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Penn Libraries News

Meet the Penn Students Who Help Keep the Libraries Running Smoothly

Get to know a few of the Penn Libraries' student workers.

Two students stand in front of the steps of Van Pelt Library on a sunny day, smiling at the camera.

Did you know that over 250 students work at the Penn Libraries? You probably see them all the time, maybe without even realizing it: they help you check out your books, get materials ready to be loaned to other libraries, assist with events, teach you how to use software, and more. They study subjects from Communications to Bioethics and love reading, thrifting, and playing video games. Maybe you’re even one of them!

With midterms finally over and finals coming sooner than you think, we thought this would be a great time to talk to a few of these students who keep the Libraries running while you’re studying hard. Find out what they love about their jobs, their favorite places to study, and what they think you should read once you’ve made it through the semester.


Jean Park, C’27: Havertown, PA 

What does your average day working at the Penn Libraries look like?

I am a circulation desk assistant at Van Pelt Library, so I am in charge of checking out/renewing books, retrieving hold requests, and pulling books off shelves that people request.  

Why did you apply for a job at the Libraries? What do you like best about it?

I worked at a library during high school and absolutely loved my time at my local library. Coming to Penn I knew that I wanted to be a part of a similar community and yet again I love it! I love working at libraries because I love meeting both the people I work with and the people who come to the library. 

Name a book that you would recommend to everyone.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner [Audiobook version].


What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not studying or working?  

I love spending time with my friends and exploring the city of Philadelphia! We love to thrift, try new foods, and just walk around the city. 

Do you have a favorite spot in the Libraries? What do you like about it?

I love the second-floor study rooms in Van Pelt because they are so spacious and quiet! I go there to study all of the time. 


Elijah Ritz Baet, C’24: Philadelphia, PA  

What’s your job at the Penn Libraries?  

I work as a reference desk worker at Biotech Commons. My friends joke around and call me the “front desk lady,” which I guess isn’t completely wrong. I mainly help people check out and return books, whiteboard markers, and other things like calculators. 

Why did you apply for a job at the Libraries? What do you like best about it?  

I worked for a library when I was in high school, and I was tasked with helping elementary school kids with their homework. They were always so cute, I loved working with them. As for Biotech, there aren’t any children to help with homework, but the point still stands: the people here are great. My supervisors are really nice, and the security guards that I’ve talked to are friendly too.  

Name one book you would recommend to everyone.  

I recommend The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab [Audiobook version]. It’s easily one of my favorite books, I love the storytelling that goes into it!  

What’s one thing you think all Penn students should know about using the Penn Libraries?  

I think the Anatomage table is really useful, especially if you’re taking an anatomy class. It helps you look at a human body’s organs and bones, and it’s really fun to play with even if you’re not studying anatomy.  

What’s your favorite place to study in the library?

My friends and I like to book study room 11 in the Biotech Commons. It’s one of the more secluded study rooms in the library. Not a lot of people walk by it, making it easier to concentrate on whatever work we’re doing. It’s also pretty close to the bathroom and the water bottle station, so that’s a plus. 


Two students sit on a bench near a tree on a sunny autumn day, talking enthusiastically to each other.
Nicholas Maharaj, C’27 and Jean Park, C'27.


Nicholas Maharaj, C’27: Bayonne, NJ  

Describe your Penn Libraries job.

My official job title is Circulation Desk/Retrievals Student Assistant! During my shift, I work at the circulation desk checking books in and out for patrons. I also retrieve books from the various floors of Van Pelt that patrons have requested!  

Why did you apply for a job at the Libraries? What do you like best about it?  

I applied for a job at the Penn Libraries because I love reading and I always found myself at my hometown’s library. I used to volunteer at the local library when I was a freshman in high school and I loved it! So I decided to continue working at libraries in college.  

Name one book that you would recommend to everyone.

Definitely Becoming by Michelle Obama [Audiobook version]. I loved reading her story, and it provided me with long lasting advice. 

What’s one thing you think all Penn students should know about using the Penn Libraries?  

We have access to almost every piece of literature you can imagine. Even if it is not on the Penn campus, you can request an interlibrary loan to have access to the book.  

Do you have a favorite spot in the Libraries?

I love the first floor of Van Pelt [around the Research Data and Digital Scholarship Exchange]. It's more social than the typical quiet spots of a library, which is perfect for studying with friends.