Internship reflection


by: Talia Greene, Young Canada Works Intern

To do good work in libraries, you first need to understand your patrons and their needs. This lesson has become very clear to me while working at UVic Libraries.

In my position as Learning, Engagement, and Communications Intern, I worked for seven months in a dual role, reporting to both the Director of Engagement and Learning and the Libraries’ Communications Officer. For me, this internship has provided me with valuable insight into libraries and their users that will shape my future work as I finish up my Master of Library and Information Studies and start my career as a librarian.

During my time at UVic Libraries, I’ve consulted with over 1,200 students to learn about their experience of the library and to understand how we can better meet them where they are. This student feedback helps the Libraries assess our services and identify ways to improve. One theme that came up again and again from students was their desire to know more about what was available to them at the library. This was where my dual role in Engagement and Learning as well as Communications came in handy. Hearing from students that they were interested in learning about library resources propelled me to try to find ways to reach students in a way that speaks to them and reflects their priorities.

One of the first things students would say when I would ask them how they would like to learn about the library was Instagram. I applied the feedback I was hearing from students to my approach to content creation for social media. Students expressed hesitancy to consult with librarians because they found it intimidating, so I created a video introducing each subject librarian in the style of an 80s sitcom. The video received over 25,000 views and received comments from students expressing their appreciation for the librarians.

In a later student consultation, I received the best feedback: when I asked if the library felt welcoming or intimidating, a student told me that they thought it felt welcoming because of how it was presented on Instagram. This comment told me that I was achieving my goals of reducing library anxiety through presenting the library as friendly and welcoming on social media.

While at UVic Libraries, I realized how much student engagement and communications go hand-in-hand. All library services could benefit from promotion, and engaging with students can help us strategize student-first communications.


click image to see Instagram video

One of the benefits of this position was how it allowed me to learn about so many facets of the library, from Special Collections to the Centre for Academic Communication to the Digital Scholarship Commons and everything in between. I’ve made so many connections across departments, and the staff at the Libraries have made every day a joy. I feel so fortunate for this opportunity and for all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way.

I’m leaving this position with a passion for helping academic libraries connect with students, especially students facing barriers to library access. Libraries have so much to offer, and one of the major challenges can be communicating those services to the people who could benefit from them. Strong ties between library staff and the people we serve is the best way to ensure we are meeting their needs. I hope to continue this outreach and engagement work in my future career and strive to further develop strategies for connecting with library patrons.

A big thank you to the staff at UVic Libraries, and particularly to Karen and Lisa for their leadership and guidance. It’s been a pleasure!