My first day was overwhelming—meeting lots of new people who were all very welcoming, and learning about all the different departments and what each department does to help run the daily programs of the library.
All of the information was eye-opening because there are so many great opportunities within the library that can set you up for success! For example, most of the librarians who were relaying their story said they started off as messenger clerks or volunteers and fell in love with librarianship. The different departments have something for every person's interests like math, science, art, English/literature and more.
One common theme is that all of the workers work towards this one goal of serving, improving, and giving back to the community. I first heard about the Diversity and Inclusion Apprenticeship (DAIA) through an email my high school college counselor forwarded to me. At first, I didn't give it much thought and I just applied because I thought it would be a good opportunity. I thought I was not going to get the position because I felt I wasn't qualified and didn't have any experience. However, the program is great because they assign you a mentor who guides and encourages you and they're an expert in the field.
Wow is all I can say! When I first stepped into the library after years of not being here, I was amazed at how much it has changed and all that it has to offer. Sitting through a master class has opened my eyes in terms of how much the library does for the community. I did not know about many of the programs such as Live Homework Help (free online tutoring), Read, Baby, Read (early literacy support for new parents), New Americans (assistance for those applying for citizenship), Career Online High School (online degree program) and the DTLA Mini Maker Faire that happened last year, which had over 8,000 people in attendance. Through this apprenticeship I hope to gain long-lasting friendships and a community who believes in me.
I also want to learn more about administrative work, the different departments, funding, and potentially sit in on a meeting. Overall, it has made me appreciate librarians more and most importantly, this program is debunking the stereotypes that librarians do nothing but read all day or are volunteers because actually librarians are highly educated and need a Master’s degree to even work in a specific department.
Written by Kacie Solomon
Kacie is a member of the 2019 cohort of LA Public Library Diversity and Inclusion Apprentices and a rising junior at UC Irvine, majoring in Education. Her focus is on Young Adult Services and her capstone project involves hosting e-resource workshops for teens.
—Candice Mack, Managing Librarian, Systemwide Teen Services