Having been with the Dewitt-Jamesville Community Library in Dewitt, NY for just over the equivalent of a full week, I feel I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity.

Already in a full time job, I am working part time and have about 40 hours logged as of this writing.

The library’s mission is to, “provide quality library service for the residents of DeWitt, Jamesville, and surrounding areas.” However, its vision is more revealing and from initial observation seems well on its way of being realized:

The DeWitt Community Library will be an essential asset to the DeWitt and Jamesville communities and serve as a center of community life. The Library will provide and promote free access to high quality resources to meet the information, educational, and cultural needs of the community.

First Impressions

One of my first observations is the emphasis is on “high quality” for both resources and services. The new facility also made a great first impression. You could tell the existing staff takes pride in their environment and care is taken to maintain the clean and professional nature of the library.

I will be working in three specific areas,

  • First learning about the back office administration of the library from direct interaction with the director
  • Second, spending time learning first hand circulation and reference skills
  • Third, developing a new adult program for the library and promoting that to the library’s community.

Looking back at the first week or so of this internship reminds me a lot of starting out as a new employee at any one of the positions I’ve held in the past. There are a lot of things to try and take in all at once. Not only beginning to understand the scope and details of my own initial tasks, but the numerous names and responsibilities of a lot of the co-workers, especially those that I will need to work closely with in order to fulfill my agreement and deliverables.

Learning from the Professionals

I feel very fortunate to have regular scheduled access to the director. I have a unique privilege to gain such valuable and important back office operations insight from an experienced source.

No time was wasted, either. After the initial orientation we spent the majority of that first morning in conversation, getting more background on the particulars of this library’s history and current funding sources.

Future sessions will look at the budget details, project planning, organizational structure – including the Board of Directors and other administrative processes necessary for the operation of the library.

Technically, I’ve had my first live sit down at a reference desk and worked with the Polaris application completing patron check-ins and check-outs and even issuing a library card. Since I started this internship without any real library experience, this is a valuable part of the experience I will gain here.

The Adult program is in the proposal stage. Once we determine it is viable and get the green light to move forward, I hope to write more about that in the next article.