Tag Archives: Working in the Library

Meet Lilly’s Class of 2021 – the sequel

What is a vital Lilly Library Resource?

Lilly’s Graduate Student Assistants

Lilly’s “double degree” holder, Sarah at Graduate School Commencement  May 2021
The sequel: Lilly Undergraduate Class of 2020*

Do you remember the Library before the covid era? If you have been in Lilly Library in the past 5 years, at any time of the day as well as late in the evenings, you may have seen our graduate student assistant, Sarah.

Already a four-year undergraduate Lilly alumna featured in last year’s spotlight on the Lilly Class of 2020*,  covid provided Sarah the opportunity to work at Lilly for one more year. For us, it was a bonus year to work with one of our all-star Lilly student veterans!

Adjusting to a very different and compressed library schedule, shelving thousands of returned books, meticulously searching for the hundreds of books requested for Take-Out, actually sending the notifications, collecting and packaging the books requested to be picked up at Lilly, Sarah was an integral member of our Lilly team.

Now it is your chance to get to know Sarah in this profile, and you will appreciate her as much we do.

Graduate Student Sarah

Sarah – ready to leave campus for the start of her career
  • Hometown:
    Flower Mound, Texas
  • Academic field of study:
    Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering
  • Activities on campus:
    Club Swimming, Graduate Resident for Housing and Residential Life, working at Lilly Lilly 🙂
  • Favorite on-campus activity:
    Swimming at Taishoff!
  • Favorite off-campus activity:
    Swimming at another pool / lake / body of water!
  • Favorite off-campus eatery:
    Lately, Thai on Main (and Pincho Loco for dessert)

Describe your work in Lilly and the changes you saw this pandemic year:

Saying farewell to one of her favorite spots… in addition to Lilly, of course!

Q: What’s the strangest or most interesting book or movie you’ve come across in Lilly?
A: I didn’t have a compelling answer for this when I graduated from undergrad last year, and unfortunately, I still don’t have one now… But I always enjoy when I get to process or shelve graphic novels, because it is fun to flip through them and try and get an idea of what the story is from a few of the images. Lilly has a great collection of graphic novels in the PN section that I could spend quite some time sifting through!

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Lilly?
A: My favorite part about working at Lilly was getting to know the amazing staff there! Almost every shift that I worked, I would have an opportunity to speak to a staff member and learn about everything going on at the different libraries across campus. One of the bright spots of COVID-19 was switching to working daytime shifts (instead of my typical closing shifts) so I had more of an opportunity to interact with the staff.

Q: Least favorite?
A: My least favorite part of working at Lilly this year was bagging the hold requests for Library Takeout after processing them, because it always reminded me of how much paper we were having to use (even though it was necessary to make the takeout process more sanitary).

Q: What is one memory from Lilly that you will never forget?
A: To this day, I still remember my interview for working at Lilly! It was my first interview for a job on campus, so I wore a dress and tried my best to impress Yunyi (who retired this past winter, and who I miss dearly). She asked me about the time I spent volunteering at a library in high school and fortunately decided that I would be a good match for Lilly, and the rest is history! I will also remember my last day at Lilly, which was incredibly bittersweet – I received an incredibly sweet gift from Lilly’s staff, but had to say goodbye to a place I have called home for nearly 5 years now.

Q: What is working in a now almost empty Lilly like compared to your past work at the Lilly desk?
A: The main difference is how much interaction with other people I got – while processing requests for Library Takeout, I spent most of my time sitting alone in a room in front of a computer. When I worked at the desk, I was interacting with patrons and staff consistently. Of course, when I worked the 4am closing shifts, there were some nights where I saw almost no one at all. Surprisingly, I do miss those closing shifts (even when I just wanted to go to sleep) because they were some of my most productive nights of studying.

Q: What will you miss most about Lilly?
A: The staff who supported me through 4 years of undergrad and then allowed me to come back and work during my master’s program (and through the pandemic) are certainly who I will miss the most. I already missed Yunyi during the spring semester but am now having to miss everyone else too. On a less serious note, I also am already missing being able to see new books and DVDs every week that I add to my list of to-read/watch (once I get through finals).

Q: What are your plans after finishing your degree and leaving Duke?
A: I am moving only a short distance away to Raleigh, NC to work as a Software Engineer at Garmin International.

After five years together, it will be strange not to see Sarah in Lilly. However, we wish Sarah the best and much success ahead. Thank you, Sarah, and congratulations!

Meet Lilly’s Class of 2021

What is a Vital Lilly Library Resource?

Lilly’s Graduate Student Assistants

young woman
Grace in one of her favorite spots in Lilly Library

Do you remember the Library before the covid era? If you had ever been in Lilly Library late in the evenings, you may have seen our graduate student assistant, Odunola (who goes by Grace) at our desk. We are fortunate that Grace continued to work with us this past year. And, what a year it has been!

Adjusting to a very different library schedule, re-shelving thousands of returned books that were warehoused during the summer of 2020, scrupulously searching for books requested for Library Take-Out, and even helping staff prepare over 1500 “Welcome” library goodie bags for the Class of 2024 – Grace has been a vital member of our Lilly team this past year.

Now is your chance to get to know Grace in this profile, and you will appreciate her as much we do!

Graduate Student Grace

Close up of young woman in front of Duke Chapel
Grace celebrating graduation
  • Hometown: Oyan, Osun State, Nigeria
  • Family: Father, Mother, a brother, two sisters, three nieces, and a nephew.
  • Academic field of study:
    Medical Physics M.Sc.
  • Activities on campus:
    Member of GPSG, walking, my research work involved 3D printing and working with the staff at the Duke Innovation Co-Lab
  • Favorite on-campus activity:
    Visiting the Duke clinics to shadow physicists, performing QA on medical equipment like the Linac and the brachytherapy afterloader.
  • Favorite off-campus activity:
    Participating in my local church’s monthly food drive to support the community.
  • Favorite off-campus eatery:
    Shanghai (on Hillsborough)

Describe your work in Lilly and the changes you saw this pandemic year:

Woman at railing
Grace surveying the Lilly lobby

Q: What’s the strangest or most interesting book or movie you’ve come across in Lilly?
A: There was a book (I can’t really remember the title) that showed portraits of African/Black women drawn during the slave trade era. According to the author, having one’s portrait done at that time was a thing of honor, however, the women were posed in such a dishonorable way because they were slaves even though they were beautiful to behold. It was an odd book.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Lilly?
A: Manning the front desk and being able to help people out, working with kind and flexible staff members, occasional free food

Q: Least favorite?
A: Book search – I feel I have left the task incomplete when I do not find the book.

Q: What is one memory from Lilly that you will never forget?
A: How excited I was to come back after the initial lockdown restriction was eased. I truly missed working at Lilly.

Q: What is working in a now almost empty Lilly like compared to your past work at the Lilly desk?
A: It was quite strange at first. The pandemic was unexpected and its effects were far-reaching. The usually busy front desk and reading rooms became deserted and really quiet. It was quite strange. I miss the hustle and bustle of pre-covid.

Q: What will you miss most about Lilly?
A: The building itself! I love the architecture from the outside and the different rooms, especially the Thomas room upstairs. Apparently, I love old buildings.

Q: What are your plans after finishing your degree and leaving Duke?
A: I will be proceeding to obtain a Ph.D. degree in Medical Physics from the University of Alberta in Canada.

We wish Grace the best and much success as she continues her studies far from Duke. Congratulations!

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!