Student to student: Yanice Ortiz & Luis Rubio

Masked student workers in a socially distanced manner in the Libraries

When campus temporarily closed at the end of the spring semester, we were unable to wrap up the year with our student workers. It was hard not to be able to say goodbye. This fall, student supervisors at the Glenn G. Bartle, Science and University Downtown Center libraries were especially looking forward to the beginning of the semester because it was a reunion. Library student workers are important to us. They help keep the library running smoothly, but they also serve as ambassadors and their fresh perspective on library services helps keep a spring in our step. We asked a couple of seasoned student workers for some positive back-to-school vibes.

Masked student workers in a socially distanced manner in the Libraries

“The staff and even many of the students were very nice in giving me directions,” says Yanice Carolin Ortiz ’20. “Working with Barbara Blake helped. She made sure all the student workers were educated on where we work. We learned about different places in the library and I even learned how many books were in the library. I grew up in a poor neighborhood in the Bronx. I never had a chance to go to the public library as a kid because we did not have one in our neighborhood and the library in my school wasn’t that great. We were barely allowed to go to the library.

“Being a transfer student going into my first year at Binghamton, I felt like a freshman because everything was so different from my community college,” Ortiz adds. “My biggest fear going into Binghamton was that I wasn’t going to fit in. I am very introverted, so speaking up for myself was a challenge. I overcame my fear by putting myself out there and trying to be more vocal. Do not give up when times get tough. Going away to college is a big change and we all go through different struggles as we are all away from home. I promise, as time goes by, things will get better.”

Image: Luis Rubio '17
Luis Rubio ’17

“I used to work in the Bartle Library in the Newcomb Reading Room as a student worker/reading services staff during my freshman and sophomore years,” says Luis Rubio ‘17. “I learned about the position by walking into the library and speaking to one of the staff and asking about applying for a work-study position. It was an incredible experience, and it was my first time working in a library setting and thinking about librarianship. I am now a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science.

The first time Rubio visited the Binghamton University Libraries was during Binghamton’s Equal Opportunity Program’s summer enrichment program, right before his first year. “It was the first of many visits to the Libraries during my time at Binghamton,” he says. “These first few visits were really a foreshadowing of how many hours I would spend in the library in the coming years. I was always surprised by the amount of students who would visit the Newcomb Reading Room for the first time and not know about the reserved books and other options they had for accessing required readings other than purchasing them at full price from the bookstore. I used the Libraries for browsing for new books to read, conducting research for a class project or paper, reserving group project meeting spaces, for a quiet place to read and, of course, coffee at Jazzman’s after finishing a shift!

“My greatest fear as an incoming freshman was feeling like I did not fit in with my classmates,” Rubio adds.” Through the EOP summer program, I was able to make new friends who had backgrounds similar to mine. That experience quelled my fear and allowed me to open up to meeting new people and embracing my differences.”