7 May 2020

From Bavaria to Munster – our internships at Boole Library, UCC

Guest post by Franziska Frank and Magadelena Rausch of the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service in Munich 

Courtesy of the authors
In October 2019 and March 2020 respectively, two students from the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service of Bavaria in Germany found their way to Ireland, to the Boole Library of the UCC, to be exact. And this is our story:

We study library and information management in Munich, this dual education is divided into theoretical terms spent at the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service in Munich and practical terms spent working at university libraries across Bavaria, Germany – Bayreuth and Bamberg for us respectively. During those practical terms it is also common to do additional internships, as we both did at Boole Library. Though one of us planned for four weeks initially, we both ended up doing an internship for three weeks in Cork, as the outbreak of COVID-19 unfortunately shortened one internship by one week.  
With the University of Applied Sciences of the Civil Service in Bavaria it has become quite a tradition for one student from each course to travel to Cork for an internship. Because our predecessors always gushed about their time in Ireland, we applied as well and were very happy when Boole Library accepted not only one student, but two this term!
Whether we arrived in October or March the welcome was warm and friendly. We were immediately welcomed and involved in the daily life of the library. Even though for us Germans with our many honorifics and extremely formal ways it took a little to fall into rhythm with the easy friendliness of our Irish colleague, we integrated easily thanks to their warm welcome. 
           
Courtesy of the authors

We spend our first weeks in the heart of the library one might say, in the archives and special collections and were amazed about the openness of both the staff and the department as German libraries tend to be quite restrictive with their older collections. As for me, Magdalena, I was very happy to work in special collections and archives especially because I felt like I could really be of help by categorizing and describing an inheritance of a German professor. I, Franziska, gained among other things an insight into the usage of special collections by working on statistics and learned about Irish history and feminism as I described archival collections. We’ve also been invited to join lectures not only of the library but of the whole university, so we were able to get to know and be part of the whole life of an Irish campus university.

After working in the older books department, we went on to visit the repository – the newer, digital books department as to say. But that is not all we saw, our Irish colleagues were so kind to take time to show us the entire library and campus as well, and introduced not only the Skill Centre and the Disability Support but also the recording studio and the VR lab. We learned about the plans for the future of the library, the digital shift, but we also kept in touch with the inheritance of an university as old (1848) as the University College of Cork. 

But all work and no play make Jack a dull boy and of course we also spent our time exploring Ireland. Blarney Castle, Cobh, Kinsale and Ballycotton are just a few examples of the amazing places and beautiful scenery we enjoyed during our stay!

Courtesy of the authors

All in all we can confidently say that we loved our stay. It was very interesting comparing the library systems of Germany and Ireland and we learned a lot, not only about the Irish libraries but also about Ireland as a whole.

We would very much like to thank everyone that made our time in Cork so memorable and encourage everyone to use this chance and go see the world of libraries in other counties.

We also invite our Irish colleagues to visit us in Germany one day!

Magdalena Rausch and Franziska Frank.

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