This year, six members of ASLMU worked as student library assistants at the William H. Hannon Library. We highlighted one of them, Eli Shillinger, earlier this semester. Recently, we caught up with three more student senators to ask them about their experience working at the library: Taylor Clark (ASLMU Senator for Diversity & Inclusion and Library Outreach student), Camille Orozco (ASLMU Senator for Diversity & Inclusion and Library Archives & Special Collections student), and Silvia Velasquez-Cruz (ASLMU Senator for Commuter Students and Library Archives & Special Collections student).
Tell us about the work you do in the library.
Taylor: I am a Library Ambassador, proudly representing our library at events across campus and giving tours to really show students and community members how amazing our library is! Also during my first year, I worked at the information desk.
Silvia: I managed front desk operations at Archives and Special Collections but there were other parts to the job, like learning how to handle rare artifacts. For me, this was the most exciting, as well as being able to learn tools on Adobe Creative Cloud. My most memorable experience is with a Chinese Court Robe, which I helped to condition report and rehouse. I recently came across the term “ontological vertigo” and this is definitely something I experienced.
Camille: I am a student assistant for the Archives and Special Collections. I primarily handle the front desk, take phone calls, schedule research appointments, and send emails. Some of the more fun responsibilities are going down to the vault to shelf materials, setting up our exhibit space, and sometimes some digital Photoshop projects!
Tell us about the work you do for ASLMU.
Taylor: Within ASLMU, I was a Senator for Diversity and Inclusion as well as the Speaker of the Senate. In my position as a Senator, I wrote a resolution pledging that our ASLMU elections would be fair and equitable as well as helping with the textbook drive. As Speaker, I got the opportunity to help all of the other Senators in their endeavors and help ensure their success.
Silvia: As the ASLMU Senator for Commuter Students, I continued the Waiting Out Traffic Initiative that was started to address food insecurity in the commuter and off-campus constituency. I also collaborated on resolutions, including the one supportive of LMU addressing commuter student concerns and another that declared our solidarity for UNITE HERE Local 11 and LMU Sodexo workers. As Senate members we also help out during ASLMU events, and some highlights were LMU Day and the Christmas Tree Lighting.
Camille: I am going into my second year as Senator for Diversity and Inclusion. In this position, I am a voice for the entire student population with an emphasis on those under-represented communities on campus. Some of the projects I’ve worked on include resolutions regarding labor disputes, expanding composting and sustainability on campus, and administrative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m also a part of the Menstrual Hygiene Initiative to provide free menstrual products across the university.
How has working at the library has contributed to your academic success?
Taylor: Honestly, I think everyone should get a job at the library during them time at LMU. While it may not sound like your cup of tea, it has helped in so many ways that I didn’t even know were possible. There are two valuable things working got the library has taught me. First, by working at the Information Desk, I was given immense research skills, that not only did these skills help me be a better student but also it allowed me to help my friends do research. I’m always the person my friends come to when they are stuck and can’t find anymore sources and my first thought is always the library. Second, by being an Ambassador, I was able to better my public speaking skills, especially in front of huge groups of children, to whom I was giving tours.
Silvia: It has contributed in more ways than I know. It’s obviously a really convenient place to work because it was easy to find a study spot before and after shifts. I was closely engaging with archival material that I also got to see through my classes. So I got to see both ends of that experience. The more time I spent there, the more I got to know the library staff and professors who work closely with them, which offered me valuable guidance.
Camille: I started working at the library at the beginning of my freshman year, and I was immediately introduced to so many different library resources that helped me succeed from the very beginning of my college experience. It also introduced me to a great network of professional staff and students working in the library.
What connections are there between the working at the library and the work you do for ASLMU?
Taylor: The most concrete example I can give about the way my work at the library and ASLMU is the conversation that we started about affordability of Course Materials and Open Educational Resources with Library Jamie Hazlitt. ASLMU had concerns about how we could help students afford their materials for class, and this lead to conversation and the execution of a textbook drive and book store gift card giveaway. But these things we implemented were band-aid solutions so in partnership with Hazlitt, senators were able to give their thoughts and it was a productive conversation about the role the library, the university, and the students can play in access to course materials. Both roles have influenced me to use my power of information. As a library ambassador using my public speaking skills to share information with others. As a student to use all the resources the library has to offer. And as a senate representative to share all the information provided to me that I can share not only with my other senators but with the students.
Silvia: Conversations with Jessica Guardado sparked so many ideas for my work and direction in ASLMU. She was actually the first to alert me that there was something happening with the presidential debate last December, and that later turned into something we wanted to address as a senate. Working at Archives and Special Collections was engaging on personal level because I hope to work arts and artifacts in the future. Through A&SC and ASLMU Senate, I found a community that helped me grow into an inquisitive and driven person and the memories I gained helped to fulfill my college experience.
Camille: On ASLMU I notice myself mentioning my work at Special Collections quite frequently. Often times, we look for university archives to inform many of our projects, and I always direct people to take a visit to Archives and Special Collections.
What are your plans after graduation?
Taylor: My plans after graduation are to move to DC and start graduate school at George Washington University in the Security Policy Studies program.
Silvia: My plans after graduation are up in the air right now in terms of job-seeking, but I may be back in the Fall for graduate school. I plan on getting an MSM and eventually starting my own business. The future is a bit uncertain as of this moment, but I am hopeful and eager to see this realized.
Camille: I am graduating in Spring of 2022 and plan to travel and go to law school after college.
We are extremely proud of our student workers. Their contributions to the William H. Hannon Library are not only essential to our mission and operations, but the character, skills, and perspectives they bring into our departments fundamentally changes how we pursue our work. Thank you Taylor, Silvia, and Camille for sharing your thoughts with us. We wish you the best this summer and beyond!