Reflections of a Graduating Student Employee & Future Librarian
Student employees are an essential part of the Fordham Libraries. They help in both day-to-day library operations and long-term special projects, and just like the rest of the library staff, they have been working throughout the pandemic to keep the libraries open.
For the past four years, student employee Mina Marciano has worked in both the Circulation and Cataloging departments at Walsh Library. She is graduating this week with a degree in Art History and a minor in Religious Studies and Theology. Mina will be missed by all of us – but her time in the library world isn’t over! Mina is heading to Seattle to pursue a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Washington with the goal of becoming a school librarian. As she turns the page to this new chapter, we asked her a few questions about her experience at Walsh Library and her plans for a future in librarianship. Check out her answers below!
When did you start working at Walsh Library?
I started working in Fordham’s Walsh Library my freshman year as a student worker, and I had volunteered in both my middle school and high school libraries. I actually took a class most of middle school called Library Practice where one of my class periods was spent learning various library tasks and completing a research project centered on a specific classification number. I think that experience really helped me with my work study job at Fordham.
What do you do in a typical day in your role?
A typical day in Circulation pre-pandemic looked like spending half of my time in the stacks shelving, beautifying, working on an inventory project, and other things that have to do with the books upstairs. The other half of my time was spent manning the desk and assisting patrons with anything they might need related to the library. Post-pandemic, much less of my time is spent helping library patrons and a lot more of what I do as a student worker revolves around digitizing material for students and faculty. These materials can either to be sent to them directly or uploaded to the digital reserves catalog.
A typical day in Cataloging is much different. That department is where newly acquired books are put into the system and it is my job to get them ready for the shelf. So that entails stamping, security stripping, barcoding, and labeling the books with their individual call numbers.
What have you learned from working at the Library?
Working at Walsh Library helped me figure out that I wanted to pursue a career as a librarian. Even though I had been involved with libraries since I was a kid, I hadn’t realized that this was something I wanted to pursue until I started working at Walsh. In addition to that, I have learned a lot about communication and education. Many people have never utilized a library space and there are many things that might seem intuitive to people who work in libraries but aren’t to the public. I think it’s really cool to be able to help people navigate a space that might feel intimidating to them at first and make libraries more accessible spaces.
What’s something you would have never known about the library if you didn’t work there?
I never would have known how much work goes into running the library and all of the individual departments. Everyone there works really hard and the staff does so much that many patrons don’t necessarily see.
Are there any specific projects or experiences that stand out to you?
We were recently asked to make an interactive virtual book display where we compiled a list of books and other library resources and then made a really fun display for them that is uploaded to the library blog.
How have you used the library as a student, and do you have any advice for other students about the library?
I have really taken advantage of the library and its resources as a student at Fordham and I highly recommend that other students do the same. I checked out a lot of books not only for personal use but also for many of my classes. Often the texts you will need for class can be accessed through the library and I have heard from professors that very few students use actual books in their papers, instead they mainly use online resources. Online resources are another amazing thing that I have used as a student. Academic journals are something that I think every discipline relies on for the most up to date information in that field and Fordham subscribes to many amazing periodicals that I definitely used as an Art History Major. Another great online resource is databases which synthesize information in a certain subject.
I could go on about the library resources that I have used including the reference librarians and their knowledge, the writing center, Special Collections on the fourth floor, and there is so much more that the library has to offer students if they just ask for it, and again my suggestion is that students take advantage of these resources while they have access to them.
How did you realize that you want to be a librarian?
I realized I wanted to be a librarian during my freshman year after I had done very poorly in the pre-med program. I had actually come to Fordham as a declared Biology major on the pre-med track but figured out very quickly that it was not for me. When I was debating whether or not I should even stay at Fordham, I had a conversation with the resident director of my dorm about what I was going to do next. She said to me that the only thing she ever heard me talk about with a lot of enthusiasm was my work study job at the library. So, after that conversation I went to my boss, John D’Angelo, and asked him what it looked like to pursue a career as a librarian and if I seemed like someone who would be a good fit for it. And now here we are almost four years later, and I will be going to get my master’s in library science next fall.
What is it about librarianship that interests you?
The main thing about librarianship that interests me is access and accessibility. I firmly believe in the idea that everyone has the right to information and that libraries and librarians have the duty to provide that information in the most accessible ways. And I have noticed that the pandemic has made a lot of people think about how we access information, and more importantly credible information, and what that means.
Where are you going to library school, and what do you plan to study there?
I have been accepted to and will be attending University of Washington in Seattle for library school. It is my plan to study to be a youth and children’s librarian.
What would you like to do in your career as a librarian?
Ideally, I would like to work in a public-school setting where my job would not only be running the school’s library but also teaching students about accessing credible information on the internet and how to use that information in safe and informed ways.