For our first Student Spotlight, I spoke to Zoe D., a senior double majoring in Public Health and Biology with a minor in French. Zoe started working as a Curator and Student Monitor at the Sheridan Libraries’ Department of Special Collections in the Spring of her freshman year after meeting upperclassmen who had worked there. Here’s what she had to say about her job:
Emily H.: What are your job responsibilities?
Zoe D.: Primarily, I serve as a receptionist and a monitor for our rare books reading room. I also perform tasks related to the transportation, organization, cataloging, and maintenance of our books and archival materials, and have curated multiple exhibits – both physical and electronic. I also help to maintain our social media presence, as well as plan and market our events.
EH: What skills have you gained from working in Special Collections?
ZD: My knowledge about rare books and manuscripts has been thoroughly deepened, and I’ve also learned how to successfully perform research with primary sources and how such documents should be approached and handled. More broadly, I’ve also developed marketing and event planning skills as well as customer service.
EH: How does your experience in this position relate back to your academic and personal interests?
ZD: Working in Special Collections has helped me connect more with French materials and kept me connected to my often-neglected French minor. I’ve even gotten the chance to use my French skills in a couple of translation projects for the department!
EH: How has working shaped your Hopkins experience?
ZD: Starting this job my freshman year definitely shaped how I handled time management at Hopkins. Since I gave up some free time, I had to set aside more time specifically for studying. Luckily, this job has a lot of downtime during which I can study. The free printing is also a huge plus.
EH: Do you have any advice for job-seeking students or younger student employees?
ZD: Ask upperclassmen in your clubs or activities whether they know of any opportunities. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to potential employers – even if the position isn’t posted, they may still have a spot for you. Be very clear about time commitment and scheduling – your schedules are subject to change constantly while in college, so be prepared to negotiate and maintain communication with your supervisor.
EH: Anything else we should know about Special Collections?
ZD: Our most popular event of the year, the Edible Books Festival, is coming up on March 31st! Enter a literary-themed dessert and you could win fantastic gift cards to local establishments. Plus, there will be free food!
Want to learn more about Special Collections? Visit Zoe at the Special Collections Reading Room on M Level in Brody Learning Commons, take a look at their Flickr page, or follow @jhuspecialcollections on Instagram!