[Series] So What Do You Do? Transportation Research Center Library Internship

22/01/2013 § 4 Comments

Road surfacing

Bergkamp M1 micro surfacing paver and mobile support unit

This post is part of a new series called “So What Do You Do?” in which LIS students talk about their experiences as interns. We want to showcase the wide range of things people are doing in the world of library and information science.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Paul Lai, and I am a second-year library science student with interests in scholarly communications and academic libraries. I applied for this internship at a transportation research center because I am interested in working as a librarian in a university research center or as an embedded librarian in another academic context. I have also previously interned at a small academic library doing general reference and circulation work as well as at a large public library’s preservation department helping research availability of older books and creating polyester sleeves for early twentieth-century American sheet music.

So what do you do?

I am the library intern at the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at the University of Minnesota. CTS is an active research center that manages faculty and Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) research projects. CTS publishes technical reports for this research along with other transportation-related materials for both the research and practitioner communities. I work primarily with the publications team to make materials available and findable online as well as with ready reference questions and more in-depth literature search help. The center does not have a physical library space (aside from a couple of bookcases at the end of a hallway), but it does have an extensive list of resources on its Library Services page.
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Perceptions of a Very Small Public

22/10/2012 § 15 Comments

I am a librarian who serves a population of 24. Perhaps the count is 32 if one includes faculty and staff of Florida State University International Programs Study Center in Florence, Italy. The library, as the previous Student Supervising Librarian noted last year, is almost as antiquated as the 15th century building that holds it. Nothing gives me more pleasure than unlocking wood medallioned doors with skeleton keys and opening thick shutters to let the sun shine onto parquet floors and the shelves of a 7,000 volume collection.

Library Doors

After Topher’s excellent post on librarian perception I have been thinking more and more of the perception of the library here. The history, with all of it’s frescoed charm, is not enough to protect the library from running into a 21st century identity crisis. I think it is a problem that many libraries, even the most modern of structures and collections, that serve populations thousands of times our size, are also facing:

What is our point and purpose in this digital age?

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