Meet Lilly’s Class of 2020 – Sarah

What is a Vital Lilly Library Resource?

Lilly’s Senior  Student Assistants

woman looking at stacks of books
Many “happy” book returns greet Lilly Senior Sarah

Lilly is at the heart of East Campus, the First-Year Campus for Duke Undergraduates. To serve our community, during what used to be a “normal” semester, Lilly Library remains open for 129 hours each week! Our student assistants are an essential element in maintaining a high level of service, and we want to introduce you to one of our “Class of 2020” – seniors who have worked in Lilly Library throughout their Duke careers. Get to know our seniors in these profiles, and you’ll appreciate them as much we do.

If you’ve been in Lilly Library over the past four years, chances are you’ve seen our seniors: Jessica, Sarah, Esha, Toni, and Noelle. Sarah is one of our seniors who worked at Lilly Library since she arrived as wide-eyed First-Year student on East Campus way back in August of 2016.

Commencement 2020 may be virtual, but our regard for our student assistants is very real and enduring. Take this opportunity to acquaint yourselves with Sarah, one of our treasured Lilly Library Class of 2020.

Senior Sarah

Woman sitting in front of pumpkins
Sarah at the North Carolina State Fair
  • Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas (north of Dallas)
  • Family/siblings/pets: Mom, Dad, younger sister (in her first year of college)
  • Academic major: Biomedical Engineering
  • Activities on campus: Club Swimming, Sport Clubs Executive Board, RA (in Neighborhood 1 on East, then in Crowell/Wannamaker), former FYLAB / UAB member
  • Favorite on-campus activity (besides working at Lilly): Swimming with Club Swim!
  • Favorite off-campus activity: I love going to sporting events, and my favorite annual event to attend since I have moved here for college is the North Carolina State Fair.
  • Favorite campus eatery: Pitchforks (nothing beats 24-hour service)
  • Favorite off-campus eatery: The Pit (BBQ)

Q: If you could have a sleepover anywhere in the libraries, where would you choose, and why?
A: Probably the Thomas Room, because it has really comfy chairs and the doors on both ends lock so I would feel safer…

Q: What’s the strangest/most interesting book or movie you’ve come across in Lilly?
A: I can’t think of a specific strange example right now, but a special DVD to me is DVD 30,000 (The Princess Bride) which the class of 2020 got to pick!

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Lilly? Least favorite?
A: My favorite part is all the librarians that have been so kind and supportive to me during my time working at Lilly. I always feel so welcome in the library and it became a sort of safe haven for me during my time at Duke. My least favorite part is walking through the library at closing time, because it’s dark and I keep thinking someone will jump out at me and scare me. Also, having to drive back to west campus at 4am.

Q: Why have you worked at Lilly Library ever since your first year?
A: Because of the librarians! I started working at Lilly my first year because I really loved libraries and reading throughout my childhood and had volunteered at my public library in high school. I chose to stay throughout the years (even during the time I spent living on West Campus) because of the friendships I made with the people I worked with and because of the increased trust that everyone placed in me.

Q: What is one memory from Lilly that you will never forget?
A: The little things the staff did for the student workers to make us feel appreciated – candy for every Halloween and Valentine’s Day, and student worker lunches at the end of every semester during Finals week. Even though after my first year I knew these things were coming, they were still always a nice surprise.

Q: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done in Lilly? A: I don’t know how crazy this is, but I’ve definitely fallen asleep at the desk while working the late night shift a few times more than I’d like to admit…

Q: What was closing, or opening an empty (or at least, it was supposed to be empty) Lilly like? Eerily empty, people reluctant to leave, unexpected people?
A: I worked a closing shift every week for the last three years I worked at Lilly, and most of the time people filtered out on their own within five minutes of closing time (even if they didn’t want to). I did sometimes get some interesting people that would filter through the building or have strange requests of me (for example, one time I got a call from a father who wanted me to find his daughter in the building and give her a message – but didn’t even know if she was actually at Lilly). Most of the time, though, the only spooky part was walking through the library alone and hoping no one was staking out to scare me. I only worked opening shifts at Lilly every once in a while, but it was always nice to come into an empty, quiet building and get to watch the early risers trickle in!

Q: How will your time at Lilly help you in your future pursuits?
A: Lilly has taught me a lot of lessons about how to serve others and how to be a go-getter. Working behind the desk in particular has built a lot of confidence for me in talking to people I don’t know and helping to serve them. As an engineer, I might not always be in a customer-facing position, but having that experience will certainly give me a boost over those who are not as comfortable working in service roles.

Q: What will you miss most about Lilly when you graduate?
A: Both the librarians, who have always been so nice to me, and the space as I remember it in my head. I know with renovations coming to Lilly in the future that when I come to visit as an alum, I might no longer be able to walk around the space knowing exactly where everything is. I will miss that feeling of knowing a place so well.

Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
A: This summer I will be interning at Garmin International in Cary, NC to complete my internship requirement for the Master of Engineering program at Duke, and then I will graduate from Duke again in May of 2021!

Q: What is your spirit animal? … well, you don’t expect all the questions to be about Lilly, did you?
A: My favorite animal is a monkey so I will go with that!

Sarah and her Club Swim teammates

Graduation in May means Lilly Library will say farewell to Sarah and our other seniors, treasured members of our Lilly “family”. We hope to see Sarah while she continues her graduate studies at Duke next year, even if she no longer works with us. We appreciate her stellar work and dedication to Lilly and wish her all the best!

2 thoughts on “Meet Lilly’s Class of 2020 – Sarah”

  1. Enjoyed reading about one of Lilly’s student aides, especially since I also worked in the same library in the 60’s. (It was called the Women’s College Library then.) That experience was so important to me that I eventually went on to get a Master’s in Library Science at UNC and enjoyed a long career as a librarian.

  2. The top photo and following interview are so Sarah! One of our more humorous SA’s, I cherish the times she worked with me because she always had the sense of irony you have to have to work a library reference desk. Me: “Can you believe that patron carried in all his return books in a dog carrier?” Sarah: “I wonder where the dog is, in a book bag?”

    We will miss you! Lee

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