Working as a Library Intern (weeks 1-3)

This summer, I started my third job as an intern in my neighborhood library!

I was really excited to do this job but as the days go by, I wonder if I’m fit for the job.

I have been working with about 25-30 kids everyday at work. I have 0 experience with children, the youngest in a family of 7, and I’ve never taught before.

Prior to working, I was told to be careful of my possessions. On my very. first. day. The instructor of the library program said that we could put them in a closet that would be locked. Just minutes after kids started to come in, she unlocked the closet and a child starts to go though the closet for a good 5 minutes. The whole time, I kept thinking that the child was going through my stuff and I wanted to stop the child from going around, but it was my first day, and I never really had that authoritative responsibility. Anyways, I couldn’t get to the closet until the end of the day because it was being blocked and it wasn’t until the end of my first day that I realized my coins for public transportation was all gone.

In my second week, I was going back and forth between two libraries. Going to another library wasn’t much of a problem, I understood circumstances that caused me to move around for a while, but it was the location of where the second library was at. During this week, I asked my father to drive me to and from this library because I didn’t know the area. Under the train, it tended to get dangerous and the only way to get to this library was to follow the train.

I had to take the train there one day because I had finished visiting my college campus and was already on public transportation. When I got off, there were many people loitering near the train stairs and all under the train outside. I felt uncomfortable. Despite trying to hide my face under a hat, I was hollered at and cat-called at least 5 times within an “8 minute” walk, according to google maps. But I’m sure with my speed, I cut that short. At this second library and area, I knew I was different. The children who came in seemed very fascinated with how I looked.

Unlike the Hispanic, White and Black kids, I was Asian. As I helped kids do small projects, one kid came up from behind and said “What’s China Like?” I was sort of taken by surprised, because the children at the first library didn’t feel like I was a new presence. But I smiled and replied “I don’t really know. I’ve never been there before.” The boy’s jaw dropped as he gasps. “Yeah, I was born here, in Philly.” I said. I understood right away that even through these two libraries were 20 minutes apart by public transportation and 5 by car, there weren’t many people who looked like me in the area. I had a second encounter with another child who, again, came up from behind and asked “Are you Japanese? Can you tell the difference between Asian people?” I replied back with a no for being Japanese but I told her that I could tell the difference between Asians usually. This second library was still enjoyable and other kids were really awesome. I did fun projects with them and I even felt like I connected with a few too when they talked about their lives and realized stories are always the same no matter who you are.

By my third week, something insane happened, at least for me! We were making soap molds and in order to melt soap, we had to use an electric stove. Many of the kids took turns to melt blocks of solid soap so that they could pour them into molds and decorate them, but towards the end of the day, a young child wanted to stir. I had monitored the stove regularly but at that moment, I turned to help other kids as this young child was stirring. Suddenly, I hear a small yell and then a “I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding!” I became so frantic, wondering what happened. The young child came up to me and showed my her bloody nose. What do you do when you have a nosebleed! I haven’t had one in years! I immediately take the child to a sink to wash off the blood and stuffed some tissue paper in the nose, but this incident made me feel incompetent. I’ve been thinking a lot about mothers and teachers and how they would take care of emergencies. I know I didn’t handle the situation properly but WebMD, thank you for teaching me after everything happened!

Now I’m looking into different types of child emergencies and hopefully I can write some down here so that I would remember better.

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One comment

  1. […] view weeks 1-3 here: The First Few Weeks as a Library Intern […]

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