Article written by Priory in the City senior Natalie McKnight-Sur
Amelia Colby is a senior at St. Andrew's Schools - The Priory. She harbors a love for history, reading and knowledge of all types. As part of Priory in the City, Amelia currently works as an intern in Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum's Library & Archives Department. She hopes to learn more about the library science field in the future.
- Why did you want to learn more about library science? Is there one specific moment that inspired your interest?
"I've gone through a second phase in my life of reading a lot of books, which proved expensive so I started spending a lot of my time at the Hawaiʻi State Public Library since it's near school. By the time I got around to choosing my internship, I had decided I wanted to work in a library because I liked the environment."
Not a lot of people know about the library science field. I actually learned about library sciences through my mentor, Krystal, since my mom knew she worked at the library here. After contacting her, she introduced me to the field and the different roles that people who work in libraries fulfill."
- Why did you choose to intern at Bishop Museum?
"I chose Bishop Museum because I had heard about its archives, and I'm very much interested in the technical side of archive work. For example, I wanted to learn how film and photographs are preserved. I also like getting a close look into the specialized history that they focus on, they conduct really deep investigations. Since Krystal was a family friend, I also already had a contact so the opportunity seemed perfect."
- What is your favorite part of your internship, or something you look forward to doing? What do you feel is most valuable?
"My favorite part of my internship – and I'm being completely truthful here – is the way I am able to help people. I can finish jobs that people don't want to. I like completing orders for patrons. Patrons come and select pictures that they want copies of and I help locate the exact file from the shelves and fill out forms for them with information and the origin of the pictures. Being of aid to people, even if it's in the smallest of ways, is valuable to me."
I think I've really learned that the work here – or at any library – isn't set. There isn't one specific way to do things and a lot of what I learn can only be taught through experience. Every step involves asking questions in order to move forward."
- What is one surprising thing you've learned since starting? Is your experience any different from what you expected?
"Something that other people might be aware of but it surprised me is that Bishop Museum is a museum, but it's also a place where research is done. There's this whole room in the archive that contains research done by staff. I was surprised how much information this archive actually created, rather than just collected."
- What are some goals or aspirations you have for your future?
"As a goal, I really want to fully experience other types of libraries in the future. For example, working in the Library & Archives here is very different from working in a public library. Considering how much I like libraries and how much information and education they provide to people, I'd like to experience other types as well."
- How do you hope to affect people's lives with your work?
"If I do ultimately go into library sciences, I would want to make resources accessible to people for the sake of learning. Libraries are really important as public spaces which exist purely to expand people's minds. If you think about it, there really isn't anything else quite like a library and we often take them for granted. I believe accessibility to information is a basic necessity and it's one I want to have a role in providing."
- What is the best advice you ever received, and who gave it?
"This isn't really specific advice by one person, but something you hear a lot in high school is that you just have to be confident. If you're insecure or feel judged, it doesn't help to dwell on it and it's not something you should show outwardly even if you feel it. 'Fake it ʻtil you make it' is something that really started to sink in recently."
- What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?
"Something interesting about me people might not know is that I love folklore! I really love reading folktales and fairytales, especially Japanese folktales like 'Issun-bōshi' (The One-inch Boy)."
- What are your favorite activities outside of school?
"I love reading. I am also in the process of teaching myself how to sew."