We hope you enjoy reading about Hannah’s experience at the Library, written at the end of the Spring semester ’21.
This spring semester, I had the opportunity to work as an intern at the Van Wylen Library as part of my Women’s and Gender Studies degree. I worked under the guidance of Tori Longfield, Hope College’s Assistant Librarian for the Digital Liberal Arts. We met bi-weekly to discuss my internship projects as well as topics in library and information science in preparation for my starting grad school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I worked on two projects, one about collection development and the other about diversifying subject headings. Under the supervision of Jen Holman, the Associate Librarian for Electronic Resources, I helped develop a procedure for collection development. As this was an internship with the WGS department, we focused on adding to our WGS collection. As the result of this project, we were able to purchase new books and resources for the library, some of which are already available. This is a process that will hopefully be replicated in order to diversify other collections at Van Wylen.
My second project, on subject headings, was under the guidance of Jeremy Barney, the Assistant Librarian for Metadata and Digital Collections. This project was more oriented towards learning about subject headings and controlled vocabularies, as well as cataloging more broadly. Through various readings and webinars, I put together a list of subject headings about gender that I wanted to further investigate due to their outdated terminology. These subject headings are determined by the Library of Congress, but individual libraries sometimes can make local changes. Jeremy would then run reports to see how often and where these subject headings showed up in our collections. At the end of this semester, I will be submitting a report on our findings that makes recommendations for better, more up to date subject headings. The final aspect of my internship was the wonderful opportunity to interview the librarians here at Hope College, and I am grateful to everyone who was willing to meet with me and answer my questions about librarianship.
Although I began this internship knowing that I was interested in a career in librarianship (in fact, I had already applied to library schools), I am now more confident than ever in that decision. I was allowed flexibility and freedom in the projects I chose, and since my interest in this profession sits at the intersections between social justice, feminist pedagogy, and librarianship, I was able to explore projects rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Tori, Jen, and Jeremy offered their expertise and guidance every step of the way, and I’m finishing this internship with new knowledge about librarianship as a whole, but more specifically, about collection development and cataloging. Although I don’t know exactly what branch of librarianship I’ll pursue, I feel prepared to enter grad school with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained through my internship. I’ve loved getting to know the librarians, being a part of purchasing new books for a collection I love, and getting to explore the nuances and complexities of controlled vocabularies. I look forward to bringing this experience with me as I head to UIUC this fall!