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A summer of fun and learning

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Lily Houston mugshot for library intern column.jpg

Lily Houston 

A crowd of preschoolers comes bouncing into the library meeting room, chattering, giggling and waving. They sit down cross legged, and the library staff and I lead them in singing “Tiny Tim.” They laugh when it comes to the “Bubble, pop pop pop” ending. Warm up complete, they settle in for a story.

Children’s Librarian Carol Baker reads about the biggest animals in the ocean, somehow doing a completely different voice for each sea creature. The kids sit with rapt attention, answering with an emphatic “Yes!” or “No!” when she asks them a question about the book. After the story, the kids gather around tables to make ocean-themed crafts to help them remember today’s tale.

When the Kilgore Memorial Library staff first approached me about being their summer intern, I jumped at the opportunity. The library has always been a place of discovery for me. I’ve found some of my absolute favorite books there over the years, had new interests sparked from displays and demonstrations, and met my best friend at a summer reading event when I was five years old. I am honored that the library decided I would be a good fit, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this internship with Kilgore Memorial Library this summer. I have gotten to work in a great environment with a friendly and patient staff, and I have developed skills like teamwork, punctuality, and effective communication that will definitely carry into my future career.

My main focuses for the internship were learning about the library’s children’s program and media output. I assisted with weekly summer reading activities like Book Buddies, Brown Bag Storytime, and Cookies and Canvas, where I led songs, read stories, and helped with craft projects. I enjoyed reading aloud, helping to glue on googly eyes and find lost marker caps, and singing “Baby Shark” many times over. It was a bit of a full circle experience for me, since I had attended many summer reading program activities when I was a kid, and learned a lot from them; it was like my way of giving back to the program that gave me so many valuable experiences. It was always rewarding to see how the kids lit up at each activity, eager to listen, learn, and participate.

I also wrote articles about the different kids programs on the library blog and for the newspaper. While my blog posts were usually short and sweet, it was fun to recap the highlights of an activity, and think about what really got the kids interested. It was an excellent opportunity for me to practice writing and to learn to work to a deadline.

My favorite part of my internship was helping with Cookies and Canvas every Thursday. Education Outreach Director Janey Due always had unique activities planned, like dot painting and dioramas, so that kids of all ages could come. The kids were always so intent on their artwork that it seldom got noisy in the room, and there were sometimes extra cookies that had to be eaten. Janey also happened to play some of my favorite artists for background music, so I could hum along as I rinsed brushes and cleaned up magazine scraps.

Bigger picture, this summer I learned that a library ties a community together. It can be a hub for so many things, from board meetings, to mahjong club, to a public space for people to access digital information or hang out with friends. I’m so glad that I got to be a part of this space for the summer, and I hope that future interns have as much fun as I did!

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