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SLIS student interns at the Library of Congress

Posted October 23, 2018
By Ashley Busnuk, communications graduate assistant


Patrice Green explored potential careers through one of the most prestigious summer internships in the country. Green, a master’s student pursuing a dual degree in public history and library and information science at USC, was one of 40 students selected from across the country to spend their summer working within the walls of the Library of Congress as part of the library’s junior fellowship program.

Green worked in the LOC’s manuscript division, which holds personal and institutional records, including the papers of Thurgood Marshall, Alexander Graham Bell and the Presidential Papers.

Some of her main duties were to page materials for patrons, assist them with their research, and answer reference questions via Ask a Librarian, the library’s online assistance tool. She got acquainted with technologies new and old, including some of the newer microfilm readers, an overhead scanner and an electric typewriter.

“It has certainly been one of those life-changing experiences,” Green says. “Everything else I have wanted to do hasn’t felt quite right, like something was off, like I was almost onto something. Performing reference felt right, and it was the first time I felt in control of myself in years.” 

The position allowed for professional development opportunities, and she was even able to meet Dr. Carla Hayden, the first woman and the first African-American to serve as Librarian of Congress. 

Green grew up on her grandparents’ farm in Roanoke, Alabama, where — as many librarians do — she discovered her love for books. She was enamored with museums and the decorative arts and wanted to be part of that world, so she chose public history for her college degree as well.

She completed her bachelor’s in English with a minor in history from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. At USC, she is on the MLIS program’s archives and preservation management track but has a love for reference and a growing interest in administration and knowledge management for libraries, archives, museums and performing arts.

Because of modern librarianship’s multifaceted nature, Green has found it vital to get in as much experience as possible to be taken seriously post-graduation. She has worked for the South Caroliniana Library, Historic Columbia and with the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Currently, she is a graduate assistant at the university’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research.

Green was also named a Diversity Scholar for the Association of Research Libraries, which is a program intended to help diversify the field of library science. The program selects 15-20 individuals to participate in a two-year cohort that provides mentorships, a trip to a member library, financial support and a trip to a leadership symposium.

“As much as we talk about diversity and inclusion, it’s still not happening at the rate needed to impact the field,” Green says. “People of color and those from marginalized communities have the ability to facilitate scholarly research and discourse  they just need the opportunity to show the world. This program delegates that opportunity.”

In the future, she hopes to have a career in government as a reference librarian or a historian working with manuscript materials or rare books/special collections. She said she’d be happy to land a job in an academic library, too. 


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Ashley Busnuk

Ashley Busnuk is a first-year graduate M.M.C. student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is a graduate assistant in the communications office and a journalism teaching assistant. Busnuk is working towards a career in marketing and creative advertising in the tourism industry.