Guest Blogger

So…what’s it like to intern at ALSC?

Whenever I talk to my fellow library science graduate students at Dominican University about my internship at ALSC, they always ask–what do I do? What is my daily life like? What am I learning? I thought maybe other student ALSC members or librarians who have assistants or interns might wonder the same thing.

The fact is, I do a ton of different stuff! ALSC does amazing things, from their blog to online professional development to Every Child Ready to Read to the ALSC Youth and Media awards and more– and there are only 7 staff members (AKA ALSC superheroes)!

I’m a list person, so I’m going to break down my work into a few general categories:


1.) Manage award submissions. This category includes one of my favorite things– opening packages of new books! As I process the books and media, I learn what the industry is publishing, the diversity of art forms, and the characteristics of different publishers. Logistically, this part of my job means keeping printed file folders and binders, along with managing electronic submissions. It requires time management and organization because there are many different awards, but it is also super fun.

2.) Answer email and phone calls: With something significant like annual awards, there are always bunches of questions about the submission process. Also, I receive messages from librarians and others who have very interesting questions. On one of my favorite days, a teacher asked about the dimensions and weight of the Caldecott medal. I asked my manager how to answer this question, and I got to take out the actual Caldecott medal from a locked case, hold it in my hand, and measure it! Pretty amazing, right?

3.) Edit the ALSC website. During my first week on the job, I was trained to use Drupal. So when something needs to be more clear or updated on a page, I can go in and fix it!

4.) Manage the 75th Anniversary Caldecott merchandise. Have you ordered a T-shirt, a mug, or a tote bag this fall? I was the one sending it out to you! This involves keeping an Excel spreadsheet of orders, processing receipts and such to our accounting department, and sending out the product through our mail department. Lots of collaboration and moving around the building (I looooove getting up from the desk and walking!) This part of my job finishes at the end of the year.

5.) File things. Yup, I do! While this can be challenging at times (because it is dealing with numbers and fine details…and I’m totes not a math person), I have learned so much about the organization through filing receipts. Budgeting and keeping track of accounts really helps me understand how a business works, and I think this will help me in any library job in the future.

6.) Miscellaneous projects. This is another favorite thing of mine. I love random projects, because they break things up and make the job dynamic and ever-changing! Whether it’s digging up an old copy of Children & Libraries or helping out with a project for the upcoming Morris Seminar, I’m just up for anything.

What’s particularly wonderful about my internship is that I can decide how I spend my time. I can prioritize, I can take a break from a project and switch it up, or I can jump into something new.   

I feel very honored and blessed to have the opportunity to work with the national organization that represents our profession, and every person that I work with at ALSC is intelligent, talented, and dedicated. Rather than just have me get coffee, each member of the staff is caring and committed to making my internship experience one in which I learn, experience, and grow.

In fact, sometimes the staff asks me if I want a refill on coffee because they are headed downstairs!

YES…we get free coffee. Including Hazelnut, my ultimate fav.


Today’s guest blogger is Katie Clausen. Katie is in her second year of library school at Dominican University in River Forest, IL, where she focuses on Youth Services.  In September 2013, she started an internship at ALSC. You can read Katie’s blog at:

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

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