My Internship in a Nutshell: Reflecting on my First Year as a Reference and Instruction Intern

When reflecting on my first year as a reference and instruction intern, I’m both grateful and surprised by how much I’ve learned. I started this position knowing that I was both interested in digital humanities and wanted to learn more about the library (since it’s one of my favorite places on campus), but I had no previous knowledge about reference librarianship. Through both reference chat training and discussions on weekly readings, not only was I able to learn about this career path, but I gained an understanding of how to conduct myself in a professional manner.

The rest of this post will focus on some of the highlights from this internship.

Throughout the term, we’ve looked at numerous readings in relation to reference work, but one of my favorite discussions was about the “Mapping Whiteness at the Reference Desk” reading, in which we talked about the experience of librarians of color and how to fight against frequent microaggressions at the reference desk. Not only did this reading allow me to integrate concepts I’ve learned from other classes at Carleton, but it touched on a topic that needs to be actively addressed within the library. From creating a video for open access week to mapping out our professional careers, each term was centered around various projects, but one of my favorites was learning how to revise and create LibGuides. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the process, but it was really fun and felt like a strange combination of website design and writing a syllabus. I absolutely loved being able to organize information in a way that was accessible for other students and helped me think more about the research process. My other favorite part of this internship has been the discussions with the other librarians throughout spring term, in which we’ve been able to learn about the roles of different departments. I can’t wait to continue this position next year and finally be able to help patrons in person!