Get the Most Out of Internships and Practicums

As one semester ends another is just beginning for many of us. The spring and summer terms are a great time for internships and practicums. During this time, internship and practicum supervisors generally have more time to mentor us, and provide engaging opportunities to help us develop and enhance our skills. The trick here is to take a light load of courses. Sometimes an internship or a practicum may have a steep learning curve, if you are new to an area of the field. To get the most out of these experiences give them your full attention.

Make sure you actively participate in the assigned activities and go above and beyond, where possible. Remember you’re actually on a three-month interview. You maybe offered a position before the end of your leave date or an opportunity to join them when you graduate. Even if this is not the case, your internship or practicum supervisor can serve as a reference for you for other positions. You also want to use the internship and practicum to build your professional network. It’s a great place to connect with librarians and information professionals that you do not have direct working relationships with, too.

Check out Amy Musser’s guest post, “Advocate for Yourself and Your Education to get the Most Out of Your Practicum Experience” on the ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) blog site.

The ALA’s ALSC hosted a helpful webinar on how you can get the most out of an internship or practicum. You can link to the archive, Internships/Practicums Student Sessions here.

If you’re looking for a challenge then consider a LIS summer research project.


Celebrate National Library Week (April 13-19th)

National Library Week will be here in two weeks and it would be nice if we celebrated it every day, since libraries change peoples lives on a daily basis. As a young child my grandmother took me to our local library every week and let me select books that she would check out and read to me. Our visits taught me the importance of our library community. My fondness for reading and visiting libraries in every city I visit is an extension of my early library experiences.

To my WSU Warrior Librarians, you make all the difference in our community. The WSU Library has been invaluable to my many research papers and short projects. I can’t keep track of the number of times a librarian or a future colleague in the making has helped me find a resource that I didn’t know existed. Plus, I love that I can obtain library assistance by phone, email, and chat.

So, take time from April 13 – 19th to let your local librarians know that you appreciate their commitment and the services they provide.

They’d love to hear how the library has changed your life. So send out a tweet using the hashtag #LivesChange and #NLW14. Not a tweeter or need more than 140 characters, then share your library story at “You belong @ your library”. If your library uses Flickr, then join the “Lives change @ your library group” and post some great pictures in support of your local libraries. Let them know they are making a difference in your life.

Why Join ALA@Wayne?

Why should you join the ALA@Wayne student organization? We are a student chapter of the American Library Association (ALA) and we encourage participation with ALA activities and their resources. Becoming part of our student group can help you get active in your library community. Maybe you have leadership skills, but you can always enhance them through involvement in our meetings and events. Could be you need technology skills or you are a Facebook and Tweeter whiz. We can accommodate both. Plus, museums and special libraries are even more fun when you visit them with a group, so consider spending some time with us.

Libraries are places thriving with diversity and so are we. As up and coming professionals “diversity” is mentioned quite often. Diversity is a big term, but think of it as working with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and geographic locations with different learning styles and ways of communicating. One of the most important skills you can learn is how to work collaboratively within a team and deal with various groups and individuals. This could be a great resume builder and conversation piece at your next interview. So, bring your high-speed Internet, and some humor, and we’ll provide the stream. Hope to see you at the next meeting.

MLA Annual Conference

ALA@Wayne visited the Michigan Library Association (MLA) Annual Conference on Wednesday, October 16th. It was truly a great event. We began the day by listening to the keynote speaker, Garry Goldman, who spoke about the future of librarians. After, the group dispersed into different sessions, which was very informative and full of relevant ideas. Some of the sessions were Open Data Imperative, Guns and the Library, Patron Personas and Visionary Decision Making, Stealth Programming, Flip Your Class, and Where is the Hospitality in Your Library? Other students presented their posters and many came back on Thursday and Friday.

We had a great time at the MLA conference and hope you can come to our next event. Next we will go to the Troy Public Library on Sunday, November 3rd at 11:00am. Hope to see you there!

Networking Information

Networking is extremely important. Many students will try to find a job by looking online or through a job listserv. However, in order to truly find a job, students need to talk and develop relationships from within the working force. De Janasz and Forret explain that the, “prevailing wisdom suggests that 70–80% of all professional jobs are not obtained through classified advertisements; rather, they are obtained through effective and consistent networking” (2008). Networking can increase your contacts, establish interviews, and cultivate mentors throughout your education and career. I believe that networking can establish your future profession, your income, and pave the way for your passionate career. Here are a few ways it can help you out.

Make the effort. In order to have networks and contacts, the most important endeavor is to spend time within libraries, archives, information agencies, companies, and so forth. If you are not willing to spend the time, then you will never begin to delve into different professional careers. This can occur through part-time jobs, volunteering, internships, conferences, and other functions. When you begin to talk with other professionals, you need to be succinct and clear about your career aspirations. It should be your “30 second commercial” or your elevator pitch (de Janasz & Forret, 2008). Many say that it is “branding” yourself, which I somewhat agree with. Thinking about what your future career will entail can improve future discussions. By thinking about and preparing for this first, you can have a much easier conversation.

Conversations are not networking. Networking is a constant dialogue with the contact individuals. After you speak about job availability or other, unpretentious banter, you need to get their business card and contact information. The most imperative aspect is writing a follow-up email stating that you enjoyed the conversation and the possibility of coming to the next event. Another way to demonstrate the relationship is by writing a snail-mail letter of the given subject. These are vital expressions by making sure that the individual remembers and becomes mindful of you and your interests. Likewise, Stevens asserts that there are strong networking ties as well as weak ties (2011). Strong ties “can get you more access to favors from those people.” Weak ties are usually, “a contact they met briefly at an event. That means the more people you meet and network with, the more likely you are to find new opportunities.” Both ties of networking are great for your career path. Choosing whom you want to talk to, how long, and establishment of the contact is the networking connection.

Finally, many of us are introverts whether we acknowledge ourselves or not. If you are an introvert and have a difficult time starting conversations, than there are other options. For introverted individuals try to form a networking experience, de Janasz and Forret state that, “Skill-building opportunities in how to approach other people and introduce themselves, as well as opportunities to learn how to engage in ‘small talk’ to help find areas of common interest can enhance individuals’ networking abilities” (2008). Think about your strengths and how you can enrich the conversation, also leave out weak subjects in order to stimulate the communication.

Networking will develop throughout your life. By talking and letting people know of your interests, people will want to help, assist, or possibly hire you based upon the simple connections (Muir, 2009). Next time you go out, remember to establish relationships with other people and ensure your contact interactions.

Please use the references below and look up networking experiences from different databases for a clearer understanding of the connections.


De Janasz, S. C., & Forret, M. L. (2008). Learning the art of networking: A critical skill for enhancing social capital and career success. Journal of Management Education, 32(5), 629-650. doi: 10.1177/1052562907307637

Muir, C. (2009). Rethinking job references: a networking challenge. Business Communication Quarterly, 72(3), 304-317. doi: 10.1177/1080569909340687

Stevens, C. K. (2011). Don’t discount the value of networking. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Nerd Nite! Banned Books

ALA@Wayne had a great evening at Nerd Nite! On September 25th, Nerd Nite presented a Banned Books event, due to the American Librarian Association celebrating a week in September to commemorate those books that have been challenged or banned within a local community or national concerns. There were speakers who spoke about the historical incidences to deny books, stories from a rare bookshop, and the Wayne State publisher’s progressive designs about eBooks.

Overall, it was a wonderful night. More events are coming up soon and I hope to see you there.

Please also visit the Nerd Nite website for new events nationally and internationally. And, for more information about banned and challenged books, go to the ALA website to understand the restrictions and limitations of materials.

Nerd Nite's Banned Books event on September 25th.

Nerd Nite’s Banned Books event on September 25th.

Listening to a speaker who spoke about stories on rare books.

Listening to a speaker who spoke about stories on rare books.


Getting Involved in Librarianship

We are gearing up for the year and we are looking for “Warrior” Librarians in the making. Are you interested in finding your niche in the field by exploring some career paths and getting acquainted with some of the metropolitan Detroit area libraries and information resource centers?  Come join the ALA@Wayne and make friends. We’re a casual group and you will fit right in. We are all about getting involved in library activities and networking. We have two meetings and a mixer lined up for this semester. We will learn firsthand about the day-to-day activities of librarians to help us gain more exposure to the profession this year. We are also planning a few site tours to help you get acquainted with a few libraries and maybe a museum.  To learn more, join us on campus on Tuesday, September 17th at 7:00pm in the School of Library and Information Science in Kresge Library on the third floor. Impossible to make it to campus, then connect with us online at We hope to see you at the next meeting!