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  • Library page intern program helps people take first step onto career ladder

    Mar 09, 2023 | Read More News
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     gloria poore main
    Gloria Poore got her start with the Pima County Public Library as a page intern. She is
    now a full-time library technical assistant at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library.
    Gloria Poore thought she was just doing her job when she decided to work late one evening to help a customer.

    Poore, who was working at the Martha Cooper Library in central Tucson, assisted the woman with printing some documents. For Poore, it was all in a day’s work.

    But for the woman those printouts of her medical records were a necessary step toward receiving cancer treatment. It was a task that took Poore moments to complete, but it meant the world to the woman.

    Poore is one of dozens of permanent, full-time employees in the Pima County Public Library system who got their start through the library page internship program. She started in October 2021 at the Murphy-Wilmot Library and has since been promoted twice, collecting valuable experience along the way working at several county libraries.

    Library pages have traditionally been seen as student workers, but thanks to a partnership between the Library and the Pima County One-Stop, the positions are now open to people of all ages. The One-Stop is part of the County's Community & Workforce Development Department.

    The libraries launched an intern program for youth in 2009, but it was revamped after the COVID-19 pandemic. The new and improved program expanded to give adults the chance to land a permanent, full-time position. 

    “The focus is on giving people jobs,” said Michelle Simon, deputy director of the library.

    Candidates are referred to the library by the One-Stop. The library then interviews candidates and One-Stop handles the onboarding process.

    “It was my first job and I was being trained to do everything while wearing a mask,” Poore said.

    She was nervous at first, but she quickly realized that her fellow library staff members were always there to answer her questions or lend a hand when she needed it.

     gloria poore secondary
    Poore said the library page intern program "definitely builds skills for the future, like
    leadership and dealing with all kinds of people." 
    “The page program definitely builds skills for the future, like leadership and dealing with all kinds of people,” Poore said.

    During the 2021-22 fiscal year, the County hired about 80 people through the library page program. Simon said the program was a little “too successful,” leaving One-Stop overwhelmed, so the library is aiming to hire about 60 people by the end of the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

    The program is designed to last 300 hours or 16 weeks, whichever comes first. Simon said the internship is part-time and offers flexible scheduling, which is ideal for anyone who is going to school or who has retired from a full-time career.

    During their tenure, interns get two evaluations – one at about eight weeks and the other at about 14 weeks. If they’re approved, they’re hired permanently as library pages. Once hired, a library page learns more about the inner workings of the library, including programming, processes and procedures. From there, Simon said, they can be promoted to full-time positions with benefits.

    “This is one way we can dedicate jobs to people at One-Stop and get them moving up the career ladder,” she said.

    Simon said it helps interns develop important job skills while enabling the library to keep books shelved and help patrons more efficiently.

    “If you don’t have them, things take a lot longer,” she said. “It helps the flow of the library.”

    The program also helps interns get to know all the resources offered by the library and — in some cases — exposes them to different possible careers.

    “It’s a great way to introduce them to the world that’s out there and to what they might want to do in their career,” Simon said. “The library encourages multiple paths.”

    Anisah Duarte Limon is a geoscience student at Pima Community College and a library page at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library downtown.

    She said the past seven months as a library page in the accounting office — where she files, copies and scans documents — have given her many insights into everything the library has to offer.

    “I’ve gotten to know a lot of the processes of what accountants do,” she said. “And I didn’t realize we had all these resources and programs to help people. I learn something new every day.”

    When Poore started, she had already earned two associate’s degrees in information technology and homeland security. She was able to apply what she learned in school to the job by helping patrons use the computers and teaching other interns how to do the same.

    It got to the point that patrons at each library she worked at started specifically requesting her when they encountered computer issues.

    Poore was promoted to the position of library technical assistant in August, close to the time she earned a bachelor’s degree in emergency and disaster management. She is now working at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library. When she gets a free moment, she said, she likes to use that time to help the current interns.

    “I know how much it helped me when I was a page,” she said.

    Limon, who previously worked at a crystal shop, takes pride in her job at the library. She said it’s different from working in retail and gave her firsthand experience working in an office setting.

    “I think it’ll help with your career, taking it more seriously,” she said.

    Anyone interested in applying for the library page intern program can find more information on the library’s website.