Cultivating Tomorrow’s Librarians: From Library Interns to Library Leaders
Library internships have proven to be an effective way for library school students or recent library school graduates to gain practical experience in a library or information center before they venture out into the working world of information science. Opportunities for interns to apply the theoretical concepts they are learning in library school abound from public to academic to law libraries, and beyond. Yet location is one thing, and success is another. This poster will present a toolkit on how to run a successful internship program in order to ensure that the information professionals who emerge from internship experiences exhibit leadership, knowledge, and will have acquired useful skills that can be carried forward into their careers. This poster will emphasize what works versus what does not work in terms of intern duties, responsibilities, and time management. The information presented will be based on the positive experiences of two library school students who interned at the John Spoor Broome Library at California State University Channel Islands during the spring of 2011 and the literature pertaining to internship programs. There are many factors that have an impact on whether or not a student’s internship is considered successful. In order for an internship experience to be successful for all parties involved, it is essential for there to be trust, guidance, and hard work all around. The mentoring librarian should provide plentiful opportunities for the intern to perform professional level duties so they are equipped with experience that will empower them to become leaders when they are hired. Opportunities for interns to work on self-guided projects tailored to their own professional goals is a great way of ensuring that the intern is acquiring usable skills for his/her future employment. Special Q & A sessions with librarians at the internship site that allow the intern to ask specific questions about the profession is another way for the intern to take advantage of all the knowledge and work experience that other information professionals have acquired over the years. Providing these great opportunities for professional growth and exploration is a benefit to both the intern and the internship site. Not only will the interns become more readily employable right out of library school, but the internship site will have the opportunity to nurture a young information professional during the early stages of their career into someone they would hire in the future.