Library School Day in the Life 2013: Tuesday – Friday

I am documenting my life for Hack Library School’s Library Student Day in the Life. For other great bloggers who are participating, check here.

After I posted last Monday, I realized that midterms was absolutely the wrong time to try to blog every day! As much as I love sharing pieces of my life — especially for something as cool as the Hack Library School “Day in the Life” — it’s just too much pressure during a stressful time at work. Rather than adding even more to my plate with daily posts, I thought I would post what my days looked like as a whole. Without further ado…


Tuesdays are “school days” for me — I scheduled all my courses on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester so that I would have more time for my internships. My first course of the day, Cataloging, is at the absurd 8am hour. If I didn’t love the class so much I might be inclined to resent the sleep invasion.

The course covers the fundamentals of cataloging books and other printed materials. Of course this is much more difficult than it sounds. Have you ever seen a MARC cataloging record?

Sample MARC record

Not as simple, right?

After my cataloging class, I rushed to the library to get in some last-minute studying for a midterm. Management for Information Professionals is a required course for my masters but it’s also one of the least “library science” related. A lot of what we’re learning is basic management theory (administrative model, scientific model, etc) rather than putting all of it in a library setting. The midterm went well…I think.


I spend Wednesday mornings interning at Duke University Press. For more about my job there check out my previous “day in the life” post here. I love working at DUP because I get to work with many editorial assistants. Since each editor’s list is so different, I sometimes feel like I have three different jobs! The tasks are never the same so the learning curve can be a little steep — at least it’s never boring!

Later in the day I head over to my internship at the public library. Wednesdays are usually programming nights so I either help out with the events or cover the desk while someone else works them. This Wednesday there weren’t any programs, so I got to answer reference questions and help people find books. I never thought I would end up in a public library but this internship has shown me how much fun it can be. For more on why I love working at a public library check out this post.


Much like Tuesday, I start my day in Cataloging. With the weight of the midterm no longer hanging over our heads we work on serials. Just when we thought we’d gotten our footing, these pulled the rug right out from underneath us! Serials are cataloged in a very different way from books, especially because we are learning to catalog them using a different (older) set of rules. Though I took furious notes during class, I’m fairly sure the material will take a few more days to sink in.

My afternoon class is an introduction to databases. I’ll be honest — I signed up for this class because it fit into my schedule well. I had never considered doing a library job that required me to learn the inner workings of a database, nor had I ever thought I would understand the structure if I tried! Color me surprised. This is by far my favorite class. Perhaps it’s because I get to use a different part of my brain or maybe because it’s set up more like an undergraduate class — who knows the reason, I just know that it rocks my socks! I can’t imagine doing a library job without understanding databases; they now seem so integral.


Another day, another shift at Duke University Press. Fridays are a change of pace at the press because I usually get to work on manuscript descriptions. This means that I get to read the manuscript (or at least the introduction and first chapter) and write a one-page description of the author’s argument and main points. Sometimes I feel completely out of my depth but more often than not one of my Kenyon courses touched on the topic at hand — see, a liberal arts education IS useful! To be honest, without the range of courses I took at Kenyon I would be up a creek. One week I could be working on a political book about a former president, the next week it might be about Afghanistan during the turn of the century!

Liberal Arts

After working at the Press, I head off to the library for another closing shift. I usually spend an hour working on readers advisory lists or programming before hopping on the desk to answer patron questions. Since the library closes at 6pm on Fridays there’s usually a flurry of activity in the DVD section; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “Do you guys have any comedies?” You’re asking the wrong librarian, this girl prefers documentaries or period pieces!

So there’s my typical week in a nutshell. I hope it maybe convinced you that library science isn’t all shelving books and shushing anymore!

Library School Day in the Life 2013: Monday

This week I will be documenting my life for Hack Library School’s Library Student Day in the Life. For other great bloggers who are participating, check here.

A big hello to anyone who found me from the Hack Library School wiki! My name is Alexandra and I am a first year student at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Library and Information Science. I’m a little ashamed to admit that nearing the middle of my second semester I am no closer to figuring out what area of librarianship I am most interested in. I am pulled in opposing directions: on one hand I love working with teens in the public library for my internship, on the other hand I always thought that I would work in a government library in Washington, D.C. Only time will tell where I end up but until then here’s my “day in the life.”

Monday morning. Most of the world considers it the most dreaded morning but for me it means a few more hours to catch up on reading and homework. Because I work part-time at Duke University Press and intern at a local public library at night, I have a little free time on Mondays. Usually I use the time to do the all too essential household chores but because it is midterms at SILS I’m knee-deep in notes and textbooks. A lot of the courses at SILS don’t have midterms, only midterm assignments, but Library Management has a written midterm. It’s been a really long time since I’ve taken a midterm exam. Like a really long time. As an English major at Kenyon College most of my midterms consisted of writing a paper, same for the courses for my history minor.

After hitting the books for a few hours, it’s time to head to work. Though publishing isn’t directly related to library science, the internship was posted on the SILS list-serv and I immediately jumped on it! Duke University Press is only about eight miles from my apartment but because I have to go past Duke University it usually takes more than thirty minutes. I use my car time to listen to a book on CD; my current book is State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

Once I finally arrive at DUP it’s time to go through the daily grind. This can mean anything from logging recently submitted manuscripts into the database, to writing one-page descriptions of books going before the board. The work can get a little tedious at times — there are only so many ways to make sending a FedEx package interesting — but I learn a lot of things that could be considered transferable skills.

After several hours of editorial work, I dash out the door and head to grab some dinner. Monday nights are reserved for a few hours of fellowship with friends but there’s always a few hours of homework to do before classes on Tuesday.

Check back on Tuesday for another Library School Day in the Life!

Big News!

So you know that big news that I promised last week?


Here it is…….(insert drumroll here)…..


I’m a Her Campus Study Abroad Blogger!


The gig is pretty sweet. Basically I get to blog about my life over on a major site EVERY WEEK.

How awesome is that?!


Here’s the link to my first article:


Go read it and enjoy, k?




That time again–Spring internship season

As of this morning my winternships with Rock Your Genius and Wedding Scene Investigators have ended and I learned so much! Running an editorial calendar for WSI by scheduling articles from HARO inquiries is really difficult and I’m glad to have a little experience under my belt. The Imua Campaign for RYG is going to be amazing and I’m just sorry I don’t have more time to spend with such a great company.


With a little bit of overlap, I have begun my spring internships with Dormify and Pretty Young Professional. I get to explore both sides of the editorial process. As a Style Advisor with Dormify I will write articles for their blog twice a month (go see my first article), while as an editorial intern with PYP I will edit the work of others! I always get a rush at the beginning of a new internship; there is so much to learn and explore with each opportunity! Unfortunately, the beginning of one internship usually coincides with the application deadlines for the next season. An intern’s work is never done!

Just a reminder: I am updating my 2011 Reading list weekly with what I’ve read and why you should read it too.


Winter Internships

Things have been so crazy here in Exeter with classes winding down and trying to plan everything for next semester that I forgot to share my new internships with you! Determined as ever to not let my time here be a waste career-wise, I have dutifully done internships with College Lifestyles (TM) and Kelly Olin Coaching and Training (See my post about them here) during the fall semester. In applying for internships for the spring semester I stumbled across quite a few winter internships.

A fairly new thing in the internship world, especially for virtual opportunities, winter internships allow students to have a taster session at a company before committing to them long-term (a.k.a. for a full semester). I applied for quite a few winter opportunities and after interviewing with more than five I decided to volunteer my time to Rock Your Genius and Wedding Scene Investigators (headed by the same person) as well as Her Campus Magazine.

At RYG, I am a research and planning intern. We are currently gathering contributors for the year-long Imua campaign:

The “Moving Parts”

There will be several main “moving parts” to Rock Your Genius in 2011, and over the course of the year, there will be over 100 workshops and events designed to help you “rock” your unique “genius” and live the life you’ve always wanted.

  • The Workshops – The Imua Series workshops will consist of programs from life-by-design experts who are not only walking their talk, but who can also help you create a life and business by design.
  • The Imua Tour – In addition to the workshops, we will have a total of eight in-person events over the course of 2011 that will make up The Imua Tour and that will help you live your own life of purpose and passion.
  • The Blog – Last, but certainly not least, follow along with The Imua Blog over the course of the coming year, as guest experts and I share insight and tips for staying in tune with your own unique genius and for pursuing a life only you can lead.

Within each of these component parts, we’ll be concentrating on three core categories: work, life, and self.  The goal is, over the course of 2011, for you to begin moving each of these areas in the direction of your dreams.

At WSI, I am an editorial intern and gather stories for publication on the website. I love seeing this side of the publishing industry and it has been the perfect continuation of my time as an editorial intern with College Lifestyles. While I loved writing at CL, the experience of editing someone else’s work and of manipulating the story so that it fits with the values and the style of the website has been great practice and I think will serve me well in the future.

Though it may be the least glamorous of the bunch, my internship with Her Campus is the one where I get to play and have a little fun. Serving as an Administrative/HR intern I create email accounts for new team members, get them the correct permissions on the website and manage team member subscriptions to newsletters. As someone who loves playing around on the computer this has been a dream internship, showing me yet another side of online publishing and allowing me to go (truly) behind the scenes.

Managing these internships while keeping up with schoolwork, my volunteer position in the archives at the Old Library, and my social media/research internship with Kelly Olin is certainly a balancing act but I love knowing that I am doing something useful with my free time and preparing myself for the rough job market I will be entering in a few years.