By Lily Garcia, Undergraduate Library Fellow (2022-23)
The start of each semester brings a new weekly routine. Classes and extracurricular activities structure your days and influence where you spend your time on campus. Gradually, you become accustomed to your schedule, going to the same place, sitting in the same seat, and doing the same activity on repeat week after week. Novelty becomes easy to forget. During my time as a Research Fellow, I learned how to look at routine experiences and recollect that novelty to help others navigate academic spaces.
One project I was involved in over the spring semester was completing UC Berkeley Library (Hub) Profiles. As a former Main Stacks student library employee and frequent visitor to Heyns Reading Room, these two libraries had long been cloaked by familiarity for me. The project of visiting Main Stacks and Doe Library while imagining I was entering them for the first time again, thus proved to be an enlightening exercise. Using the “I Like, I Wish, I Wonder” and “One thing to know before…” frameworks, I navigated through these spaces I had visited consistently for the past two years and asked myself, what did I enjoy about that library when I first saw it? How did I figure out where to go initially? I became aware again of how confusing, yet exciting, everything is in the beginning. Once I had reflected, I recorded my ideas into our online profile templates, which is data that can be used to improve the wayfinding experience for future visitors to the UC Berkeley libraries.
As I prepare to graduate next week, I am practicing this skill of remembrance. I have been (re)visiting my Berkeley haunts for the last time and thinking about how I have grown throughout my journey. In particular, Doe Library has been a place I have thought a lot about. Not only was it the first place I went to on campus, but it acted as the home of my community at Cal. It is where I went weekly to meet with my ULF peers and mentors. Being a Research Fellow in the ULF program has been an invaluable experience that I will treasure well into the future and has helped me see the novelty again in the routine.