Library of Congress Internship Puts World at Student’s Fingertips

By Hale Dohuit ’18, July 10, 2017

Library of Congress Internship Puts World at Student’s Fingertips

When Yasmeen Mughal ’18 learned that she was one of only 37 graduate and undergraduate students from around the country to secure an internship with the Library of Congress, she was ecstatic. “It was the highlight of my college career,” she said. “It felt great knowing all my time hustling for every opportunity finally paid off.”

The internship is through the library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Division, which provides reference services and collection development in the library’s main reading room. Mughal’s role is to write scripts for videos that help researchers and patrons better use the library's resources.

Writing such material can be challenging, but Mughal said her writing courses at IC have proven invaluable. “They have definitely given me the discipline to write tactically, which is critical in my job,” she says. “I have [assistant professors of media arts, sciences and studies] Julie Blumberg and Jack Bryant to thank for that.”

The internship offers many other benefits for Mughal. The Library of Congress, which was founded in 1800, is the largest library in the world and houses over 23 million books on every subject imaginable. “I've been doing a lot of reading,” she said. “I've looked at women's rights periodicals from the 1890s, George Washington's military manuals, and 19th century bicycle catalogs. If it's on the library shelf, it's pretty much at my fingertips, which is really cool. It's like the internet in a building.

“But even more importantly, it allows me to research any subject I need to with amazing depth,” she continued. “And that makes for a better script or a better web guide down the line. I’m really just trying to soak up my time here.”