons how to use equipment, or, well … hum to myself as I shelve books.

Arriving home, I feed my horde of furry children, occasionally myself, and settle in for another night of homework. I log onto Canvas (similar to Facebook for school) to submit my assignments and weekly posts. Assignments vary. I might interview an expert in the field or finish a quiz about the parts of a computer. Recently, we submitted a review on a fiction book of our choice. I chose a “popcorn” genre book, cuddled with my cats, and devoured the book in one sitting. BEST. HOMEWORK. EVER.

Some days, the combination of work and school is exhausting. Yet librarians regularly consult professional resources to gain insight into the best practices and emerging trends. We strive to embrace innovation and new tools that are responsive to community needs.

The world is changing. Our social lives are now online, so much so that we could easily call any social media platform a “Universe of Stories”. However, every day, I get to connect with my patrons over a book, a complex reference question, a history lecture or even just fixing a simple copy jam. So, as you enjoy time off from homework this summer, stop by the reference desk. You’ve read my story; I’d love to hear yours!

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