Libraries at Work, A Student Perspective

Rosa Muñoz
Rosa Muñoz

Hello,

My name is Rosa Muñoz and I am a sophomore majoring in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. I am fortunate enough to be able to have an internship at one of the most well-known libraries on campus, the Perry-Castañeda Library.

I am the first person in my family to attend a university, so moving to Austin from Dallas was a big step for me. The idea of attending college was never supposed to be a part of my plan. I was brought up in a traditional Hispanic household where women were not expected to leave home, especially without being married first. I decided to come to UT because I had encouraging high school teachers who persistently pushed me to apply for colleges. During my junior year of high school, my English teacher encouraged our class to start researching colleges. The idea of something new sounded like a good opportunity, so I started my research. I decided that UT was where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life without ever stepping foot on campus.

During my time at UT I have created some great friendships and have learned so much more in my first year and a half than I had ever expected. My plans are to graduate from UT and attend graduate school to pursue my goal of starting my own practice as a psychologist.

Ever since I started working at UT Libraries I have come to find the library to be one of the best places to study at on campus. I try to take full advantage of the resources available. The library staff is always very kind and understanding and they help me with any questions or concerns that I have. My friends and I like the ability to study individually or as a group or even practice our presentations in the library. The efficient technology that has been added in the Libraries gives students more capability in utilizing those resources to their best advantage. In addition, to top it off the library is now opened 24 hours during the most critical study times leading up to finals.

The Libraries have so much to offer, not only for me but for students in all majors. Please consider making an end of year contribution to the UT Libraries. My fellow Longhorns and I are fortunate to have access to all the resources we need for academic success, but I know my tuition only goes so far.

The library is a very popular place! I enjoy telling my friends and classmates that I am interning in one of the most visited buildings on campus. I have definitely enjoyed the time I have spent working in the libraries, and I am certain that this experience will have an impression on me for years to come. All the connections I have established will last well beyond my college days.

Be generous and give today. Thank you for making a gift that will support all students.

Happy Holidays,

rosasm

Class of 2017

Please consider making an end-of-year gift to the University of Texas Libraries in support of students like Rosa Muñoz. 

2 thoughts on “Libraries at Work, A Student Perspective”

  1. I’ve had to think long and hard about how I feel about the major changes in the libraries since I got my undergraduate degree in 1972. I too was a first generation college student, an American Indian from rural Oklahoma. I was a high school dropout, like most Indians, admitted by individual approval of the Dean of Admissions at the age of 21 after a wartime hitch in the military.

    In those days, the Main Library was closed stack inside the tower. You picked a book from the card catalog (!!) and requested it at the front desk. Undergraduates were not allowed in the stacks, but the first time I managed to get in there, I was in love.

    It smelled like books in there, and there is nothing quite like browsing the subject area you are researching by hand. Still isn’t. It’s my chosen method at the world class library of the university where I became a tenured professor.

    Every semester, my first order of business was to promote a stack pass, and that got easier as time went on and more professors allowed me to stick my nose in their research agenda or write a paper instead of taking exams…simply because I asked.

    After talking my way into UT, scoring a stack pass was child’s play.

    There was a world of difference between the Undergraduate Library, where you didn’t need any immediate purpose to hang out, and the Mail Library, which made you feel like a learned monk protecting the knowledge of humankind though the Dark Ages. There was simply no better place to study or to write than a student carrell in the old Main Library. It made me feel like I was the intellectual I aspired to be.

    The floors of the Main had low ceilings and you were totally surrounded by books at all times except in the carrells near windows. Nobody would interrupt you there.

    The UGL seemed…well, frivolous. More directed to socializing. The book collection was clearly inferior.

    In spite of my love affair with the old Main Library and the pivotal role it played in my education by forcing me closer to professors (to promote a stack pass), I’ve come to realize that the new setup has advantages. Undergraduates and graduates rubbing elbows outside the classroom is a good idea, just like students and professors. The library, with all those shelves full of interest-magnets, can make that happen.

    At super-sized universities like UT and the one where I would teach, formation and attendance in a study group is a valuable survival skill and also how you come to develop a circle of friends if you’re not a joiner.

    So, yes, I’ve come to value the institution we called Pina Colada and I’m grateful for the access my life membership in Texas Exes provides now that I’m retired. But I’ll never forget my solitary adventures in that magical collection inside the UT Tower.

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