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Internship at Stirling Council Library Headquarters

April 21st, 2017 | Posted in Internships | Comments Off on Internship at Stirling Council Library Headquarters
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Hi, I’m Helene. I’m interning at the Library HQ. Yeah, the HQ, yeah. It’s really cool, it’s the HQ you know, such a cool word. Am I James Bond? I might as well be.

I could actually have 3D printed myself a cool gun (in secret obviously, don’t think anyone at the library would have been very pleased if they found out, and obviously it would be for the sole purpose of pretending to be James Bond) to look like James Bond. That was actually part of my job, creating things on Tinkercad and finding cool designs on www.thingiverse.com and 3D printing it.

More often though, I could be found hogging my mentor, Ray’s, computer, designing posters, flyers, web banners, training programme resources, websites and booklists. Most of Stirling Libraries’ materials seems to be on MS Word, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to great design. A big chunk of my job making most of these things was extracting information out of old MS Word documents and putting them into InDesign and zhuzhing it up. Some of the materials hadn’t been updated for eons (circa the year 2007) and had explanatory screengrabs that did not make sense because they were from the time when everyone used Windows XP. Other times it was just a 57-page long Word document with nothing but text on it that had to be separated into nice pages with pictures to go along, so I did some picture research as well.

For the most time, I was given more or less complete artistic freedom. The booklists, the webpage and Taste IT (the training programme) came with few – if any – instructions, which can be intimidating at first. But I jumped into it and ended up learning a lot. When there are no instructions, you have to trust your own instinct. Also, when there is no one else to blame but yourself if something isn’t popular, you have to be sure in your project and be willing to stand behind it. Take constructive criticism though. As nice as it is to have complete control over something, it is easy to find yourself becoming completely lost in one thing and overlooking something else. A second, third and fourth opinion can never hurt.

There is always something to do at HQ. Ray is constantly running about, doing about a million jobs at a time and I cannot for the life of me comprehend how he gets anything done if he is doing that plus all the work that I have been doing as well. If I finish the task I have been set for that day, there is always mountains of booklists to compile and website design to do.

Overall, it has been a great experience which has mainly taught me to trust myself and my own instinct when it comes to design and to not be afraid to stand up for something that I have made when it meets criticism, but also to be open to other input and change. I have also learned that teaching yourself how to use software such as InDesign and Photoshop from scratch is just as valuable as having professional training. It’s different, yes, don’t get me wrong. But Ray was constantly showing me how to do things, and it was often the simple things that you might not learn from training, like how to group objects in InDesign or how to paste in place instead of just paste. Equally, I feel like I gave Ray some pointers. On my first day, first project, I set up a new document and added guides. Ray looked over and said, “Whoa, what’s all those crazy lines?!”, and I told him all about them being there to help you align things.

I feel like I have come out of this internship with a stronger set of skills in design, but also in picture research, proofreading, editing and quality control, which I am very grateful for.