Fresno State Senior Adan Ortega never thought about becoming a Librarian, that is, until he started working in the Henry Madden Library as a Student Research Assistant.

“I was actually going to be an English teacher,” said Ortega, “I started enjoying [working at the Library] a lot more than I thought I was going to, and next thing you know I was like, maybe librarian is the way to go.”

Four students pose in the Library with vintage video game equipment
An event for students, by students. From left to right: Andrew Green, Jimmy Xiong, Adan Ortega and Justin Aceves

Ortega, along with fellow Library Student Assistants Justin Aceves, Jimmy Xiong and Andrew Green are all headed toward grad school to pursue their Masters in Library Science thanks to the bonds they have formed with librarians at the Henry Madden Library.

“They’ve all been really open, giving us advice on which schools to apply to, how to help build up our resumes, helping us with letters of recommendations and any questions we have we can direct to them and they’re more than happy to help,” said Ortega.

That’s what led to Retro Game Night. The student-led event took place in the Library during finals week at the end of the fall semester, providing an opportunity for Fresno State students to de-stress and take a break while studying for finals. But it also provided these four future librarians the opportunity to plan and execute a Library event on their own, gaining critical experience to apply for grad school.

“I really didn’t know at first what librarians actually do until I started working here,” said Aceves, “Then I saw all the behind the scenes things they do, like all their meetings, all their plans they have to do just to host one successful event.”

“It gives us the experience, but also gives us a nice perspective on how things run,” said Ortega, “It’s nice that they allow us to do something like this to help us for grad school. I never thought I’d be doing something like this before I went off to grad school so it’s nice that I can get that experience and put it on resumes and brag about it a little bit.”

A closeup of retro video game equipment

Students enjoyed the free event during finals week, playing retro video games on classic consoles like the NES and the original Playstation, while enjoying tasty treats like strawberry lemonade and doughnuts.

“At the end of the day, this library is more than just a library. There are people that come here each and every day, and it’s kind of like a little community,” said Ortega, “It’s kind of like a second home. They study here all the time, they do their homework here, they come here and eat lunch, they come do all this different stuff and there’s a reason for that. It’s a nice place to be at and it’s nice that we can contribute to that.”