CHICAGO — The Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced today that it will pilot a diversity-focused library internship program this summer. PLA received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (grant RE-00-17-0129-17) to launch the Inclusive Internship Initiative (III) program, which seeks to introduce young people from diverse backgrounds to careers in librarianship.
Through III, PLA is sponsoring paid, mentored public library internships for 50 high school juniors and seniors from diverse backgrounds during the summer of 2017. With individual guidance from a mentor, each intern will engage with multiple facets of library life, from administration to programming to user services, at libraries across the U.S. PLA will collaborate with the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the American Library Association's Office for Diversity, Literacy & Outreach Services (ODLOS) and the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), to ensure that the internship provides a well-rounded view of librarianship. III will kick-off June 16-17 in Washington D.C. with a welcome from Dr. Carla Hayden followed by a two-day master class.
“Public libraries value equity, diversity and inclusion, and it is important that these values are reflected in the staff of public libraries, but our profession has struggled to achieve this goal,” points out PLA President Felton Thomas, Jr. “To attract the best candidates who reflect the diversity of our communities, we believe it is necessary to build awareness more broadly, and to present librarianship as a viable, rewarding, and meaningful career path, which is precisely what the Inclusive Internship Initiative is all about.”
Information about III, including an application for libraries interested in participating, can be found at https://apply.ala.org/plinterns.
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PLA is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA offers continuing education opportunities, unique public library initiatives, and a conference that welcomes public library staff into meaningful partnership. In collaboration with its parent organization, the American Library Association, PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, its grant-making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.