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Cooper-Davis Fellow gets a world of experience

Dec 4, 2012 2:22 PM

When Caroline Sanders chose a minor in library science as an undergraduate, she didn't know it would have a major influence on her life.

“Business management majors have to choose a minor study area," said Sanders, who completed her bachelor's degree in business management at USC in May 2012. “I worked at a library one summer when I was in high school and I enjoyed it, so my advisor suggested library science as a minor. I loved that first library science course, and now I’m getting a master’s degree in it.”

Sanders is the recipient of this year’s Cooper-Davis Fellowship for Under-Represented Groups in Librarianship, co-sponsored by Thomas Cooper Library and the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).

As a Cooper-Davis Fellow, Sanders will receive training and mentoring to serve as an active participant in departments throughout Thomas Cooper Library.

“I’ll spend one semester working in Reference, one semester in Cataloging and Processing, and one semester in Collections and Acquisitions,” she said. “It has been fun and informative so far, and it really adds to my previous library experience. That first library job was as a summer reading assistant in my hometown of Union, S.C. That is a great little library – it was named Best Small Library in 2009 – and I loved the work."

Sanders is rotating on a semester basis through public services, technical services, and collection development, gaining practical experience in many facets of librarianship.

“An experience like this fellowship will teach me a little about every area in an academic library,” she said. “The field is always changing, so I’ll have to keep up with the changes, but this fellowship will give me a good overview of the field and a solid foundation of knowledge about how academic libraries work. And since this is my first time living on my own, the stipend is helping with everything, even basic needs like food and gasoline.”

Though she’s worked in the Libraries for just a few weeks so far, students already ask for her by name at the Reference Desk.

“My friends and my friends’ friends know that I’m in graduate school to become a librarian, so when they need help with their research, they come to me," she said. "I like it because I like to help people find the information they need.”

To qualify for the Cooper-Davis Fellowship, candidates must be fully admitted to the master’s program in the School of Library and Information Science, be a member of an under-represented group in librarianship, and be able to work 15 hours per week for 40 weeks in the University Libraries. Benefits include a stipend, a tuition discount, and professional experience in a major research library.

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