Whether interacting with patrons at the Service Center or learning how to preserve library materials for generations to come, KSL offers students many opportunities to gain valuable professional skills. Students who work at KSL benefit from the resume-worthy experiences they are exposed to, while the library also benefits from increased assistance with actual current projects.
Exploring Special Collections
In fall 2012, Amanda Castleberry, a graduate student in CWRU’s Art History & Museum Studies program, was hired to work as an assistant in KSL’s Special Collections. Castleberry said she was attracted to the opportunity because of her interest in history, books, art and art handling, exhibitions and institutional operations with donors and researchers.
The largest project assigned to Castleberry and a fellow student was to curate an exhibition of works by master bookbinder, Jan Sobota. A former CWRU employee, Sobota passed away in May 2012, and the exhibit was the first comprehensive posthumous display of his works. The students worked to curate the entire exhibit, which opened to the public with a kick-off symposium in October.
“On this project, I appreciated the freedom with which we set up the exhibition,” said Castleberry. “I developed skills in exhibition setup, organization, audience engagement and donor relations.”
Throughout the duration of her employment at KSL, Castleberry worked on wide range of projects, from shelving and cataloguing materials to creating finding aids of collections to benefit researchers. Assisting with class visits to Special Collections provided valuable experience toward her current job as a teacher.
Establishing Future Connections
This year, Kelvin Smith Library was again a partner in University Circle Inc.'s Future Connections program. The eight-week summer study program gives selected rising high school seniors the opportunity to engage in project-based internships for four weeks in a University Circle cultural institution and four weeks in a Greater Cleveland area business.
This year, six students were assigned to KSL to gain professional experience in a library environment. By working alongside KSL mentors, the students were able to get a taste of different areas of the library. The students had a chance to assist with actual current projects to learn a variety of skills to take with them into their senior year and beyond, such as:
“The students were great,” said Virginia Dressler, Digital Librarian and one of the KSL mentors. “They were very eager to learn new skills along the way and I really enjoyed having them.”
The culmination of the students’ internship was to give a presentation to the entire staff about their time at KSL. They prepared a PowerPoint slideshow and discussed what they learned, from book binding and cataloging to digitization techniques and 3D printing.