Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

11.20.2013

If your first thoughts of an internship at Roesch Library draw visions of cataloging books and ho-hum desk work, believe me when I say you’re wrong. As a senior year Psychology major, I have been fortunate in getting some fascinating work experiences under my belt. From conducting research experiments in Cognitive Psychology labs here at UD, to a Market-Research internship this past summer in the heart of Chicago, my time as a Research and Instruction Intern this past semester at Roesch Library has been no exception. Not only have I been able to gain a unique understanding and relationship with one of UD’s most valuable resources, but I have also obtained research experience that will be hugely beneficial in my goals of graduate study.

In one semester I have learned more about the benefits of Roesch Library than I have in the past three years combined. Daily interaction with Library staff members has opened my eyes to their wealth of knowledge, experience, and desire to help. I think back on how many research papers or projects in which I could have benefitted from a single trip to the Information or Research Help desk. As a student working the information desk, I got an inside look at the types of questions being asked of librarians. From agitation with unresponsive printers, to complicated research questions, I was continually surprised at the range of expertise required of our librarians. If there is a piece of advice I can give to students here at UD, it is to utilize Roesch Library and all of its components. From the staff to the database systems, do not take for granted the wonderful resources that UD has created specifically for its students.

Much of my internship has revolved around gaining a familiarity with the library from the inside out. Apart from working the Information Desk and answering student questions, I have observed Instruction courses hosted by Librarians to students in classes writing research papers, transcribed and analyzed hundreds of pieces of data from the Write Place tutoring center, and even purchased a collection of fiction books. These types of opportunities are not only rare for a student worker, but hugely beneficial for a Psychology major hoping to gain research experience.

One of the coolest things about being an intern here has been the ability to find and work on projects specific to my personal interests. For example, I hope to pursue a Cognitive Psychology program in graduate school, focusing on Human Factors research and the application of Cognitive research to technology. This interest led to an extremely unique opportunity in which I was able to join the Library research team as they developed usability studies for the Library’s existing database system. I was unaware this type of research and expert team even existed at the library, further confirming a growing suspicion that Roesch Library has far more to offer than I had been giving it credit for.

I hope students might look at my experience as the Roesch Library Research and Instruction intern as evidence that the library has much more to offer than just a quiet place to study. Applying for this internship, I admittedly had fewer expectations about the many benefits I will be leaving with. Apart from the important research and work experience, I have gained an understanding of the behind-the-scenes work and workers that make Roesch Library possible. From the moment I arrived, the library staff has made me feel like I was not only part of their workplace, but a part of their team. Though I will be sad to leave at the end of the semester, I am so grateful for the relationships and experiences I have gained here at Roesch Library, and am happy to pass on this opportunity to another fortunate student.

- Lauren Pytel ‘14, Roesch Library Research & Instruction Intern