A Teen’s Thoughts on Interning @ Kern County Library: Dollar General Grant Winner

The YALSA/Dollar General internship grant was a huge success for both the teen and the library. The Kern County Arvin Branch Library had its second Lunch at the Library program this summer. It was such a huge success last year that we just knew we could double our numbers this year. In order to make this possible we would need someone who was willing and ready to take any task that may arise. Luckily we found a great student, Jazmin, with a great recommendation from her science teacher. She was selected and did a great job at setting up and for our Lunch @ the Library program every day. She hosted a few programs such as Legos Club, a few arts and crafts programs, and Xbox Kinect. Jazmin was doing such a great job that we decided to utilize her in many other areas as well. She helped signing up students for summer reading, and sorting and shelving books. One great trait about Jazmin is she takes initiative. She does not wait to be told what to do. Once she understood the routine at the library, she assimilated right into our work day. Here is Jazmin’s experience in her own words:

As a sophomore in high school a job should be the last subject in mind as school is coming to an end. Extracurricular activities were still on, teachers were assigning homework, tests were being jammed into our hands, and social life did not wait for anyone; nonetheless, a job was on my mind for the summer. Juggling what a teen could in high school my parents decided that I needed one more ball to do the trick, I began to look for a job and our family business was not an option. Thanks to a friend I received information towards an internship for the Arvin Branch Library, so I went into my high school’s career center and got an application. I turned the application in to the library and waited for a phone call.

 

A week passed and I finally received a call giving me information for an interview. I believe I stopped breathing. This was in fact my very first, serious job so I had to keep in mind that the only time I ever practiced for an interview was once in Academic Decathlon. You guessed it, I was a nervous wreck just thinking about it. The day arrived and my hands were clammy, sweaty, and shaking as I walked into the room and sat in front of my hopefully-future boss. I hoped that I would not stutter. Keeping a good posture and a steady breath, I willed myself to relax. Before I knew it, the interview was over and I had survived. I was given constructive criticism as to what I did well and what I could work on for future interviews. After a hand shake, some nods, a ‘thank you,’ and another week, I was given the job.

 

I believed my first day on the job would involve confusion; instead I received more information, food trays, and kids – so much better. The day began with a tour around the library and the system it runs on. I memorized where each genre of books should be placed and I began shelving and fixing misplaced books. Later on I met other employees and built friendships with them. My second job consisted of giving kids food in the Summer Reading Program and getting to interact with them in fun activities. Little by little I received more jobs and I kept learning from everyone each week. All of it was very exciting and I loved to play with the kids; unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

My experience in the Summer Reading Program was enjoyable, as well as learning about the way things are run in a library. One of the reasons for why I decided to fill in the application for the internship was to help and give back to the community in anyway and it was possible. This job and the program has allowed me to meet new people, help others, make connections, and – in a way – helped me face my small fear for interviews. I am absolutely thankful that I was given the opportunity to learn every day and I wish that it could have been longer.

 

We are glad we were able to provide real work experience. From first real interview, to building new connections that will help her in future job opportunities. We’d like to thank YALSA and hope we can participate in similar programs in the future.

Written by Rafael Moreno. I started working for the Kern County Library in December 2005 and became a permanent employee in April 2007. From June 2006 through July 2017 I supervised the Arvin and Lamont Branch Libraries. During that time I successfully raised Summer Reading statistics 8 out of the 11 years at those locations. My Spanish speaking skills are essential in the communities I served. The Kern County Library’s YouTube online bilingual storytime was good enough to be noticed by ALA who interviewed me for an online article on bilingual programs. Working on my Master’s has been a personal priority outside of work. I recently graduated from San Jose State University with a Master’s in Library Informational Science. Timing was perfect. A spot recently opened up and I am in the process of being promoted to Librarian for the Southwest Branch Library. It is a different community with a larger and more diverse demographics which I plan to serve well.

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