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
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
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
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.
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.