05/05/2013 1 Comment
As the concluding class of my Master of Science in Library and Information Science, I have to complete an internship. I want to tell a bit of the story of setting up this internship, and the hardship it has caused. But first, I want to talk about the blog.
Adding an internship to a full-time job makes it very hard to find time to blog. I am doing the best I can just to keep up my three posts a week on Comparative Geeks. I want to write some fiction, and I keep finding excuses, and the internship is really the biggest one yet. And all of this exists as a priority before writing on this blog. I have a lot of posts I want to post here, thoughts and ideas. My experiment I left hanging, though I think I am going to wait a month this time, unlike the week I waited last time. So expect more to come there.
And I’ve turned to re-blogging to create content here. Except, I don’t think anyone is actually reading them, and I’m not seeing clicks through to Comparative Geeks, either. So is re-blogging serving a purpose? Creating content for the sole purpose of there being content here?
So I plan on blogging when I have something to say here, when I have the time, and desire. I have been wanting to write about my challenges with my internship, so let’s do that!
Internship with a Full Time Job
So, I have started looking for an internship over a year ago. At that point, I had only two classes worth of credits left to go: an elective, which ended up being my Blogging for Information Professionals course (which led into the existence of this blog). So, in the last year, the only course I have taken was the blogging course – the internship officially has yet to come, this summer.
During this time, I was also a manager at a bank. So I was putting much of what I had learned, about managing and motivation, into practice. I had major hiring problems during this time, as well, and had some majorly stressful times, along with a lot of training to do once I got people hired. And trying to find an internship I could do around my 50+ hour a week job just did not seem feasible. Many of the very few libraries in town would also only do paid internships, and I felt like if I were being paid, I would want to work with their needs, for schedule and such. Which did not make it easier – even if someone had had the money to pay me.
During this time, I also became a board member of a non-profit board – again, putting much of what I’ve learned through Syracuse, about fundraising, non-profit budgets, organizational change, into practice. Then, I got elected president of the board. So I have a great deal of responsibilities, during what is turning into a pivotal year for my organization, and was already having to find time around work to make it to board meetings, and other meetings and presentations I have been giving as president.
So, the fun irony so far is that, after I finally found an internship and got it all sorted out, I left my job and all of the job concerns changed.
Internship without a Library
So, since I could not find an in-the-library internship to do around my work schedule, I had to find one I could do on my own time. This involved finding a project that needed doing, but that I could potentially do from home. Meanwhile, I would need a librarian involved, and all sorts of things to make it legit.
So, you know, after a year plus of looking, something was bound to show up, right? The Treadwell Society (treadwellsociety.com) had a start of some information, things that had been collected by private individuals for use in informational projects or books. Boxes of photocopies and such. Okay, so information that needs to be catalogued, needs metadata, more that needs scanning, all of it to end up digital and on a newly designed Treadwell Society website.
The great part about this was it was information I could bring into my home and work on there. I just needed… well, librarians involved, for a start, and then a database to put things into. But it was a start.
Internship without Timeframes… except I do want to graduate someday…
Once I had the Treadwell Society, I needed librarians. I reached out first to some university librarians I knew, right as winter break was starting. That was a mistake. Then, because I was potentially asking for free assistance, I did not want to impose or pressure, so I let the email stand for way too long, waiting for a reply.
Yes, I fully recognize that I, myself, am likely the largest hurdle to overcome for this internship to become a reality. I am not getting to do this at all in a traditional way, or with much resource for help. I have never gotten a reply when I’ve reached out to my academic advisor at Syracuse, and when I had heard from the internship coordinator, it was with one-liner answers that did not actually address my question. Eventually, with the Treadwell project, I have gotten some helpful responses from Syracuse, but I had to try to build that project on my own first.
And I don’t want to blame Syracuse for this, it really is a combination of me, and the fact that I am doing this distance. Syracuse regularly sends out emails about all sorts of internships all over the country. However, Juneau, Alaska is not the site of many of these (well, none I saw). And there being no road connection… I could not really go anywhere else. And I was unwilling to leave my job for it.
I signed up for the internship course for the spring, thinking my contact would end perfectly with me ready to go at the start of January. That did not happen.
Internship with Librarians – achieved!
I finally got in touch with librarians with the State Historical Collection, which is the library space in town that has much of the Treadwell materials in it anyway. They are willing and able to do unpaid internships, like the project, and are willing to work with me. Perfect.
They’ve also drawn attention to an important point: what online platform do I use to put stuff on? This is, along with a box of photocopied newspapers from the 1800s, where I am at right now. I have been presented with Archon, which is very heavily a library-looking tool. It feels very internshipy. It also seems very Web 1.0. So I don’t know if it’s what we’re going to end up using. I’m kind of thinking a Wiki – it supports pictures with large amounts of metadata and information.
A Virtual Collection – that’s the goal. But to get there, I may not be blogging very much here. I’m also remembering some of the busiest times in my past – and I’m remembering that I had to leave behind a lot of my extra activities.
Right now, I’m in a job where I might be able to take several months off during the year. I could harness that time for writing. But it also means going through the hectic, busy summer season while also doing my internship.
Wish me luck.