A local aspiring librarian shares his story of working in a branch while pursuing his Master of Library Science degree.
By Dylan Wokeck, Intern, Richard Byrd Library (January-April 2021)
Facilitating Reading and Learning
Interning at a library is an enlightening experience offering unique rewards if you have the mindset to receive them. When I began my internship at Richard Byrd Library in late January, FCPL branches were closed to the public and offering users full access to the physical collection through curbside pickup of items placed on hold.
Most days I saw our list of holds exceed 150, and some days it was more than 200. These items had to be hunted down throughout the library, scanned into the computer system, have a sticker placed on them, and put on our hold shelf or transferred to other libraries.
Every moment of this was exciting. These holds meant that people were using the library, even during a pandemic! The work I was doing was facilitating reading and learning. You may not know why someone is checking out something from the library, but you know that you are improving some aspect of their life by getting it to them.
Offering In-Person Support
My experience was made all the better once the library buildings reopened to the public. It started as a trickle of visitors, but it was still wonderful to see people return to the branch. Not only could I collect holds, but Library Information Assistant Anne Sinclair and Branch Manager Valerie Suttee helped train me also to answer all of our visitors’ questions.
I still have a lot to learn — and helping readers find new titles they may enjoy takes a lot of practice — but these two FCPL staff members and everyone else at Richard Byrd have provided exceptional support in my preparation to become a librarian on my own.
A Legacy of Library Service
Before she passed away, my grandmother told me she worked as a library page at Richard Byrd Library around 1959. While she didn’t stay in the library for her career, she did continue to help people by providing home health and hospice care. I may not be going into the medical field, but I am following partially in her footsteps and looking forward to working in a position dedicated to helping others.
Dylan graduated from East Carolina University (Greenville, N.C.) in May 2021 with his Master of Library Science (MLS) degree and continues to volunteer at Richard Byrd Library.