The Residency Diaries: Paige Alfonzo’s Experience at Santa Barbara City College

Ever since I graduated from the University of North Texas, I have looked into many different avenues of librarianship. As a recent graduate with little professional librarian experience, I was concerned about obtaining a permanent track position right off the bat. After reading about the benefits of library residencies on the ALA Joblist newsletter, I applied for the brand new library residency program at Santa Barbara City College’s Luria Library.

I was specifically interested in Luria for many reasons, the main one being that Luria is a community college library. I really wanted to have the opportunity to work with students from a diverse learning background. Coming from a community college background myself, I have a firsthand experience of the many benefits of a community college library. The second reason was the fact that Luria seemed to be a very enthusiastic, student-centered library. They received ACRL’s 2011 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award for their use of innovative technologies among many other things.

Luria was looking for an individual who was a recent graduate and wanted to specifically focus on community college librarianship. The position offered the opportunity to work in all areas of the library including instruction, outreach, technical services, and donations. I interviewed for the position via Skype* and was elated when I was offered the residency. So, I picked up my belongings in the Lone Star State and headed off to the Golden State. My first week at Luria was a whirlwind of activity. Coming in as a new librarian from out of state took a lot of getting used to but I was very excited to delve into all the activity. During my first few weeks I worked in several library departments including circulation, outreach, reference, technical services, as well as with the library director. The different rotations helped me acclimate to the library.

We just had our edible books festival which was a lot of fun to be a part of. There were so many amazing book creations and the event really helped open doors regarding library outreach. What’s great about the edible book festival is that not only do the community, faculty, and students have a chance to be involved, but vocational departments that do not use the library as often have the opportunity to participate as well. Currently, I am working on creating READ posters of students and staff for our ACRL award party. I will soon be working on gathering stats on student use in the library in order to better cater to the students’ needs. I have also started on weeding and collection development with Luria’s outreach librarian. I have and continue to learn so many new methods and techniques at Luria and I think the opportunity to work as a librarian in different departments in a smaller library has been a huge benefit. As a new graduate this experience has been extremely important in preparing me for a permanent position; it has also allowed me to explore what exactly I like and dislike in the library information science field.

My position is a semester long residency and I am very excited to be a part of Luria Library. I am so impressed with the enthusiasm of the librarians I work with. Their main focus is on the students, which I feel should be the number one priority in every library. After my residency I will be traveling to Peru to install Koha integrated library systems in elementary school libraries. After Peru I hope to be able to work as a reference/outreach librarian in Austin, Texas.

*You can view my library resident YouTube video describing my position etc.

4 thoughts on “The Residency Diaries: Paige Alfonzo’s Experience at Santa Barbara City College

  1. Kazue Morrison says:

    Hello Paige,

    It was great having you @ Luria Library.
    You did a great job and I will miss your beautiful smile.

    All the best, Kazue

  2. Michele Wyngard says:

    Congratulations, Paige, what a great experience! I’m also interested in community college libraries, especially since they’re the educational center of an adult community. I imagine finding a way to meet the variety of information needs present in such a diverse group is quite a challenge.

    I’m curious about your next venture- installing Koha ILS in elementary school libraries. How did you come across that opportunity?


  3. Paige says:

    Hi Michele Wyngard,
    Sorry for the delay in my response! The venture in Peru actually ended up installing Mandarin 3 software instead of Koha. Mandarin 3 is also an open source ILS. I came across the opportunity through my school’s study abroad program. It was truly a unique opportunity and am working on a blog post about all my adventures. I will keep you updated when it’s posted!

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