Inclusive Internship Initiative

PLA Inclusive Internship Initiative (III) logo

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

The deadline to apply for the Summer 2019 cohort has passed.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any public library in the US is welcome to apply. Small, rural, tribal, and pueblo libraries are strongly encouraged to apply.

My community is not very diverse, should I apply?

Yes. We encourage you to think broadly about diversity and inclusivity. In addition to race or ethnicity, think about gender and gender identity, physical ability, teens currently not in school or those experiencing housing insecurity. These are just a few examples, there may be other populations in your community from which to draw an intern.

What is the deadline to apply?

Completed application were due by Friday February 1, 2019 at 5:00 PM Central.

How are applications reviewed?

Representatives from PLA, YALSA, and ODLOS will review application and select participants based on demonstrated willingness to support the goals of III.

When will I be notified if my library is accepted?

Accepted libraries will be notified by March 22, 2019. This is a competitive application process and we regret we may not be able to accept all applicants.

Do I need to re-apply if I have applied or participated in the past?

Yes, you will need to apply again. Preference will be given to libraries that have not previously participated.

Who should be a mentor?

Mentors can be any staff that is responsible for developing and implementing public-facing programs or services. We encourage you to look beyond teen services staff when considering mentors. Check to make sure mentoring will not require a job description change or violate union rules.

Do mentors get paid?

No, we cannot pay mentors. We will be able to cover their travel expenses related the kick-off and wrap-up event.

Who should be an intern?

We suggest students who are between entering their junior year of high school but have not yet started college (approximately 16-19 years old). Participating libraries will be responsible for identifying and hiring their intern.

Do interns get paid?

Yes. PLA will issue a check for $3,500 to each participating library. The library is then responsible for establishing the intern’s hourly wage and determining how the funds will be administered to the intern. These funds must be used for direct intern support. They cannot be used for overheard, or related costs. Please check with your HR department regarding local laws and policies for tax and benefits withholding.

How many hours a week should interns work?

In order to have adequate time to develop their community-based project, interns should commit to this internship being their primary summer responsibility. With that said, there is no minimum weekly work requirement. It is up to the mentor and intern to determine the intern’s schedule. Past libraries have been successful by scheduling interns to work 30–35 hours a week for 10–12 weeks. Though not required, the library is also welcome to pay their intern for their time at the kick off and wrap up event.

How many interns can I have?

PLA can support one (1) intern per library, and an overall cohort of 50 libraries.

What kind of paperwork is necessary between my library and PLA?

Upon acceptance, PLA and the library will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The library will also need to submit a W9 to receive the $3,500 stipend. Once the intern is selected, PLA will send a second round of paperwork, including a permission slip to be signed by intern’s parent/guardian.

What are the participant and program expectations?

Each mentor-intern pair is expected to attend a kick-off event, develop a community-based project based on intern’s interests and library goals, participate in virtual training and networking, and attend a wrap-up event. Interns may only spend 25% of their time on administrative tasks like copying, filing, scanning, etc. For project inspiration, here are some examples of what past interns have worked on:

  • Inter-generational LGBTQ+ community roundtable
  • Outreach to teens held in local temporary detention center
  • Audio engineering and videography workshops to create a music video
  • Library resource booklet for at-risk youth: how to get your GED, clear criminal records, look for jobs
  • Local history digitization project
  • Translation of library policy and rules documents
  • Naturalization Study Group for community members with transitional immigration statuses
  • Digital literacy training for Chinese speaking senior citizens
  • Panel discussion on the impact of violence on communities

What is the kick-off event?

The kick-off event is June 13–15, 2019 in Chicago. The entire cohort will come together for master class sessions on common library programs and services, practice good intern and mentor skills, and network with one another. PLA has funding to cover all travel expenses for each mentor-intern pair.

What is the wrap up event?

The wrap-up event in September 20–22, 2019 in Washington, DC. Each intern will make a 5-minute presentation on their III experience. Career and college readiness resources will round out the experience. PLA has funding to cover all travel expenses for each mentor-intern pair.

What travel expenses are covered?

PLA has funding to cover all travel expenses for each mentor-intern pair. This funding is separate from the intern’s $3,500 stipend. Travel expenses include hotel lodging, airfare, airport parking, taxis or mileage to/from the airport, and all meals. More information will be provided to selected libraries.

Hey! You didn’t answer my question!

We’d be happy to. Drop us a line at plinterns@ala.org and we will get right back to you.

Also, an "office hours"-type webinar was presented on Jan 14, 2019, during which PLA staff reviewed the application process and program expectations, and answered questions about III. View the webinar recording.


For more information, please see the Guidelines.

How To Apply

The deadline to apply for the Summer 2019 cohort has passed. Accepted libraries will be notified by March 22, 2019. This is a competitive application process and we regret we may not be able to accept all applicants.