Elkhorn South High School graduates Katie Hanson and Joseph Paetz had a busy summer. After having volunteered with Omaha Public Library (OPL) during previous summers, this year they applied to be interns – a position available at only seven of OPL’s 12 locations.
Hanson interned at Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch and Paetz interned at Millard Branch. Each was responsible for a variety of different tasks and activities. They worked on everything from emptying the book drop and reshelving, to helping people with Summer Reading Program registration and events. Paetz was pivotal in the naming contest for the Millard Branch pet snake, Cornelia Snakespeare.
OPL received funds to employ the interns through the Nebraska Library Commission as part of the Institute of Museum and Library Services‘ 21st Century Librarian program, designed to “increase awareness about the library profession and the opportunities for employment in Nebraska libraries.” Of the 30 summer internship applicants, library staff narrowed down the field by selecting individuals who were not already in a library science program and who expressed or displayed experience with reading, teaching and customer service. Having grown up in libraries, Hanson and Paetz were both outstanding candidates.
“Joseph was a wonderful addition to the Millard Branch staff this summer,” said his supervisor Melanie Webb. “His mathmatical mind was a great asset to many of the programs I planned for OPL’s science-themed Summer Reading Program.”
Elkhorn Branch supervisor Brianna Wright was pleased with Hanson as well. “Katie was always willing to help wherever we needed and was a very quick learner. The children enjoyed her enthusiasm during storytimes and programs.”
Following the conclusion of their internships, Hanson and Paetz were grateful for the experience of learning how a library works and about all the library has to offer. They will be putting that knowledge and experience to the test as they begin their freshman year in college at Carnegie Mellon University.
It would be a strange coincidence to have two OPL summer interns leaving Omaha for college in Pennsylvania if the pair weren’t such good friends. “We’ve been in school together since we were kids. Our parents are family friends,” Hanson explained.
Hanson plans to study mathematics and Paetz plans to study computer science, but neither are certain yet where those academic fields will take them, though a doctoral degree and robotics did make their way into the conversation. Hanson is most looking forward to the new experiences and challenges that await at Carnegie Mellon. Paetz feels the same way, and echoed with, “…and meeting cool people!”
We’re counting on them meeting some of those cool people at their library. “People at the library are always willing to help!” said Hanson.