UDPL began hosting Public Library Interns starting in summer 2014. Our interns have become a vital part of the library, team assisting us during the busiest library season of the year. Interns learn all about working at a busy and bustling public library, while we learn about the latest trends in library services. It’s been such a great experience that we have started offering internships throughout the year, not just in the summer.
This year, we’re very happy to be working with Gigi Zhang, our 2018 Public Library Intern. Gigi started at UDPL in May, and has already become a much valued member of the team, with her sharp intelligence, friendliness, and humor! Next time you’re in the library, say “hi” to Gigi and welcome her to UDPL!
Name: Gigi Zhang
Roots & Background: Gigi’s family settled in the United States in 2001, moving to Philadelphia from China when she was nine years old. Along with English, Gigi is fluent in three Chinese dialects: Mandarin, Cantonese, and Kaipingnese. She attended Penn State, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English Education in 2014. After college, she worked at the State Theater in State College. She is currently attending the University of Pittsburgh for her Master’s degree in Library & Information Science.
Hobbies: Gigi enjoys writing, particularly in the diary and journal style. She also loves to travel, hang out with friends and try new things. Gigi is a music aficionado; she likes to listen to music and also play the guitar and sing, too!
Top Travel Destination: New York City. “I can go there a lot of times and not get bored.”
Favorite Food: Gigi is a fan of smoothies and vegetarian dishes, and likes to experiment to create new delicious and healthy combinations.
Currently Watching: “I like to watch documentaries to learn about what’s happening in the world.”
Reading Habits: “I read basically everything except for mystery and horror. I don’t read scary stuff, but I guess I should be open to it. I’ve read a lot of young adult fiction, and I also like to read science books and learn about physics and other science topics. I basically read anything that I can just keep reading and doesn’t bore me; I’m not a picky reader.”
Early Library Memories: Gigi first started going to the Free Library of Philadelphia shortly after she moved to the city. “Ever since I moved here, I started going to the library close to the elementary school I attended. That’s where I was tutored by volunteers at the Free Library of Philadelphia for a year or two, and became more fluent in English. I stopped after a while and still went to the library to browse books and borrow movies and stuff.”
Library Experience: Gigi volunteered at the Schlow Regional Library in State College and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She has experience reading with children, shelving, and assisting with general library circulation duties. She plans to continue volunteering at the Carnegie Library when she’s back in Pittsburgh.
Most Used Library Services: “I listen to audiobooks on Overdrive. I like Hoopla, too, it has a lot of audiobooks that Overdrive doesn’t have. Because I’m taking children’s resources next semester, I’M also trying to read more children’s books and watch more juvenile DVDs. Also, my mom is using BookFlix, because she’s learning English and she likes it a lot. I really like the ESL class; that was one of my favorite days at the library, sitting in Mary’s class.”
Tell us about your internship at UDPL so far: “I really enjoy working with the kids, shadowing Jenn (Roberts, Head of Children’s Services) and Molly (Kane, Head of Teen & Emerging Tech) on that side of the library. I also enjoy circulation and reference, seeing what comes in and out, what people are interested in… just the serendipity of new things that happen to you at the library. Also, helping patrons, just talking to them, that’s a lot of fun for me. When I help people with computers and stuff, that’s enjoyable, and talking to patrons about books. I like reader’s advisory; it makes me want to read more, so I have more to contribute. Overall, I just have a longer list of books to read and movies to watch!” Gigi also mentioned she can’t wait for the Star Wars themed Summer Quest Kick-Off on Saturday, June 23rd.
Library Love: “I definitely want to stay in (librarianship.) (The internship) definitely affirms my belief in libraries and I just want to keep working at a library. Everyone here is really kind and I work with a lot of thoughtful and kind people and I really appreciate it. I don’t know what else I would be doing. I think all the books and materials here really effect people and change lives, and I really like that we’re here for the community.”