In the fall of 2016, I sent off a short email to the University of Caen-Normandy requesting an informal internship in their library over the summer. It was inconceivable that I would find something so promptly, but in June of 2017 I was there. In past years I had looked to see what opportunities were available to librarians, and short of a Fulbright program I could find very little. It was at that point that I decided to try a more DIY approach. Before becoming a reference librarian at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, I studied French. As a librarian, part of my responsibility is to oversee and collect books and resources for foreign languages. I also teach beginning level French classes as an adjunct professor, and I was looking for a way to enhance my summer vacation in a meaningful way. Savoir recevoir is an expression meaning to give a warm welcome, and it is certainly true that les Normands savent recevoir. I was overwhelmed by their generosity in letting me take part in their daily library world. However, there was one unwelcome surprise upon my arrival. Caen, which is located about 20 minutes from the coast of the English Channel, is normally cooler than the rest of France. On the day we arrived the city was in the throes of a heat wave, and without air conditioning in our apartment, I could feel every bit of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The canicule (heatwave) persisted for the first two weeks, and I was absolutely unprepared to the extent that I had to go out and buy clothes at the fashionable big box store, E. LeClerc. Unlike anything I’d ever seen, this store sold close to twenty different brands of mineral water and flavors of yogurt, as well having an in-house fishmonger and a rather extensive selection of books.

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