UH System Libraries Welcome Summer High School Interns

University of Hawaiʻi
Randy Hensley, (808) 956-2474
Public Services Division Head
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: Jul 26, 2002

A group of talented high school seniors are finding out that working in a 21st century academic library means more than shelving books. As summer interns, they are putting their computer and language skills to good use behind the scenes at the UH Mānoa and UH Hilo Libraries.

Five students from Roosevelt, Kaimuki, Kaiser, and McKinley High Schools received an internship opportunity at UH Mānoa, offered through the cooperation of the University of Hawaiʻi and the Department of Education. The program is the brainchild of University Librarian Diane Perushek and UH Vice President for Administration James R.W. "Wick" Sloane.

"Our library faculty and staff welcome these students. We are keen for them to experience interesting work that will make a significant contribution to the Library," says Perushek. "Also, we hope to give them a realistic perspective on librarianship that may encourage them to consider a career in this exciting and challenging profession."

The UH Hilo Library is benefiting from a parallel internship program with two students, Erica Chong and Kainoa Kala, who are learning about technical processing under the direction of Librarian Pat Okamura. On Monday, July 29, the UH Hilo interns will visit UH Mānoa for a library and campus tour and an opportunity to talk story with their UH Mānoa counterparts.

At UH Mānoa, Brianne Haruko Fujioka, Lai Kin Kwong and Randi Akasaki are assigned to the Public Services Division in Hamilton Library where they are involved in testing and evaluating the patron services offered, which include reference, circulation and access, and library user education programs. At the end of the two-month internship, they will propose ways to improve the quality and efficiency of these services.

According to Randi Akasaki, "This program is a lot different from what I expected. I thought I would be shelving books all summer long, but I've actually been doing a variety of things, learning skills that will be useful in the future."

Bonny Kwan and Shao Yu Lin are visiting all the departments in the Collection Services Division where library materials are ordered and prepared for patron use. They are getting hands-on experience with their duties in this area including receiving requests to order books, preserving unique manuscripts, and receiving books, journals, CDs, and videos ordered from publishers and vendors all over the world, including several cartons of books from the Library of Congress Office in India.

Their language knowledge is also very handy for the library staff — both speak Chinese. Chinese cataloger K.T. Yao introduced the two students to "RLIN," the Research Libraries Information Network. They log on and search among millions of records for cataloging data to match the Chinese books in hand. If they find a match, the library uses that data and saves the expense of creating its own.

All involved hope this will become an annual program. As Brianne Fujioka says, "This is a good program to introduce the youngest generation to the possibility of a career in the library system. I know that in each department, I learned a bit more of how the library functions and how many tasks there are."