CHICAGO — A group of high-school-aged interns and their library mentors will travel to Washington, D.C. this month for the Inclusive Internship Initiative kickoff event. This initiative, which seeks to introduce young people from diverse backgrounds to careers in librarianship, is administered by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).
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 received support for this program from from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, through a pre-professional Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant (grant RE-00-17-0129-17). A total of 33 public libraries were selected to participate in this first-of-its-kind program.
The kickoff event will take place June 16-17 in Washington, D.C., and will include special welcomes by Robert Newlen, deputy director of the Library of Congress, and Felton Thomas, Jr., president of PLA. Interns will receive a broad overview of library work through a master class covering such issues as educational paths to library careers and libraries’ role in increasing community literacy. The national cohort of interns and mentors will convene at the end of the summer in Chicago, Ill., to present the findings from their projects.
This project will have an immediate benefit to the libraries and student participants. Library staff will better understand early career pathways to librarianship and gain appreciation for their role and impact in supporting diversity along those paths. Students will better understand the many ways librarians positively serve their communities, and gain the tools to make decisions about the educational directions that will lead them into library service and leadership. Interns will have opportunities to connect with one another, and mentors across the country, to share what they are learning and doing through live and virtual channels, creating a ripple effect of learning and awareness.
The following libraries are participating in the summer 2017 Inclusive Internship program:
- Alexandria Library (Alexandria, VA)
- Anythink Libraries (Thornton, CO)
- Auburn Public Library (Auburn, AL)
- Blackfeet Community College (Browning, MT)
- Calvert Library (Prince Frederick, MD)
- Centre County Library & Historical Museum (Bellefonte, PA)
- Charleston County Public Library (Charleston, SC)
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (Charlotte, NC)
- Chico Public Library, Inc. (Chico, TX)
- Cleveland Public Library (Cleveland, OH)
- Clinton-Macomb Public Library (Clinton Township, MI)
- Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma, OH)
- Denver Public Library (Denver, CO)
- El Paso Public Library (El Paso, TX)
- Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (Evansville, IN)
- Great River Regional Library (St. Cloud, MN)
- Haines Borough Public Library (Haines, AK)
- Hennepin County Library (Minnetonka, MN)
- Houston Public Library (Houston, TX)
- Kenai Community Library (Kenai, AK)
- Jacksonville Public Library (Jacksonville, FL)
- Los Angeles Public Library (Los Angeles, CA)
- Madison Public Library (Madison, WI)
- Miama Public Library (Miami, OK)
- Nashville Public Library (Nashville, TN)
- New Orleans Public Library (New Orleans, LA)
- Oakland Public Library (Oakland, CA)
- Portland Public Library (Portland, ME)
- Pikes Peak Library District (Colorado Springs, CO)
- Saint Paul Public Library (St. Paul, MN)
- Santo Domingo Pueblo Library (Santo Domingo, NM)
- Skokie Public Library (Skokie, IL)
- Waipahu Public Library (Waipahu, HI)
Additional information about the Inclusive Internship Initiative can be found at https://apply.ala.org/plinterns.
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The Public Library Association (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 professional development 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.