First came the iSchool whispers: Did you hear about the girl who got an internship with Marvel? The image of a superhero librarian came to mind. Surrounded by uncatalogued comics, our hero diligently set to work – resting only to aid an experimental theatre company in New York City’s East Village. Meet Louisa Lebwohl.
Q: Please take a moment to introduce yourself.
I’m currently in my third term in the iSchool’s online MSLIS program. I began the program in July 2017, and will be finishing in December of this year.
Q: Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did?
I came to librarianship via my undergraduate degree in public history. Through my study of United States history, I became interested in how people access and engage with history, then with information more broadly. This led me towards librarianship and the public humanities, and after graduating I worked in a few different museums, archives, libraries, and other cultural institutions.
After working for six months in a public library, I knew [with] confidence that this was the work I wanted to do for the foreseeable future. My initial plan was to enroll in a full-time campus-based master’s, but after some thinking and some research I began leaning toward Syracuse’s online program. This turned out to be a great choice for me, and I’ve loved the program so far.
After living for seven years (college and a few years afterward) in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts then the Hudson Valley of New York, I wanted a change and began thinking about moving to New York City. I was at a point in my master’s program and my career that it felt reasonable to try something new, both in terms of work and in terms of lifestyle/surroundings. Luckily, being in the online program, this was possible.
Q: Tell me about your internships.
I began applying to library internships in NYC, figuring this would be a good way to transition into NYC and a convenient time to complete my internship for the program.
I ended up getting two part-time internship offers, from Marvel Entertainment and La MaMa Experimental Theatre Company, and was able to accept both of them. I’m at La MaMa three days a week and at Marvel two days a week. Both internships were initially January through May, but both have been extended through August.
Q: Will the internships help satisfy your graduation requirements?
This internship will satisfy my internship requirement of 150 hours, though I’m actually doing far more than this required amount.
Q: What is your role? What is a typical day like at your internships?
I’m the library intern at Marvel, where my work is to manage the internal library for the company. Marvel has been publishing comics for almost seventy years; our collection consists mostly of comics and other books from the 1970s onward, but there are some earlier materials.
The role of the library is to support the work of Marvel staff as they need to reference previously published materials as they’re putting together new publications. My primary responsibility is to retrieve books for staff as requested, but the work also involves maintaining the organization of the library and cataloging new books. Marvel publishes new books every week, so the library is continuously receiving new comics, paperbacks, hardcovers, and other types of books.
Full disclosure: I don’t know a lot about Marvel comics, or comics in general. This is one of the many reasons why I was interested in this library internship. I’m a curious person, so part of what I love most about working in libraries is the opportunity to learn about new things on a daily basis. I was also interested in working in a different setting than I’m used to, and in getting experience with cataloging, which I hadn’t done much of before.
Want to read more about cool opportunities in librarianship? Below are more articles articles and interviews about librarianship from our LIS faculty, students and alumni. You can also explore the Librarianship InfoSpace tag.