Student Samantha Godbey Provides Reference Services During Virtual Internship

Godbey and her internship site supervisor Tina Peterson partnered with SJSU faculty to embed personalized virtual library assistance into four distance education courses during the Spring 2011 semester. Godbey helped undergraduate health science students navigate the D2L learning management system and learn to use King Library’s health sciences resources, including major databases like PubMed, the Trip Database, the Cochrane Library, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. She also created a library resource guide on health care reform and worked with graduate students in an occupational therapy course.

“I quickly became interested in the embedded librarian internship opportunity for a number of reasons,” said Godbey, who learned about the position through the SJSU SLIS Internship Database. “First, it included elements of information literacy instruction. Secondly, the instruction would take place in an online format, which would provide me with a distinctly different experience from my past work as a high school English teacher. And as I read more about embedded librarianship, I realized that this was a new trend in academic libraries, and I felt fortunate to have the opportunity to explore this particular way of reaching students.”

The virtual internship was a perfect fit for Godbey, who wanted to develop her reference and instruction skills in an academic setting while also taking care of her 10-month-old daughter. Godbey collaborated with her internship site supervisor to support student learning outcomes using a variety of virtual communication technologies, including Skype, email, Google Docs, and RefWorks.

Godbey found her weekly Skype meetings with her site supervisor especially helpful, and recommends this as an option for students considering virtual internships. “It allowed us to communicate face-to-face and in real time,” she explained. “We were able to further our working relationship, as it made the exchange of ideas more personal than might be achieved if exclusively carried out via email.”

Since the embedded librarian position was an experimental model for SJSU’s distance education courses, Godbey also worked to gather feedback on which methods of instruction were most effective. She created and distributed an online survey that was posted to the D2L course sites, and then shared her experiences with colleagues during one of King Library’s Brown Bag Lunch presentations.

Godbey, who holds a Master’s degree in Education, began her SLIS studies in Spring 2009. In addition to pursuing her MLIS, she also completed fieldwork in two different school libraries during the Fall 2011 semester as part of her teacher librarian credential requirements. Godbey is interested in applying her theoretical and practical teaching knowledge in either a school or academic library.

Godbey plans to graduate from SJSU SLIS in Spring 2012, and hopes to use skills from her virtual internship experience in an academic library residency program.