Susan Hiner, a student from Emporia State University, shares her experience completing her practicum with NNLM Region 4.
When I began my practicum at the University of Utah Eccles Health Sciences Library, I did not know what to expect. Although I had volunteered at a public library and have my CHIS level II certification, I hadn’t experienced what it was like to really work in a library. After the past year, I have a better idea of what goes on in a health sciences library.
From observing the reference desk for a day, I got to see “the glorious life of a client services librarian” first hand. There were displays to set up, online requests on how to use APA, and complaints about backed up sinks.
I worked with George Strawley and Dana Abbey on their Proximity Project, and got to experience both the mind numbing dreariness of trolling the internet for addresses and the quiet feeling of satisfaction when those data points are mapped. Dana did a lightning presentation at MLA, and it was such a thrill to watch it and know “I did that!”.
I worked with Rebecca Brown to create a tutorial storyboard on how to access reports in DOCLINE. The script was accepted by the NNLM and it almost doesn’t feel real to know that people will be watching something that I helped make. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to know that my little practicum has resulted in something that will help others.
The majority of my time was spent with Shawn Steidinger and the University of Utah Hospital’s Hope Fox Eccles Library (HFEL). I took a class on community needs analysis last semester, and was able to do the class project on HFEL. It was a lot of work, but it gave me insight into how librarians conduct them in the real world. Tying classwork to the real world deepened my learning and will hopefully help HFEL.
When people find out I’m getting my MLIS, they inevitably ask, “Why do you need a masters to be a librarian?” Now, after my practicum and everything I’ve done, I take a big breath and say, “Well….”