Saying Goodbye to the UEF Library Internship

As I find myself at the doorstep of my final week in the “pool of knowledge” that is the UEF Library, it’s hard to believe how quickly the last two months have passed. It feels like just yesterday that I started my journey as a trainee, and what a journey it has been. This experience has been nothing short of amazing, and I can’t help but reflect on the incredible wealth of knowledge and the valuable insights I’ve gained while here.

When I first stepped into this library during my internship, I was an eager second-year Master in IT student. If I could turn back time, I wish I knew about all the services and opportunities this library offers from the moment I set foot on campus as a first-year student. As I prepare to dive into my thesis work, I now understand just how crucial the library is in accessing research materials, publications, and electronic books through resources like UEF Primo. It’s more than just a storage of books; it’s a valuable collection of resources that can guide the direction of one’s academic journey. I credit my recently acquired insight to the incredible staff members who make it all happen. The dedication, passion, and hard work they put into their roles in different departments are truly admirable. Without them, the library wouldn’t be the dynamic centre of learning that it is.

Michael Gebremedhin stands in front of a lending machine in hall 2A of Joensuu Campus Library.
Michael Gebremedhin lending a book using the lending machine in hall 2A of Joensuu Campus Library.

During my time here, I had the opportunity to explore various aspects of library operations. I gained valuable insights into Training and Information Services, where I witnessed how knowledge is distributed and shared effectively. The Collection Services team taught me how they take care of all the books and materials in the library. I also saw how the library’s extensive communication channels, are vital for connecting with the academic community. IT and Publishing Services provided me with a newfound understanding of the technological backbone that supports the library’s digital resources.

However, my journey didn’t stop there. I had the privilege of attending important meetings, where I met inspiring individuals like Rafaella Lenoir Improta, a Ph.D. holder, during the YERUN research mobility visit at UEF. I also had the chance to interact with Marko Aupic from the University of Ljubljana, who shared insights about the Erasmus Exchange Programme. One of the memorable highlights of this internship was the opportunity to travel to Kuopio with Marko. It was an experience that not only expanded my network but also allowed me to appreciate the diversity of academic opportunities available within the UEF community.

My journey as an intern in this library has been nothing short of awesome. I’ve grown both personally and academically, and I’m very grateful for the experiences and knowledge I’ve gained. As I bid farewell to this incredible place, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all the library staff members. Your interest, dedication, and warm acceptance have made this experience truly special. You are the heart and soul of this place, and I’m grateful for the support and guidance you’ve provided.

My time at the UEF Library has been a journey in the world of knowledge, and it’s a journey that I’ll carry with me throughout my academic pursuits. It’s a farewell, but it’s also the beginning of new chapters in my academic and professional life. Thank you, UEF Library, for being an essential part of my journey.

Michael Gebremedhin, Intern

Unlocking opportunities – My evolution from student to UEF Library intern

My name is Michael Tekeste Gebremedhin, and I’m delighted to share my exciting journey as an intern at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) Library in Joensuu. It’s been an incredible three weeks, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

My journey to UEF was not without its challenges. In my first year of studying IT, I arrived in Finland later than expected due to some visa issues. This setback meant that I had to take on a heavy workload to catch up on the courses I missed. As a result, I spend most of my time working at home, but when I do come to the library, it’s primarily as a student racing to complete assignments and projects, rather than reading books.

Despite the initial difficulties, I saw this late start as an opportunity for a fresh beginning. It pushed me to develop a strong sense of discipline and time management. I learned to navigate the complexities of coursework and exams efficiently. My late arrival, which seemed like a setback at first, turned into a valuable lesson in resilience and adaptability.

Over time, I began to appreciate the library not just as a place to study under pressure, but as a hub of knowledge and resources. It became a space where I could refine my IT skills and seek assistance when needed. While my focus remained on catching up academically, I couldn’t help but notice the wealth of information and inspiration that surrounded me in those hushed library halls.

Fast forward to today, and I find myself in a completely different role – an intern at the UEF library. Over the past three weeks, I’ve come to realize just how much this place has to offer, beyond being a study hub. The library is a treasure trove of knowledge, with an extensive collection of both electronic and hardcopy books that pique my interest as an IT student.

One of the first things that struck me about the UEF library is the warmth and friendliness of its staff members. They went out of their way to ensure I didn’t feel like an outsider. Instead, they welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like an integral part of the team.

As an intern in the library world, I’ve been on a big learning journey. Initially, the library’s system platform felt like uncharted territory, but my supervisor Marja Kuittinen has shown remarkable patience and support in helping me navigate it. I’ve gained knowledge in various facets of library operations, such as UEF-Primo, which is the library’s digital resource and search platform, as well as Library Services and Communication Functions. I’ve also been involved in training and information services, and even had the opportunity to learn about collection services, including the interesting task of shelving books based on the codes assigned to them. This learning experience encompassed both theoretical understanding and hands-on application. And, by the way, I can’t help but why do the letters ‘V’ and ‘W’ get treated the same when it comes to sorting author names on books? It is a little funny!

Intern Michael Gebremedhin in a library collection hall. Michael is standing between two shelves and holding an open book in his hands.
Michael in the UEF library.

Fortunately, I had the chance to attend the presentation on Friday, September 8th, 2023, when my supervisor introduced bibliometrics to Rafaella Lenoir Improta, who holds a PhD and came from the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain, during her visit to Finland. It was truly an amazing experience!

My time as a library intern at UEF has been a remarkable journey of learning and growth. I’ve gone from a student who primarily used the library as a quiet place to study to someone who now appreciates the immense value it offers in terms of knowledge and community. I am grateful for the warm welcome and the guidance I’ve received from the library staff, and I look forward to continuing this adventure as I dive deeper into the world of books and information.

Oh, I forgot to mention the exciting part – I’ve also had the incredible opportunity to immerse myself in learning Finnish! It’s truly amazing to discover and embrace new words and phrases every single day. Learning a new language is like unlocking a treasure trove of knowledge, I’m enthusiastically expanding my language skills with every passing moment.

These initial weeks were nothing short of enjoyable. I’m excited to share my full experience with you at the end of these two months when I’ll have had the chance to delve even deeper into the world of libraries. So, stay tuned for my upcoming blog post where I’ll recount my adventures, discoveries, and the lessons learned along the way. The journey has just begun, and I can’t wait to take you along with me.

“The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” – Albert Einstein

Michael Gebremedhin, Intern

Harjoittelijan jäähyväiset | Farewell from the intern

(Please scroll down to read in English.)

Kahden kuukauden mittainen työharjoitteluni Joensuun kampuskirjastossa alkaa lähentyä loppuaan, joten on hyvä hetki koota jonkinlainen tiivistelmä siitä mitä kaikkea olen täällä viettämänäni aikana tehnyt, kokenut ja oppinut.

Taustatietona voisin kertoa että opiskelen pääaineena englantia täällä Itä-Suomen yliopistossa, jonka lisäksi olen tehnyt informaatiotutkimuksen opintoja sivuaineena. Harjoittelu kirjastossa tuntui siis koulutustaustaani sopivalta, ja koska kirjastoalan työt kiinnostavat minua tulevaisuudessakin olin iloinen päästessäni harjoitteluun juuri tänne. On ollut mielenkiintoista nähdä mitä kaikkea yliopistokirjastossa tehdään ja minkälaisia työnkuvia ja työtehtäviä täällä työskentelevillä on.

Rakenteeltaan harjoittelu on ollut monipuolinen, sillä sen aikana olen tutustunut useaan eri palveluun kirjaston sisällä, kuten tietoaineistopalveluun, asiakaspalveluun, opetus- ja tietopalveluun, verkko- ja julkaisupalveluun sekä hallintoon. Tämän lisäksi olen saanut tehdäkseni monenlaisia työtehtäviä, kuten hyllyttämistä, aineiston poistoja, blogikäännöksiä sekä äänivyöhykekyselyn suunnittelua ja toteuttamista. Harjoitteluun kuuluivat lisäksi vierailut vapaakappalevarastoon sekä Kuopion kampuskirjastoon ja KYSin tieteelliseen kirjastoon. Tällä viikolla teimme myös Joensuussa ensi viikolla järjestettäviin Optiikan ja fotoniikan päiviin liittyen aineistonoston Primoon. Kannattaa käydä tsekkaamassa!

Kokonaisuudessaan koko harjoittelun ajan olen saanut vastaanottaa todella paljon uutta tietoa. Kirjaston eri palveluihin perehtymisen lisäksi olen oppinut lisää esimerkiksi avoimesta tieteestä sekä tekoälyn hyödyntämisestä kirjaston arjessa. Kirjaston sisällä tehtävän työn monipuolisuus on yllättänyt ja en aiemmin tiennytkään miten paljon kaikenlaista kirjaston niin sanotusti kulisseissa tapahtuu.

Aika on kulunut nopeasti ja olen todella nauttinut harjoittelustani täällä. Kirjastolaisilla on todella lämminhenkinen työilmapiiri ja koin itseni tervetulleeksi tänne koko harjoittelun ajan alusta loppuun. Suuri kiitos kaikille minua perehdyttäneille ja muutenkin koko kirjaston henkilökunnalle!

Nainen katsoo kameraan kirjahyllyjen välissä. Woman looking at the camera between book shelves.
Harjoittelija kirjastossa. | Intern at the library. Kuva | Photo: Sofi Timonen

My two-month internship at Joensuu campus library is nearing its end, so it is a perfect time to summarize and share what I have done, learned and experienced during the time I have spent here.

To give a brief background, I major in English at UEF, in addition to which I have done minor studies on information science. Therefore, an internship at the library fitted my academic background perfectly, and since I am considering to further my career within the library field in the future as well, I was extremely glad to be able to do my internship here. I have found it quite fascinating to experience the life of an academic library and to see firsthand what kind of both daily and long-term tasks the library employees have.

Structurally the internship has been diverse, and I have been able to get acquainted with various services within the library, such as collections, customer service, training and information services, research support and publishing, as well as library administration. In addition to this I have been given some work to do on my own, such as shelfing, material removals, blog text translations, and formatting and conducting the sound zones questionnaire. During the internship we also visited the legal deposit unit in Joensuu, as well as Kuopio campus library and KUH Medical Library. Just this week we also compiled and launched an exhibition on UEF Primo, in regards to the Optics and Photonics days that will be held at UEF next week. Do go check it out!

Overall, the internship has been packed with new information for me to internalize. In addition to the introductions to different services within the library, I have learnt more about open science and the application of AI to the library’s daily services, for instance. The diversity of the work that is done within the library has suprised me – prior the internship I was not aware of the myriad of things that happen behind the scenes.

My time here has gone by incredibly fast, and these two months have been an absolute pleasure. The working environment here at the library is remarkably warm and heartfelt, and I felt welcome to be here throughout the whole internship. I want to offer big thanks to everybody who has shown me around, and to the whole library staff for everything you do!

Riina Rautiainen, harjoittelija | intern