Voice of Exchange

samantha thompson-franklin

Samantha Thompson-Franklin

Lewis-Clark State College Library,
Lewiston, Idaho, USA

Time in Southern Africa

I worked as a solo librarian for two and a half years at a small theological college in southern Africa, and found working in a library in a developing country to be a richly rewarding and stretching experience. It reminded me, both professionally and personally, of how much we take the basics that most of us have here in North America for granted. Access to books, computers, the Internet, new technologies, budgets for purchasing materials, and other resources, while available to some, more often was limited or non-existent for the majority of people whom I encountered. I came away from my time and experience overseas with a deep respect for the culture and people with whom I worked and felt that I had learned a tremendous amount from what they shared with me as much as what skills and experience I brought to my job there.

Working in a library in a cross-cultural/international setting is a great way to broaden and expand your professional and cultural worldview. I would highly recommend participating in a cross-cultural/international library exchange or volunteer work experience overseas. You won't regret it.