Summer in the Public Library

This summer I interned at one the Wake County Public Libraries. I highly recommend their internship program to any library school students (or prospective students) with an interest in public libraries. You should check out their internship page right now. Seriously. Do it.

My internship was in adult services.  I’m grateful for my experience in retail; I was a little surprised at how much working the reference desk in a library is like working the customer service desk at Barnes & Noble:

  • Signing people up for library cards rather than rewards cards
  • Ordering books that aren’t currently on the shelves
  • Letting people know when we’ll get the next book in their favorite series
  • Figuring out what someone wants when they ask for “that book by that guy with the dog on the cover” or – my favorite – “39 Shades of Grey” (This wasn’t hard to decipher, but it was difficult to convince the patron that Fifty Shades of Grey was the book she wanted.)

The biggest surprise: there were more complaints about the large bushes by the library entrance than about any books on the shelves.

The library entrance with the bushes circled

The offending bushes

Overall it was a great experience, and it confirmed that I work best in a public library setting.


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