This post is from Brad Krautwurst, who is interning with the Richmond Public Library in Virginia.
Well, it has been a long time coming, but I finally arrived in Richmond Wednesday night last week, Thursday morning I met various people I will be working with, and was allowed to go home to rest and finish unpacking before starting work Friday. So far, I have done a few different things, with quite a few more tasks planned for the next few weeks.
Librarianship, from my experience working in the Shimer library and the few days that I have been working here in Richmond, seems to be more of a far-reaching job than many people, myself included, realize, requiring varied skillsets depending on if one is working in a public library in a city, like I am, a public library in a rural area, or in an academic library, among others. At this particular library, a large part of what is needed most is people to help with job searches. I am working at the main branch of the library in a large city, and as one might expect in these turbulent economic times, many of the patrons who regularly make use of this branch's service are homeless, unemployed, or underemployed, and use the library's computers to search for jobs.
The problem that I am here to assist with is that many of these folks are older, have been at their job for 20 or 30 years before they were laid off, have never had a resume before, and lack basic computer skills to create one. Essentially, what I have been doing is keeping an eye on the computers reserved for jobs to help anyone who needs it. Sometimes that's been correcting spelling errors, and sometimes it's been teaching them how to copy their resume into a form, but it's all very much lived up to the conception of a librarian as a social worker that my boss talked to me about my very first day. It boils down to libraries needing to evolve as e-books and other digital collections take over, and one of the ways librarians and library directors have found to adapt is for the library to become a community resource center, and more than simply a place to check out books.
I am supposed to be working with the City Records subset of the library much of this week, so I will write about that for next post.