Library student assistants Ally Scarpa and America Negrete (pictured above) have been working at the library since their first and second years at Loyola Marymount University. As students employees in the library’s Outreach Department, they have engaged with a wide variety of library users and library staff. As they prepare for graduation this May, they wanted to offer our readers their perspective and advice to future Lions.
America: Get to know the library
My name is America and I have been working at the library for four years.
As a freshman, I knew that I would enjoy working at the library and applied to various positions. I was fortunate enough land my first position at the Information Desk where I learned about all the library’s resources, such as its databases and LibGuides. At first glance, the vast amount of library resources appeared intimidating and overwhelming. However, interacting with them daily allowed me to quickly become familiar with them, so I felt more comfortable navigating them for class projects.
I was clearly enjoying my work at the library, because sophomore year I also started working as a library events assistant and library ambassador. Working three jobs at the library plus balancing my schoolwork was challenging at times, but I truly loved all that I was doing. Due to all these responsibilities, my time management vastly improved. My schoolwork benefited from this because I planned ahead. If I knew I’d be at the Information Desk in the morning, in class in the afternoon, and at Pub Night in the evening while I had an assignment due the next morning, I made sure to leave myself plenty of time to produce great work.
If I could impart some library wisdom to my fellow Lions, I would say this: take advantage of all that the library has to offer! While our books and online resources are important, don’t forget about the best resource: librarians! Also, come to our programs! Attend the Long Night Against Procrastination and de-stress with pups and kittens during Finals Week. Apply for a job at the library and learn something new at Faculty Pub Night. Get spooked at the Haunting of Hannon Library and get to know your subject librarian. Your library experience is what you make it. If you want to remember the library as more than a magnificent piece of architecture full of books, spend some time enjoying the people and activities that are in place for your benefit.
Working at the library shaped my LMU experience so much that I referred my roommate and best friend, Ally, to work alongside me.
Ally: It’s about more than books
My name is Ally and I’ve been working at the library for three years.
I began working for the library by chance, and it was actually due to my roommate, America. When she began working as an outreach student assistant, she suggested that I would be a great addition to the library’s outreach department. One job interview later, I became her fellow library events assistant.
Prior to starting this job, I had a very idyllic picture of what it meant to work at a library; I admit it was very Disney-esque, and primarily inspired by Beauty and the Beast.
I had never paused to considered the variety of interconnected processes it takes to keep William H. Hannon library functioning. I may belong to the outreach department, but I often collaborate with other library departments: I’ve assisted with selecting books to be added to the library’s collection (Acquisitions & Collection Development), I’ve installed the recurring Spine Poetry exhibit (Collections Management and Cataloging), and most recently I’ve been co-designing a new library exhibit with America (Archives and Special Collections).
In contrast, I had a clearer picture, decidedly less idyllic, of what it meant to work in the outreach department. I had assumed that the planning and execution of library events was primarily a matter of paperwork, and was immediately proven wrong. Due to the outreach department’s mission of connecting with the LMU community, my job duties have a lot of variety. For example, I do everything from creating promotional buttons, to running a haunted house within the library, and even report on events for the library news blog. It’s challenged me to be constantly thinking on my feet and adapt to whatever the day may hold.
Working at William H. Hannon library was nothing like I expected, and I have loved every minute of it. This library has become my second home, and it could be yours too if you give it a chance.