Lessons Learned: Residence Hall Libraries

I'm in my third month of employment at Penn State. It has been a whirlwind of 90 days -- the weeks fly by and the weekends are nearly long enough for all the adventuring myself and my new friends would like to do. I feel settled even though I'm still adjusting to my Sunday-Thursday hours.

Now that I'm three months in, I've had a chance help undergraduates find information and to teach a few library instruction classes. I feel that I'm getting the experience I need as a new professional and the support I need to succeed. I'm also now starting to think about myself as a professional and the things I need to support my practice: a teaching philosophy, a teaching style in the classroom, and better articulating where my expertise lies. For me, part of understanding myself as a professional means reflecting on the experiences that shaped me.

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Collaboration Nation

About a week ago, an amazing program happened in one of the libraries I supervise. This program also won the award (in my books) for largest collaboration. I had 10 resident assistants (RAs) helping to plan and run the program (remember, these are undergrads). Wow. Since I'm pretty proud, I figured I would share this story with you. 

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Two jobs, some undergrads, & some elementary children

For me, this year feels all about putting theory into practice. What I love about grad school (especially this semester) is all the theory I have floating around in my head. I'm constantly challenged and questioned and encouraged. I read every reading because I just never know when a reading will be "the one" aka when things click and my brain whirls around a bit faster. 

And then there's practice. So often we make this divide between those who deal with theory and those who are in the field, practicing. Both experiences are important and when you have a balance of both, they inform each other. Making you a better person and for me, a better librarian. 

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Building a community, one lunch at a time

So I'm in the middle of preparing two libraries for the school year. They are residence hall libraries, allowing them to be this amazing mix of popular (and current) fiction and nonfiction, the newest movies, TV shows, CDs, and magazines. We also have some great resources, like GRE study books and special collections for our various living learning communities. 

As I frantically organized, clean, and prepare, I'm faced with the (somewhat daunting) task of serving the students that live in these halls. As someone who went to a small liberal arts college, the sheer size of the these residence halls intimidates me. 

So. Many. Students.

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