Library Internships – take advantage of them

With the economy continually crumbling, many young professionals (and not so young) are wondering about their future.  Will their be enough jobs available for them?  How can they compete in a tough market without experience?

I’m a big believer in taking advantage of opportunities that are presented to you.  My mom had some great strategies for getting noticed by potential employers.  I remember one time, she was very interested in a position that she wasn’t educated for, but knew she could learn.  She offered to work, for free, for two weeks.  If the employers liked her, she was hired, if not, the employers had two free weeks of labour, and my mom had learned the skills she was lacking prior to the experience.  She got the job.

This taught me that even free opportunities – volunteering or internships – really pay off if you can make them work for you.  If you are willing to put in the effort, you make connections and learn skills that are otherwise only available to those who already work in the field. 

Back in 2006, Library Journal published the article Internships are the Appetizers of the Library World, so Nibble, Nibble, Nibble…  The offers offer some key advice as to who should participate in interns and how to get the most out of your experience.

There are some great internship opportunities available, if you’re interested.  Check out your local libraries, universities, art galleries, historical societies and museums.  And, don’t forget to check out library association websites or contact local professionals. 

Also, I’ve listed 2 popular internship opportunities:

Presidential Libraries Internship Opportunities

Internships at NPR

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Library Internships – take advantage of them

  1. Saskia

    Thanks a lot for making that point, Laurel. I can only agree with what you’re saying. I got my current job through an internship because one of the colleagues I met there had got a job offer and they were looking for two people, so I ended up as the second person they were hiring. During the internship I also got to know the library system I’m now working with and I could not have learned that any other way. It may take a bit of courage for someone who has been in the profession for some time but who is looking for something new to do an internship, but after all it is not only for students! And it definitely opens doors…

  2. Laurel Tarulli

    Hi Saskia,
    Thank you for your comments. It’s amazing the contacts you can make through volunteering and internships. Even the practicum (unpaid internship placement) that library students have to complete prior to graduation is an excellent way to gain skills and make connections. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many students who attend their practicum like they do class – they do the minimum that is required, don’t ask questions and make no attempt at networking. Unfortunately, they do not see us as future employers and professional resources.

  3. Milanelle

    Hi Laurel… I’m glad I’ve found your website. It really inspires me, I am currently a 3rd year student in Philippines and taking up Library and Information Science. next year i will be taking my practicum and im happy i got your advice. thanks 😀 oh by the way, im thinking what could be my specialization be, im not yet sure what to take whether indexer, cataloger, archivist or what.. what do you think?? what is your specialization?? i am planning to work abroad if given by a chance.. 😀 thanks!!

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