This reflection was written by Cameran Kershner ’22, who joined the UConn Library as a student employee in the Collections Strategy department and as an intern in Archives & Special Collections. Cameran will pursue graduate work in library and information science at the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s School of Information Sciences this fall.
In pursuance of my future career goals, this year I decided to seek out work experience in UConn’s very own Homer Babbidge Library as well as an internship in the Archives & Special Collections. At Homer Babbidge, I was hired as a collections assistant where most of my work was done with the Hathi Trust. The primary goal of the partnership was to take physical copies of books that we have here in the library and compare them page by page to the matching online scans in the Hathi Trust database. While it might seem like tedious work, the point of this job being done is to assure researchers and students that they are able to have the best quality materials available to them. As for my internship, I spent months pulling materials stored in our Archives to compile a research guide filled with sources about the Civil Rights Movement and the student activism surrounding this issue.
Both experiences have familiarized me with the inner workings of library and archive systems such as how to read the categorization classifications for pulling materials and how to conduct thorough research. Since I primarily did most of my work individually, I have also learned how to manage myself as well as grow confident in my ability to problem solve. One of the most important skills I believe I learned was how to communicate effectively. In my internship I was constantly scheduling meetings to track my progress and reaching out to other professionals to ask for research suggestions. This taught me just how integral communication is to run a library efficiently.
My interest in Library Sciences came about accidentally, as I was just doing a bit of research into the qualifications needed for law librarianship. Once I began to read into what it consisted of and just how many avenues could be opened to me by pursuing this degree, I grew quite passionate about it. The specific area that I hope to focus on is academic and public librarianship, as I feel strongly about working with people as much as possible. I think this is what I like best about both of my experiences – the ability it has to help people. I was able to provide scholars and students alike with the means to learn all while making it easier for them to do so. Knowledge is power, and the knowledge gained from accessing these resources could lead to new research discoveries and breakthroughs that help us understand the world around us better.
What makes the world of library sciences so special to me is that no matter what profession you choose within its sphere, you are giving people access to unlimited information. We can use the materials the archives and libraries provide us to learn about the past, supply context to the present, and change the future.