Photo of VB on the CP street

Written by on March 18, 2013

Journey into Libraryland: Top 10 things I learned from my Kennedy Library internship

Victoria Billings is the communications and public programs intern at Kennedy Library. ‘Journey into library land’ is a series about what she’s learned creating media for Cal Poly’s university library.

The quarter is almost over, and so is my internship with Kennedy Library, meaning it’s about time to write up everything I’ve learned as the communications and public programs intern. And what better way to do it than my new favorite: numbered lists! So here it is, the story of my quarter internship at Kennedy, in the form of the top 10 things I’ve learned while working here:

10. Take some shiny pictures! This one may sound silly, but looking back at my body of work, gosh has my photography gotten fancy. I’ve always loved taking photos, but I got pretty dang snazzy in the last 10 weeks, using auto-focus and different shutter speeds, etc. to achieve specific effects.

9. It can always be better. Sometimes I rush through things. Sometimes I like to say, “Good enough,” and be done with it. When I worked at the newspaper, sometimes we just didn’t have time to invest two weeks into a project. Karen, though, wouldn’t let me say, “Good enough,” and be done with a project. More than once she watched a video I thought was done and told me to keep editing. Which, to her credit, made even better videos, even if it tried my (very short) patience.

8. Every day at the library is a learning experience. If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you know this. I learned about E. coli, entrepreneurship, California mission music, film editing and keeping a planner, to name a few. Being part of a learning institution, of course Kennedy Library would encourage education wherever it can be found, and that’s a big part of what I love about the job.

7. Be organized! Sure, it doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m really starting to understand how important this is, especially in an office. When I’m not paying attention, I miss meetings, lose forms. Thankfully, with Karen’s help, I’ve been working at scheduling everything out to the minute, and though it feels like getting my teeth pulled, I haven’t missed any more meetings.

6. When you’re excited about what you’re doing, other people will be too. Approaching a couple of students on the couch for a blog post on rainy days, I explained the story and asked if I could take their photos. They immediately agreed, and then happily started giving me ideas for other nice things to write about Kennedy Library. I’m surrounded by people who are excited about working here, and students who are excited about learning here, and it feels awesome.

5. Communicate communicate communicate. When you don’t, people get lost, they miss each other in transit, and time is wasted walking around trying to find each other. Communication is key.

4. Take it one project at a time. When event planning and video editing and photography and blogging get to be too much, Karen reminds me to wrap up each project before moving on to the next one, to keep things from getting out of control.

3. It’s okay to be yourself. Sure, I need to improve my organization, but Karen has also helped me improve my writing voice, allowing me to go beyond the subject-verb-object objective style I’d learned and put my own attitude into pieces I’ve written for Kennedy Library. She appreciates my enthusiasm and pizazz and it feels great to thrive in a place where I can make bad puns and use slang and exclamation points excessively.

2. Kennedy cares. Don’t groan. It’s cheesy, I know. But between Patrick Kammermeyer, Karen Lauritsen, the college librarians and all the other stellar staff members, I have gotten so much support and encouragement (and candy) from everyone at the library this quarter. They’ve given me advice on business, school, my future, everything. And I’m so grateful for every single person’s supportive attitude. Every day I see library employees helping students, myself included, and it really warms my heart.

1. Ask. It takes a lot to admit you don’t know what you’re doing, but as an intern, I was able to sacrifice my pride a little bit and ask for help when I needed it. And you know what? I learned more than if I’d struggled through. It’s not that hard, it’s relatively painless, and the result is that I’m more confident in my knowledge and skills now.

This is the end of my internship, but it’s certainly not the last of me. I’ll still be around next quarter, with my camera and a little pad of photo release forms. If you see me around, say hi! I’ll probably be working on some big project. Who knows? Maybe I’ll take your picture for a blog post.

For some of those cool photos, check out our Flickr.
My rainy day blog post is here.

Read more on cal poly, internship, journalism internship, Journey into Libraryland, kennedy library, learn by doing, Robert E. Kennedy Library, san luis obispo, student assistant, top ten, and victoria billings.

3 comments on “Journey into Libraryland: Top 10 things I learned from my Kennedy Library internship
  1. Karen says:

    Vicki, I’ve learned from you, too! Working with you is a great pleasure and I’m so glad we have another quarter together.

    Also, don’t forget to begin investing in your retirement early because of the magic of compound interest (#kennedycares)!

  2. Jordan says:

    Ah! This brought years to my eyes! I learned so many of the things you listed through Karen too and it makes me miss the library and its staff that much more! So glad your experience was as amazing as mine was, and I hope the next person to fill that spot will come to know how good they have it with the people they work with. 🙂

  3. Karen Lauritsen says:

    Hi, Jordan! Thanks for staying in touch and saying such nice things. We still miss you.

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