This post is by Celia Roskin of the Library of Congress.
As a former Library of Congress intern and the newest member of the Professional Learning and Outreach Initiatives (PLOI) team, I reflect on the journey that brought me here and how I might use my experiences to encourage and inform other interns.
Halfway through my senior year of college, the coronavirus pandemic struck. A global pandemic was not then a part of my future plans, so I was hesitant and nervous about what post-graduation would hold. After receiving my bachelor’s in Elementary Education, I knew I needed to work in an environment that emphasized the value of high quality education. Having strayed from the path of classroom teaching, I was thrilled when I saw the opportunity to apply to a summer internship at the Library of Congress. The Library was a perfect fit for me, an institution where I could continue my passion for education in a non-traditional setting. Throughout my virtual summer internship, I worked closely with fellow interns and Library staff on maintaining collections, producing and facilitating professional development events, writing blog posts, and creating online research guides.
My enriching experience as a Library intern inspired an interest in primary sources, leading me to apply for another internship, this one with the Library’s Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program. As a TPS intern, I crafted and produced a long-term research project where I analyzed primary sources from the Library’s collections to create interdisciplinary learning activities focused on the 1918 – 1919 Spanish Influenza Pandemic in relation to COVID-19. Here, you can find my blog posts outlining teaching activities for ELA, math, and science. This internship showed me the importance of using primary sources in the classroom and allowed me to connect with teachers and students using Library of Congress resources.
Following my internships at the Library, I pursued other professional interests; I interned in two congressional offices on Capitol Hill and worked for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Although I wasn’t actively working at the Library during that time, I still wanted to be involved; through many conversations and reconnecting with colleagues at the Library, I became a Mentor on the TPS Teachers Network. Mentors stay abreast of the happenings in the Network, encourage others to post, and share their own findings and research. Through my Library internships, I was very familiar with the work of the Network and was able to continue building relationships with teachers, the TPS program, and Library of Congress staff.
A little more than a year after the end of my last Library internship, I am pleased to have made it back to the Library. As the Administrative Support Assistant to the Literacy Awards Program, I now get to work alongside colleagues who encouraged me to follow my passions and achieve my goals during my LOC internships.
My advice to interns interested in pursuing a career in any field: remain connected to the people you meet and stay vigilant about being involved with the happenings at the institutions you’re interested in working for. Whether volunteering your time or applying for another internship, showing you care about the institution’s mission, goals, and the people it serves is key.
Do you enjoy these posts? Subscribe! You’ll receive free teaching ideas and primary sources from the Library of Congress.