Meet Juliana Mestre, the Spring 2019 Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program Intern in the Library of Congress Young Readers Center. After you read about her experiences, you might be interested in applying for this internship, and more information is available here. The deadline to apply for Fall 2020 is May 4.
What was the most powerful part of the internship?
Each day brought a new opportunity. As the TPS intern I was able to help with a reorganization project, interact with visitors, collaborate on the design and implementation of programming, meet authors, go on tours of different departments, explore reading rooms, research a wide variety of topics, and work alongside some incredible people.
The daily routine also left me curious about the origins of librarianship, which informed my primary source research project. I built my project around the history of traveling libraries, focusing on the ways information was spread at the beginning of the 20th century and the individuals who were involved.
Using primary sources, I aimed to create an engaging introduction to research for middle school students and to help them grapple with questions about information and information access. Along the way, I discovered a number of Library resources. A personal favorite is Chronicling America, with its wealth of digitized historical newspapers from across the country. I used this resource to create an activity to introduce students to newspapers. I also enjoyed exploring the Prints and Photographs collections, specifically WWI posters and other images that involved traveling libraries.
How has the internship informed your career path?
Over the course of my internship, I learned not only about the Library of Congress, but also about various kinds of librarianship. My supervisors fostered my interests, introducing me to librarians who provided a broad picture of career paths within the field. Each interaction was an opportunity to learn, grow, and network, and I can say with confidence that, because of this, no other semester-long experience has more greatly informed my education and career path. I not only learned about the Master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS) for the first time, but also became confident that it was a subject field I would love to pursue further.
I’m currently finishing my first year in the University of Alabama’s MLIS program. Prepared by this internship, I am set to graduate a semester early next December. After graduation, my plan is to work in academic librarianship. Eventually, I hope to receive my PhD in Library and Information Science.
What advice do you have for future TPS interns?
Choose a project topic of genuine personal interest. This will make it more interesting to research, and, hopefully, translate an enthusiasm for primary sources to students. Additionally, don’t forget the different formats primary sources can take – this will introduce students to the array of resources that the Library offers.
Also, make time to explore the Library and interact with the incredible librarians, interns, and volunteers there. In the Rare Book Reading Room, for example, I was able to handle a first edition of a book by Virginia Woolf (my favorite author), replete with an original dust jacket designed by her sister Vanessa Bell. It was awesome. I also toured the Preservation department, something I was super curious about, and saw live restoration and preservation of historical documents. Certainly dive into the work of the YRC and the TPS project, but remember that you are at the Library of Congress!