LMU Alumna Shin Park on Working at Hannon Library

We recently caught up with Shin Park, a production coordinator at Netflix Animation, Loyola Marymount University alumna, and past library student worker in the William H. Hannon Library’s Archives and Special Collections (A&SC). Shin worked in A&SC for two years, eventually going on to work at Nickelodeon for three years post-graduation. We wanted to know how working at the library prepared Shin for life after LMU. This interview was conducted by library assistant Jessica Guardado. You can find interviews with other students workers here, here, and here.

What skills did you learn during your time here? Do you use any of them in your current profession?

A skill I gained during my time working with the A&SC department was being able to refer to various resources to provide visitors, coworkers and supervisors answers they needed. I would be thrown questions ranging from how to book a time to research in the department to how long a gallery exhibition would be taking place. I needed to be prepared at all times. This is pretty similar to what I do now as a production coordinator, since the producer, directors, and artists throw questions at me left and right.

How was the library a resource for you as you prepared to graduate and search for jobs?

To be honest, I didn’t really use the library as a resource to help look for jobs, but what I do remember is how supportive and flexible the A&SC staff were with me and my internship opportunities. They always cheered me on and pushed me forward and that helped me gain a lot of confidence to stand out in the job market.

How did working as a library assistant give you better research skills, or aid in your academic growth at LMU?

Working at the library showed me just how extensive of a resource the library really is. It’s not just a space to study and check out books! I took advantage of being able to check out cameras and extra laptops, as well as view art pieces from the medieval and renaissance periods with a simple reservation. It’s a really cool experience to be able to study artists and periods in my art history courses (I was a minor), and then walk over to the library and see examples in person.

What did you enjoy most (or least) about working at the library?

The vault! The vault is SO cool! Literally and figuratively. Actually, my least enjoyable experiences were needing to go down to the vault and forgetting a jacket that day. (Editor’s note: the vault is climate- and humidity-controlled to help preserve the rare and delicate items of archives and special collections. It’s cold.) The vault holds so much rich history. When I discovered the vault held a first edition of Alphonse Mucha’s “Le Pater,” I just about died. I was allowed to flip through it with my own shaky, gloved hands! I loved it so much that the A&SC department gave me a laptop case with my favorite page printed on it as a graduation gift and I still use it to this day!

Do you feel that your experience working at the William H. Hannon Library better prepared your for life after college?

Yes! Working at the library was the first time I witnessed that a job doesn’t always need to be “just a job.” Your job can be your passion. It was such a pleasure to see the permanent library staff work with such kind and patient hearts. They really do love the library and helping students so much!

Is there any advice that you would give to current student assistants on what to focus on in order to be a marketable candidate and/or a better student?

It might depend on what industry you want to get in to, but my biggest piece of advice for students who are graduating soon is to build your network as early as you can. If you aren’t able to get the internships you want, don’t get discouraged! Go to public industry mixers, sign up for mentorships, go to panels and stay afterwards to ask questions, and find industry professionals online and kindly ask them out for coffee informationals. Do what you can to put your name out there (but obviously go about it in a genuine way—build relationships).