Internships: Public Library
Intern: Abby Kopp, Senior, English
Workplace Supervisor: Traci Juhala, Bismark Public Library
Faculty Supervisor: Joe Sutliff Sanders, Associate Professor, English
Course: ENGL 495 English Internship (External)
Semester: Summer 2015
Abby completed her internship in her hometown Bismarck, ND with the Bismarck Public Library in summer 2015. Abby found the internship by emailing the ten or so university and public libraries in the Bismarck area and asking if they had any positions available or needed help and assistance in any areas. The Bismarck Public Library responded, interviewed Abby, and hired her to work in the Youth Services division. In her position, Abby worked as a Children’s Reference Desk librarian, working on advising readers, designing brochures, and helping out different programs. Abby also headed the Teen division, designing, developing, promoting, and running programs such as a scavenger hunt, Jeopardy games, and a videogame tournament. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun.
Abby said the experience confirmed her desire to work as a librarian. It allowed her to participate in behind-the-scenes work that she wouldn’t be able to get from class work. The internship was not without learning curves, but it made Abby more confident in asking questions and seeking help in order to succeed. She is currently applying for graduate school in library sciences.
Abby cannot say enough about the supervisor and colleagues she worked with during the internship, especially her direct supervisor Traci and the Children’s Programmer Jana. They “opened up their arms to me… treated me as if I belonged there… did so much to help me with my future… went above and beyond to help me succeed.” Both Traci and Jana are invaluable professional resources for Abby as she works toward her librarian career. This feeling of appreciation is certainly mutual. As Traci said, "We were thrilled to have Abby intern with us this summer. She was a tremendous help, and she brought new, fresh ideas to the mix. Because we were in a holding pattern for hiring Teen Services staff, we were peering ahead to the summer months with some trepidation. We truly don't know how we would have offered a full slate of youth programming without her.”
Abby emphasized that although internships may not be required of English students, they are tremendously important to help students explore, understand, and narrow down their career choices. As Abby said, the idea of graduating college and trying to become a professional yet with essentially very little professional experience is scary. But rather than hiding behind this fear, Abby suggested that students be empowered by it and take initiative to address the fear and gain the experience they need. In her words, we “have nothing to lose.”