Meet Yuzhou Bai, a PhD candidate and student staff member at East Asian Library

Every school year more than 500 student staff are employed across each of Princeton University Library’s (PUL) nine branches. The work, which ranges from administrative support to collection development, often provides students a springboard for future education and careers.

This is an interview with Yuzhou Bai, a PhD candidate and student staff member at East Asian Library, whose work with the Library gave him the experience needed to secure his current fellowship position.

East Asian Library student staff member Yuzhou Bai

East Asian Library student staff member Yuzhou Bai.

Tell us about your major and time at Princeton University  

I came to Princeton in 2015 and am currently a PhD candidate in East Asian Studies. 

Could you talk about your current fellowship? 

I’m currently conducting research at Ithaka S+R on a GradFUTURES Social Impact Fellowship, a not-for-profit service that helps the academic and cultural communities serve the public good and navigate economic, technological, and demographic changes. At S+R, I participate in research projects undertaken by their Libraries, Scholarly Communications, and Museums team. The central theme of these projects is to broaden access to educational resources (including libraries) by reducing costs while also improving student outcomes. 

How does your library experience work into your current fellowship? 

The working knowledge with the back end of a university library, which I’ve gained while working as a metadata assistant and circulation assistant at PUL, definitely helped me get the opportunity to conduct research at S+R’s Libraries, Scholarly Communications, and Museums team.  

More importantly, working at PUL has activated my interest in the issue of access to academic resources and service, honed my communication skills, and allowed me to reflect on things from an administrative angle. These skills have helped me adapt to and contribute to the collaborative research environment at S+R. 

What led to your interest in library science?  

There are a lot of overlapping parts between humanities research and library science: identifying useful information from raw data, condensing big chunks of information into small key findings, creating conceptual networks among information bits, and presenting them in a logical and sensible way. I think this transferability of my research skills is what enables and drives me to explore library science. 

What interested you in working specifically at EAL? 

EAL has a close tie with my department and feels like home to me. I especially appreciate the friendly staff members at EAL who are there to support me as a researcher and a student worker. I also simply enjoy wandering around in EAL and discovering new books on the shelves. 

Published on September 28, 2021

Interview by Marissa Mozek, East Asian Library Supervisor

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications