Student Voices: Alea Al-Aghbari

Posted on April 4, 2018

In my first two years at W&M, I rarely went to Swem. It was crowded and busy and stressful, and I preferred the coziness of my own room. But for the past year and a half, I have stepped into Swem hundreds of times, more than my freshman self could have possibly imagined.

My journey to being actively involved in the library community began junior year, when I decided to join Library Ambassadors. I wasn’t familiar with Swem’s resources at all, but I wanted to know more so I could do well on class papers and projects. I figured that joining the group would open my eyes to everything that Swem has to offer, so that I could in turn help others learn about the library too. As part of the Accessibility and Navigation Committee, my group members and I initiated a project to install signage around Swem to help students navigate the building itself, and right now we’re working to increase awareness about Swem’s resources through an online blog.

Last spring, I began looking for potential jobs on campus over the summer when I heard about the library’s Mosaic Program, an opportunity for undergrad students to intern with a library department. Having enjoyed my involvement in Library Ambassadors, I was excited to further contribute to the library and gain some new skills of my own. Under the mentorship of Tami Back in the External Relations Office, I interviewed several library staff members and W&M alumni to write articles about library events and happenings. I spent hours researching in Special Collections, talking to alumni over the phone, and drafting stories about Swem’s ongoing projects. By the end of the summer, I knew Swem like the back of my hand.

I was still interested in working at the library during the school year so Tami recommended me to join the Circulation department, where I currently work. As a Circulation Assistant, I check in, sort, and shelve books and DVDs. You may recognize me as the short girl struggling to push heavy carts or move the stacks. Even though it’s quite a workout for me, I’m glad to play a part in helping fellow students access the materials they need. I would never have guessed that Swem would become a second home to me, but I hope that my contributions can help other students feel the same way too.