Three Valuable Takeaways from my Library Days

What exactly is there to know about working in this kind of facility?

Photo by Samuel Freitas

I was fortunate enough to have interned at the Bristol Community College campus media center in Fall River, Massachusetts during late 2018 to early 2019. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there because there were more than enough chores to keep me busy. I personally was happy to work there because I have a fascination with libraries. To me, libraries are mysterious in that the books there are windows to another world. Well, let’s get onto the good stuff.

1. The Library of Congress Classification System: I knew deep down that libraries had a way of organizing their books, but I had no idea the classification system was as complex as it really was until my first day at work. There, I was taught that there were letters describing the subjects at their most basic level (Such as Z for books specifically pertaining to Libraries, and A for general works). Below that were sub-letters, placed next to the main letter to narrow down the topic (For instance, AE only includes encyclopedias, PC only includes works that are written in Romance Languages, and so on).

Because of my tendency to clean and organize things, I learned the system within the course of one or two days. Since this is a system that is used by every library in the United States, I want you to realize that if you ever decide to work at a library, you will need to learn the way the Library of Congress Classification System is set up if you want to make progress.

2. Books weren’t the only thing they kept there: Music CDs, VHS tapes, and Audio Cassettes were among the numerous types of non-book media stored in the library. I want to bring this up because people often think of libraries as places that only specialize in books, but that’s not true. While there were still more books than any other kind of medium, I was happy to grab a DVD and drop it into the carriage whenever I had to bring it up to the front desk.

To me, this was a testament that any kind of physical medium could be neatly organized. As a result, it kept things interesting for me because I was organizing a range out of works beyond literature, and I could tell the library was seeking consistency when it came to categorizing media. I also felt confident doing it because it made things easier for people who were looking for movies or shows simply by making sure they were in the right locations.

3. Opportunities to read: Every so often, while I was working my way up the aisles, I would come across a book that piqued my interest. For example, when I got to section TX (Culinary Arts), I discovered some cookbooks that made me want to explore the culinary world. In one case, I came back with a recipe for orange-flavored cinnamon rolls, and another day, I found a chicken recipe from the country of Georgia.

Another day, I saw some encyclopedias on world mythology, so I decided to take a closer look and see if I could take any inspiration from the myths that it featured. By the time I finished, I felt renewed because I had learned the names of legendary figures I was not familiar with and I began to imagine the stories in my head. What I want to inform you is that I’m the person who seeks out obscure information to make his life more interesting, and that I could just picture these stories in my head.

But of course, I didn’t let that distract me from doing the actual work. In fact, whenever I did get to read, I felt even more grateful to be working there. Those little moments boosted my morale and productivity. Being the kind of person who enjoys expanding his knowledge, I benefited so much psychologically from working in a place filled with so many sources of information.

At the end of the day, working at the BCC library was an enriching moment. Each day, I was invigorated by engaging myself in arranging books, bringing CDs to the front desk, gleefully reading books whenever I had the time and simply bringing joy to my co-workers. The fact that the library was a quiet place helped me relax myself for several hours. The last thing I want to say here is that if you’re a calm person and you have no problem organizing things, then the library is the place for you.

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