So I meant to have this post finished and up, like, three weeks ago. But it was still summer and I procrastinated. So sue me.
Anyway. In case you missed it, I spent the summer working in the library at Interlochen Arts Camp, taking weekend trips to wineries and generally having a fantastic time. Here are the highlights.
The Bonisteel Library houses the Fennel Music Library and the Seabury Academic Library. I worked in the Academic library. I worked the reference/circ desk, helped to plan and execute programs, and had some professional projects to complete over the course of the summer as well. I really enjoyed my boss, who treated us like professionals and was always encouraging and helpful. She went out of her way to try to give us things to do that interested us and to help us get as much out of the summer as we could. In a world where interns tend to be treated like human coffee delivery services, I really appreciated this.
A few of my favorite tasks include:
The Book Cart
Seriously I loved doing book cart. It made the days go faster and was a chance to be outside for a while. It was so much fun to see kids so excited about books. They were totally adorable and never failed to brighten up my day when I saw them running over to look at books. It was super fun for me to remember all the books I had loved when I was young and talk to a whole new group of kids who were discovering them for the first time.
It may sound strange, but I really liked my weeding project. I don’t know when else I would have gotten the chance to go through to process of weeding books out of the collection. I wrote about it more here and here. It was good for me to clarify my own views about the balance of practice and theory.
The Visual Arts section, along with the Plays, Poetry and Short Stories had recently been re-classified and shelved by word instead of by Dewey Decimal number. Because patrons generally want to browse these section rather than find a specific book, shelving by word makes that easier. It was fascinating to think about the process of coming up with a classification system, the intricacies and the difficulty making it easily usable for both the patron and the librarian. Once the system is in place, then you need signing to make it obvious where things are, another consideration I had never really thought of. Working with books in these sections brought a perfect blend of theory and practice. I may do my final capstone project on Word Classification as a result.
I made a Lib Guide on Government Documents. I haven’t done a whole lot with Gov Docs, so it was really interesting to think about what resources high schoolers would need. My favorite part was including the names and links of all the local, state and national representatives from that area. I realized that I had no idea who my own representatives were. (Something I quickly rectified) How many times do we just randomly choose a name on a ballot? Or not vote because we don’t know any of the names? It’s important to remember that these people make a lot of important decisions that more directly affect our day to day lives than the grand national policy changes. Especially as it was an election year, this is really important and it helped inspire me to be proactive. Also doing Lib Guides is good practice, since librarians do that quite a bit.
I really enjoy sitting at the reference desk. I like talking to the kids. I like seeing what they are reading and talking to them about it. My “to read” list blew up this summer, because I had so many people return books and say “You Have To Read This!” I liked finding Latin church text for composition majors to set. I like talking to the international students about where they are from and the music they like from their home country. I had one boy who came and talked to me about Russian music and composers at least once a week. I like joking around with the Orchestra kids about how Mahler wrote too much in his music and insisted on doing it in German. I liked being in a place where we all spoke the same artsy languages and didn’t have to qualify every nerdily artsy statement. I liked the look of amazement on one boy’s face when I knew off the top of my head every musical Sondheim had written (He was looking for libretti which are shelved by author rather than composer) followed by a 20 minute debate about whether “Sunday in the Park with George” was better than “Into the Woods.” For a few short weeks we all made art together.
Of course it wasn’t all work and no play. I made some great friends and had some great times with the other librarians. We were all music people, so we could geek out about Mahler and complain about Beethoven, but we are primarily librarians and so we don’t take ourselves too seriously. It was fun to hear about other people’s programs and specializations and we did a lot of nerding out about library things. We spent a lot of time just hanging around, watching Robin Williams’ Stand up, Dance Academy, Aladdin and Much Ado About Nothing. We spent a lot of time talking about books. Being librarians, wanting to just spend the afternoon alone reading was a totally acceptable pastime. We spent some time at the beach, and I got sunburned as usual. We spent most Saturday evenings at the local bar drinking Oberon (on tap!). And went on some great wine tastings. I’m brought home some cherry wine to drink later as I think fondly about rocking out to 80’s music in Interlochen, MI, driving to Meijer or the hat shop with two great friends.
Oh, and did I mention that every day I ate my meals while looking at this:
And hung out with friends next to this:
More than anything, this summer was a reminder to me that I am doing what I want to do with my life. It was a reminder of why music has been such a huge part of my life for so much of my life. I got to cry listening to Mahler and laugh watching the Musical. Away from the rest of the world for a few short weeks I remembered why I started dancing and singing and acting. I remembered why I went to college for music in the first place. Surrounded by fellow young librarians, I remembered that I love being a librarian and I need to stop stressing out. I got to debate collection policies, discuss the future of e-books and deliberate over classification systems.
Now I’m back. Refreshed, Revitalized and Ready to go.
Bring it on 2nd year! Let’s do this!