Joins 38 other libraries in 25 U.S. states in hosting interns from diverse backgrounds
CHARLESTON, SC - Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) will participate in a connected learning summer internship program sponsored by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Through its Inclusive Internship Initiative (III), PLA is sponsoring paid, mentored public library internships for 50 high school juniors and seniors from diverse backgrounds nationwide. With individual guidance from a mentor, CCPL's intern will engage with multiple facets of library life, including programming, user services and administrative operations. Over the course of the summer, the intern and mentor will also develop program guides for new library branches, which were approved for construction through the 2014 referendum.
CCPL has selected Shanequa Rainey as its summer 2017 intern. Rainey will enter her senior year at Burke High School this fall. She was selected based upon her academic standing, application essay, interview and letter of recommendation. Rainey will work closely with her appointed mentor, Outreach and Programming Librarian Megan Summers, throughout the internship. Summers and Rainey will travel to Washington, D.C. later this month for III's summer kickoff event.
This internship project will immediately benefit the participating students and libraries. Library staff will better understand how to foster early career pathways to librarianship while also gaining appreciation for their own roles and efforts to support diversity along those paths. Students will learn about the many ways librarians positively serve their communities and also gain tools to determine their educational goals and potential interest in future library service or leadership roles. Interns and mentors will have opportunities to connect with their counterparts at participating libraries across the country.
This program is funded by PLA with support from a pre-professional Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant (grant RE-00-17-0129-17) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Week 1 Blog: Shanequa Rainey joins the staff at CCPL
My first week working in the CCPL office has gone exceptionally smooth. On the first day Megan Summers, my mentor, gave me a tour of the building and introduced me to the people I will be seeing and engaging with during my time at the library.
The following day, I got to see two very cute kittens and hold one in my arms. I've got to say that was the highlight of my week and that I hope there will be more kittens in the future. They visited the library as part of a Pet helpers segment on the library's radio station WYLA.
The second notable activity of my first week was getting to see the artwork of an environmental folk artist. What she does is take discarded items from the beaches, and streets, parks, and other public places, along with what is in her house and creates art with those items.
It's really cool that she's using her creative talent to both clean and beautify the earth! And in the process she is also showing that people don't need fancy and expensive supplies from the craft store, although they are nice to have, in order to make beatiful art that impacts the community.
That has been my first week in a nutshell, and I'm looking forward to see what next week has in store for me.
Each week, Shanequa will contribute a blog entry as part of her internship. She is CCPL's first recipient of a national internship program sponsored by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). She is currently enrolled at Burke High School where she will enter her senior year this fall. She was selected based upon her academic standing, application essay, interview and letter of recommendation.
Week 2 Blog: Shanequa starts work on ideas to shape program guides at 5 new CCPL branches
Another week has come and gone at the Charleston County Public Library and I have to say that the days are just getting smoother as they go. I have a routine established now and I think that it will get better from here.
Everybody has been really friendly towards me and I'm starting to feel a bit less awkward, not a lot, but as an awkward person in general that’s progress.
Moving on from that, I would have to say with this week I'm starting to find my role within the library. I've observed a few of the programs that CCPL has to offer, have been a part of an outreach effort at One80 Place, a local homeless shelter, and I've had what I like to think of as mini-meetings with the Business Librarian Heather Sanford, the Public Relations Manager Natalie Hauff, and with Project Manager Toni Pattison. Pattison is currently the project leader for the five new branches to be built.
I'll be learning more from her as I make program and outreach guides for the new branches this summer.
All three women were informative about what they do and answered all of my questions. Now I'm trying to stay focused on what they told me as I work on the program and outreach guides. I'm looking forward to meeting with more staff members at the library so that I can keep shaping the ideas I have for my internship project.
Next week I'll shadow the staff in four key areas of the library: children's, young adults, adults, and the South Carolina Room. I'll also be doing more research in order to better understand what each section does and how they function together.
Wish me luck, everyone!
Week 3 Blog: Shanequa explores the differences in children's, young adults, and adult services
From my experiences this week, I have to say that being a shadow at the library is cool. This whole week I got to shadow different departments within the library and see how they operate.
First was the children's department where I had a conversation with the Head of Children's Services Jackie Peters about programming for children. I also participated in a program called Little Inventors where the children used Littlebits kits and a Makey Makey keyboard during one of the many activities of the week.
Then I went to observe a program in the Young Adults section where the teens made seed bombs. Basically, you put dirt and flower seeds together and then wrap clay around them, and after that you can throw them on a grassy area and hope they will grow. It was really fun, and I even made my own seed bomb. However, I plan to put them in a small pot in my house and grow them on the porch instead of throwing them on a patch of grass.
The next day I shadowed the Adult Services section of the library. I was told about how everything is shelved and learned about the different programs happening this summer. I also got to see the new exhibit in the gallery room and talked a little bit with the manager of Adult Services.
I finished the week with a tour of the South Carolina Room and the library's archives. The librarians there gave me a whole bunch of useful facts about how to preserve various materials for archivists in the future, how they repair books, and information on the most popular resources in the South Carolina Room.
Next week, I get to see the future of the library and tour the areas where the new branches will be built. Stay tuned for that!
Week 4 Blog: Learning about outreach and programs means visiting the branches
This week Ms. Summers and I went to visit the already existing libraries in the areas where the five new libraries will be built in order to get more of a feel for the demographics in those areas. The numbers on a paper are a stable start but they don’t always give all the information needed to understand those communities.
We first visited the Edisto and St. Paul's locations where we asked about the basics like programming and outreach. I was a bit sad though because to be on time for visiting St. Paul's we had to go right before the South Carolina Aquarium Rovers got there so we didn't get to see any of the animals they brought.
But the kindness of the St. Paul's librarians made up for it.
Unfortunately we got caught in the rain on the drive back, which anyone who's ever visited or lived in Charleston knows makes for a long drive back to the city. Luckily we didn't get wet because we were able to get to the car fast enough before the downpour started.
The following day we visited the Village Library and the Mt. Pleasant Regional Library. We walked through the Village Library and chatted with the Librarian at the front desk a little bit before leaving to go see the Mt. Pleasant Regional Library.
That visit actually surprised me the most!
For one thing there were so many cars in the parking lot that I wondered where more cars were going to fit. Fortunately we were able to find a parking space pretty quickly. I was also surprised by the diversity of people there. I had looked over the demographics report before going there and expected to see a lot of elderly patrons, but what I saw was a huge number of children and families in general.
Just to think that if I hadn't visited I might have thought up an abundance of programs for the new library that wouldn't attrat a large part of that community! We also talked to the librarians there and they told me about what they do for outreach in their community and the programs they currently offered.
After that, we were off to James and Johns islands. I have to say that Johns Island was my favorite visit because I really enjoyed listening to children's librarian Deborah Jones talk about all the different kinds of children's outreach and programming they do there. She and both the young adults librarian and the adults librarian were so lively that it kept me really engaged in the conversations that we had.
Before that, we traveled to James Island and talked with another librarian, who talked with us about the programs there and how there was a very diverse group there.
On Thursday, we visited Hurd/St. Andrews and learned about the programs and outreach efforts there. It was so busy there it was difficult to go through all the things librarians do -- and that's a good thing! It really made my heart happy to see how many patrons were in the library.
And on Friday we went to the Dorchester Regional Library and watched a bilingual story time. It was a welcome change to end the week.
Next week I'm going to be doing some more shadowing at the Main Library. I actually get to ride in the Bookmobile so I'm pumped. I've never seen it in person so this should be an adventure!
Week 5 Blog: Learning about the computer network at CCPL and presenting my programs to administrators
I wrote last week that I thought I was going to spend a day riding with the Bookmobile. Sadly, that didn't happen but I did do a few other notable things this week.
First, I learned about the Friends of the Library. I thought that all the FOL did was have book sales, but they do a quite a bit more than that. Did you know they also host special events? In their Beer for Books event, people who donate a book get beer. They also sell books online and sell items like bags and flash drives in the library.
Then on Wednesday I met with Thomas Wheeler of IT Services to talk about what he and his team do. Mr. Wheeler showed me this new vertical monitor that they will be rolling out on the floor as a catalog search computer. I thought that it was really neat and I think that it will make searching for books and other library items a faster task. I also took a tour of the server room!
I also gave a presentation on what I've been doing so far at the library to a few library administrators. I was so nervous! The presentation went well and I'm glad that they liked the ideas for programs and outreach I included in my talk. Now that I've cleared that hurdle, it's time to start designing them! I'm so excited about that part!
Next week, I get to see the groundbreaking at the new Wando Mount Pleasant library. I'll also spend a lot of time working independently on my project.
Week 6 Blog: Learning about library collections and experiencing a groundbreaking
This week I spent most of my time doing independent work, but there were some cool things that happened.
On Monday where I got to talk with Amy Quesenbery, the manager of Library Collections and Technical Services. She explained how they search for books to put in the library's collection and how they determine where they will be placed on the shelf. Ms. Quesenbery also went into detail on how the books are categorized in the computer system and what they do to put the books into the catalog where patrons can find them.
After that meeting, I got to help with a solar eclipse program in the Children's department. I helped kids with a drawing project were they traced a circle on a piece of black paper with chalk and a cup. And then they would smudge the circle going outward to make what looked like the corona, the part where the moon is completely covering the sun and you can see the outside flares of the sun popping out.
Then on Tuesday I got to attend my first groundbreaking. A few key figures gave speeches, but they kept them short because it was so hot! And then they lined up with shovels and broke ground for the new Wando Mount Pleasant Library.
Even the CCPL mascot Owlbert the Owl came to the event. He took a picture with me and then flew away with the wind.
When we got back I did some more independent work then Ms. Summers and I went to Cooper River Memorial Library. Librarians there told us about their programs and what type of outreach they do. They also gave us a tour and we got to see their shelf plants. They were all real and all of them had names, which I thought was really neat.
Next week I'll mostly be doing independent work, but I'll be visiting the John L. Dart Library on Tuesday.
Week 7: Visiting John L. Dart Library as the internship winds down
Not much to report this week. It mostly consisted of doing independent work and visiting the John L. Dart Library on Tuesday.
The visit to Dart was cool. They told us about the currently projects they were working on, what type of programs they had, nd what type of outreach they did in the community. I found it very interesting because it’s the library that's closest to my home so I may be able to hop in one day and be a part of a program there.
Next week I'll be finishing up the project that I've been working on throughout the internship. It's also my last week as a PLA intern! I can't believe the summer went by this fast.