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Staycation: Mixing Business WITH Pleasure A Fresh Set of Eyes – Perspective from a Library of Congress Junior Fellow

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This post was written by Junior Fellow Brayden Kelley.

I know you’ve heard the saying, “Never mix business with pleasure.”  That is one of the most frequent life lessons pressed upon me throughout my fledgling years. However, here at The Library of Congress, that idea could not be more incorrect.

Photo courtesy of Brayden Kelley.

I am only a few weeks into my internship as a Junior Fellow here at The Library of Congress and I can confidently say I would love to work here for the rest of my career-life. It was unimaginable to me that I could have a job where I am surrounded by incredibly intelligent co-workers, a daily flow and intake of new knowledge, and just simple fun (SPOILER: Librarians ARE cool).  Every day is a new and exciting adventure, especially thanks to my mentor, Nanette Gibbs, and the rest of the Science, Technology, and Business Division.

Officially, Nanette Gibbs is a Business Reference Librarian, but unofficially, she is one of the most eccentric, candid, and respectable mentors I might have in my life. Her utmost priority is education and she certainly does have an abundance of information to educate. Every day, Nanette teaches my fellow interns and me something new. Here in the Science, Technology, and Business Division, you can hear Nanette yelling “FIELD TRIP!” in the hallways. She allows her interns to explore different parts of the Library and truly grasp the interconnectedness of its parts. Whether it is just touring the different divisions throughout the library, attending a NASA presentation, or my personal favorite–fetching stamps from the Senate’s Post Office, these “field trips” are always enriching experiences.

Having never set foot in The Library of Congress before my internship, I was pleasantly surprised at what these history-filled buildings had in store. I was truly awestruck when I got my first glimpse of the Great Hall and completely flabbergasted at the amount of books tucked away in the stacks of the Adams building alone. As my mentor dedicates her own time to enhance my experience here, the Junior Fellows Program helps enhance my career. Through activities such as a Resume Workshop or an Alumni Panel, the Junior Fellows Program has helped me plan for my future. As a recent college graduate with no set plan, the workshops and courses provided to me have been immensely helpful and eye-opening.

The concept that one can’t mix work and play is ludicrous here at The Library of Congress. I have never wanted a job that restricts me to a cubicle and repetitive work every day. The Library of Congress has shown me that I can have a career that expands my knowledge, challenges my thoughts, and develops me as a person. Not everyone can say during their lunch break that they visited an exhibit celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday where you had the chance to explore his 1st Edition essays or the very pair of glasses the face of Transcendentalism wore. In such a short time at The Library of Congress, I have had a long list of rewarding experiences. I am very eager to see what is in store for me for the rest of the summer and the rest of my career.

And who says libraries aren’t fun?

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