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Internship at the State Library

A photograph of the sunset

Josephine Larative shares her recent experiences as a Library intern.

My midyear break was stimulating and culturally engaging. It was the perfect way to invigorate my mind and deepen my connection with Sydney. Each day I woke early to walk my dog, watch the sunrise and head into town to spend the day at the Library as part of my professional placement with Charles Sturt University. This amazing opportunity enabled me to observe, interact, create and learn with two divisions of the Library: Information and Access and Learning Services.

During my time with Learning Services I interacted with children and family members, attended special events and worked behind the scenes planning a learning activity. During the ‘Kids at the State Library’ week I was fortunate to join a variety of activities and workshops. 

The exterior of the State Library of NSW

Arriving at the State Library of NSW

“Libraries inspire” (Gisolfi, 2019), the building design and appeal of the environment and the way users and library staff interact largely influences the experience. It was inspiring to interact with the Learning Services staff and children who attended the school holiday activities. The high level of services provided, engagement of the staff with children and family members, as well as being in a space that was attractive, stimulating and functional created an experience that was enriching.

Working behind the scenes for Learning Services allowed me to explore the ‘Paintings from the Collection’ exhibition in order to select a range of artworks that would be suited for a learning activity. Time to discover and closely observe paintings from the Library's collection that were on display was inspiring. In addition, the paintings could be viewed digitally, enabling zooming in to examine in detail aspects of each composition. Linking the learning activity with Stage 2 English allowed for a focus of learning related to visual texts and visual grammar terminology. This activity is now available Visual Grammar: Responding to historical paintings 

Commitment to learning and near completion of the Master of Education Teacher Librarianship course at Charles Sturt University has provided me with strength and direction to adapt, and allowed me to enhance my commitment as a teacher librarian. The two weeks at the Library was inspirational, I have grown from the experience, and I am energised and excited about what is ahead.

By Josephine Larative



Gisolfi, P. (2019). Trends in public library design from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Public Library Quarterly. 1-19. doi:10.1080/01616846.2019.1582268

Saunders, L.; & Ung, T. (2017). Striving for success in the reference interview: A case study. The Reference Librarian. 58(1), 46-66. doi:10.1080/02763877.2016.1157778