Connecting with home

As a research and student assistant in the library, Kristyna Herman reconnects with Czech culture, language and literature.

Kristyna Herman’s hometown of Prague may be more than 4,500 miles from Chapel Hill, but every time the Carolina junior walks into work at the Davis Library, it feels like home.

As a research and student assistant in the library, Herman connects with the Czech culture, language and literature by working at the Slavic and Eastern European Studies unit at the University Libraries.

“Whenever I come in here it just makes me feel a little bit at home,” said Herman, a biomedical engineering major who moved from the Czech Republic to attend Carolina.

In her position at the library, Herman confirms the orders of books in Czech and other Slavic languages, searches for the books and keys in their information in an international tracking system before they go off to be cataloged.

“All of the Czech books go through me,” Herman said. “Then they eventually end up on the shelves at Davis or in another library here.”

As a first-year student two years ago, she was excited to find a campus job that required someone to speak a Slavic language and understand the Cyrillic alphabet.

“I thought it was perfect,” she said. “I started immediately, and I’ve been working here ever since.”

Although the work doesn’t directly relate to her major, Herman values the harmony it gives her as she balances studies and remaining connected to her culture and interests.

“Biomedical engineering keeps me very, very busy with the sciences and with technology,” she said. “Balancing that with the library helps me keep an interest in history and literature.”