Day One: Library High School Interns 2018

This summer marks the second year of the Library’s High School Internship program, wherein students from central Virginia join the Library for short-term paid internships in the UVA Library. Students from all backgrounds and of all abilities are encouraged to apply.

What follows is one of a series of daily blog posts that interns compose during their time at the Library. Are you a student (or parent) and want to know more about summer Library internships? Ask your guidance counselor or contact Phylissa Mitchell, Director of Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity, UVA Library, at

Tuesday June 12, 2018

What do you hope to learn during this internship? What surprised you the most about your first day at the UVA Library and why?

Today was really interesting. I learned that librarians are more than just the people who stand behind desks and check out books. People who work in librarians are, for the most part, jacks of all trades. It really surprised me that they are more than meets the eye. Librarians know how to fix computers, they’re organizers, they’re bosses, and most importantly they’re knowledgeable. Librarians and co are very versed in what they do and to be honest I always thought they were just people who just loved books. All of what I said really me by surprise and I hope to be able to learn how to use a library and its resources to the fullest.


Today was the first day that I did hands on work relating directly to the library. First, I worked on cataloging with Jean. Cataloging has an ultimate purpose of making sure that books are claimed as property of UVA. The second part of my morning was spent with Tony, who is a supervisor in the stacks/sorting department. During this time, I was able to spend time with the books, and learned how to sort them using a special method that helps locate the books. It was a little hard to understand because there were so many different components to the sorting, but soon enough I was able to get the hang of it. It was definitely eye opening. I got to experience what goes on beyond just checking out books — the “behind the scenes” process of things.


I hope to learn more about the behind the scenes work that the library does. How they keep the books in good condition, how their system works, how they process books, etc. I was surprised to know that the Alderman library building was going to be renovated shortly. I didn’t think that it needed it. Another thing that I found surprising was the fact that one, they still have the original card system. And two, that they still use that system to a certain extent.


I hope to broaden my knowledge with computers for future references. I think this will really be beneficial for the major I am going to pursue in college. What surprised me the most when I got to look around was all of the components that it takes to run a library. You have so much going on behind the scenes that you would never think of at the front desk. I’m looking forward for the days to come so I can learn more.


During this internship, I hope to learn in depth details regarding the nitty gritty aspects of being a librarian or someone who works in a library. I want to look into all of the different job opportunities related directly to maintaining an efficient library and make connections between reality and what I had been originally expected the results to look like. Ultimately, I look forward to familiarizing myself with a field that I may not have otherwise learned much about and being more aware of the impact that libraries have on our lives and everyday activities. It’s possible I may remain fairly uninterested in libraries in general, but I do believe having an understanding, appreciation, and experience outside of my comfort zone helps build skill and character, preparing me for my next chapter of life.

Today, I was surprised to learn how much libraries actually do in relation to the internet and online information. It makes sense once I think about it, but I guess I just never made the connection. I am interested to know how libraries interact with each other when preparing online information.



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