During a virtual internship at the San Mateo County Library in California, student Jessica Chung participated in a wide variety of learning experiences, from evaluating user-generated metadata to increasing the library’s online presence through social media articles and blog posts.
Chung helped promote library materials, services and events by writing original articles and editing blog posts from other contributors.
“I was especially proud of the articles I wrote to promote Tricycle Music Fest West,” she said. Her interviews with Alison Faith Levy, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band and other musicians are posted on the San Mateo County Library website.
Chung also enhanced the library’s internal training program. She offered to create Jing screencasts to train new employees and interns on entering and editing blog posts in Drupal.
“The screencast idea was met with enthusiasm from my supervisor and other library staff,” Chung said. “I was able to plan and record two screencasts during my internship.”
“This internship appealed to me because it involved writing, and I enjoy writing and editing,” said Chung, who majored in English in her undergraduate studies. “I also liked that the site supervisor was open to my ideas for tasks or projects.” The flexibility that comes with a virtual internship also drew Chung to the opportunity.
She said the benefits she gained from the internship also included experience using the Drupal content management system, learning to work and communicate virtually with colleagues, and gaining insight regarding how public libraries provide early literacy programming.
Chung advises students who are considering an internship to start investigating opportunities early. “If you aren't sure that a site is currently offering an internship, try contacting them anyway and explain your interest,” she said. “I suggest doing this sooner rather than later in case the contact person at the site needs time to get back to you.”
In addition to her virtual internship, Chung is expanding her experience and growing her professional network by volunteering at the public library in Sunnyvale, California, where she currently lives.
While thinking about returning to school for a master’s degree, Chung became interested in library and information science because she likes helping others, using technology, and doing research. She expects to complete the MLIS program in spring 2014. After graduation, she hopes to find a position in either a public library or another information organization, such as a museum or archive.
“In LIBR 287 Information Literacy with Dr. Michelle Simmons, one of our assignments was to make an instructional screencast incorporating the methods we had read about in class. This assignment led to me propose the screencast training to my internship site supervisor, giving my course work a direct, practical application in my internship.”
“I was a peer mentor this semester [fall 2013] in LIBR 298 Special Studies, and one of my fellow classmates, Sarah Henriksson, shared the American Library Association’s resource for Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. This introduced me to a lot of different technology programs and websites.”