50th Anniversary Internships

New for Summer 2019!

The Smithsonian Libraries’ successful internship program currently provides students in library and information science and other disciplines, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work side by side with expert Smithsonian Libraries and Smithsonian staff to acquire the latest skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience needed for today’s information and cultural heritage marketplace.

In honor of the Libraries’ 50th Anniversary, a new paid internship program was created and will begin in Summer 2019. Interns in this program will be a mix of education levels, allowing the Libraries to nurture a passion for information services and museum libraries in a variety of age groups. Internships will be full time for eight weeks during the summer of 2019, with stipend levels dependent on academic level.

Below are detailed project descriptions for Summer 2019, followed by application instructions and additional program information. Email Erin Rushing (rushinge@si.edu) with questions. Applications will close January 18th, 2019.

Funding for the 50th Anniversary intern class was provided by the Secretary of the Smithsonian and the Smithsonian National Board.

Undergraduate Level Projects (stipend $500/week):

Discovery Services - Digital Presence and Footprint
Location: Discovery Services, Smithsonian Libraries, Washington, DC.

The ideal candidate would be an undergraduate student with a demonstrated interest, classes, and/or experience in: Communications, Digital Marketing/Strategies, Library and Information Science.

Discovery Services is the office within the Libraries that acquires new library materials, describes them for our library catalog and other systems, and shares these materials with our patrons and the world. Through this project, an intern will review the external web presence, intranet (Sharepoint) page and related documentation for Discovery Services. The intern will review information and messaging related to staff pages and organization, department summaries, and service descriptions, both on the Libraries webpage (library.si.edu) and the internal Sharepoint page. He/she will evaluate Discovery Services content and audience, research the ways similar groups present information and make recommendations for improvements and changes. The intern will also review the organization of Discovery Services documents, procedures and policies.

Through this project, an intern will learn how to review, critique and enhance a digital presence for a unit that is part of a much larger, extensive organization. The intern will compare the office’s digital storefront to peer groups (and learn how to identify peer groups) and extrapolate approaches and methods applicable to the Discovery Services Division. The intern will work with a variety of content types and communication platforms. This is a great opportunity for an undergraduate to learn the inner workings of a library, particularly the areas of technical services.

Supporting Access to Zoological Literature: Article Definition in the Biodiversity Heritage Library
Location: Digital Programs and Initiatives, Smithsonian Libraries, Washington DC

The ideal candidate would be an undergraduate student with coursework in zoology and/or demonstrated interest in working for a Zoo or in a related field. Some familiarity with Excel is preferred.

This intern will help make important zoological literature, digitized from the Smithsonian Libraries collections, more accessible to researchers around the world. Specifically, the intern will work to 'segment' digitized journals into their component articles by creating new access points on the Biodiversity Heritage Library's digital library platform.

The intern will create article-level metadata for these publications under the guidance of the National Zoological Park Librarian and then define these articles within the Biodiversity Heritage Library under the guidance of the Digital Collections Librarian. The intern will create blog posts and social media content, highlighting both this work and the collections themselves.

Through this project, the intern will learn about the principles of information science and information discovery/access, the concept of name authorities, and the complexities around digital libraries and metadata. An intern with a focus on the zoological sciences would hone vital research skills for a career in biological research, while gaining exposure to the utility of librarian-researcher partnerships. An intern focused on a career in the library sciences, would learn about science librarianship and digital librarianship on a more granular level, with real-world examples of user-centered practice.

Graduate level (stipend: $550/week):

Researching Art Ephemera Legacy Collections
Location: American Art/Portrait Gallery Library, Washington DC

The internship is available for graduate students enrolled or recently graduated from a degree program in library science, archives track, or art history. Intern should have good organizational skills and attention to detail and accuracy. Interns should have knowledge of library research methods. Interest in solving mysteries a plus!

From its inception, the American Art & Portrait Gallery (AAPG) Library has collected ephemera from donors, curators, and other departments from within the Smithsonian to support American Art research. The intern will help process some of these legacy collections into the AAPG Art and Artist File Collections. Processing will include intensive art historical research to determine whether the materials are appropriate for our collection and keep detailed statistics. Additionally, the intern will consider archival and library best practices when adding new materials including removal of corrosive materials and housing. This will allow important hidden materials to be organized and accessible.

Through this opportunity, the student will learn collection analysis techniques for a fine arts museum library and will have the opportunity to expand knowledge of the core research materials related to artists, movements, history, and theory. The intern will learn more about higher degrees of art historical research through researching the materials.

Preservation Services: Mold remediation and re-binding
Location: Smithsonian Libraries Book Conservation Lab, Landover, MD

This project would be ideal for a graduate student in the field of book or paper conservation with a particular interest in caring for collections in need, or that may be threatened, throughout the world.

In 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the US Virgin Islands (USVI), causing flooding in the USVI Legislative Archive in St. John, among damage in other locations. Eighteen volumes of the proceedings of the USVI Legislator, the Journals, were badly damaged by water immersion and subsequent mold growth. The Journals are hand-written records dating from 1909-1954. The Smithsonian Libraries has been entrusted to repair these materials.

The proposed internship would first involve assisting in mold remediation of the eight untreated volumes of legislative materials. The intern will assist full documentation of the books in their current condition, separating pages that are stuck together and vacuuming the records with a HEPA-filter vacuum in a fume hood to remove the dormant spores. The next part of the internship project would be the re-binding all 18 volumes of legislative records. The intern will gain experience removing damaged book boards, consolidating textblocks and spines, and creating new binding covers. This process will be a good exercise in production-style bookbinding.

There will be other aspects of the project, for example, the Journal dating from 1909 requires extensive paper repair owing to both mold and insect damage. Currently most of its pages are in shards; many of the most heavily damaged pages are written in Danish. The intern will assist a conservator with re-organizing and uniting the pieces of the pages so the text is legible, then lining the reconstructed pages with lightweight Japanese paper for stability.

The selected intern will be able to learn how recommendations and treatment decisions are based on collections currently stored in vulnerable locations. Understanding the effects of climate and environmental conditions can assist with this opportunity for studying these early 20th century ledger bindings in conjunction with best practices of storage, access, and handling.

Hirshhorn Library Special Collections
Location: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library, Washington DC

The ideal candidate will be a graduate student with an interest in art and/or library science. The candidate must be able to conduct independent research with secondary sources and write concise, original text. Some prior knowledge of 20th and 21st century art is preferred. Knowledge of multiple language(s) is useful but not required.

The intern will promote the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library’s special collections and the branch’s participation in the Smithsonian Libraries Adopt-a-Book Program (https://library.si.edu/donate/adopt-a-book). The intern will select Adopt-a-Book candidates from the Hirshhorn Library’s special collections and prepare researched and compelling written descriptions and photography of each item for inclusion in the program. The intern will also be asked to promote the Hirshhorn Library’s special collections and Adopt-a-Book program through blog and social media post. Additionally, the intern may have the opportunity to assist library staff in preparing a Collections Care and Preservation Funding grant proposal to improve the housing and maintenance of the special collection.

The student will gain experience working with special collections in a modern and contemporary art museum, developing knowledge of artists and publishing in this area of study. The student will also be introduced to concepts of collections maintenance and library fundraising techniques. The production of Adopt-a-book profiles, social media stories, and blog posts will provide an opportunity to research and write about art and library objects, and publish completed texts on the Smithsonian's web platforms.

Additional Program information:

Eligibility Criteria
This paid internship program is open to students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program (depending on project) from an accredited institution, or those who have graduated in the past six months.

Application Materials

  1. Application
  2. Resume detailing your experience, career interests and internship goals
  3. Unofficial Academic Transcripts from all college/universities attended
  4. Academic Essay: Two pages describing how academic goals, qualifications and career aspirations relate to the internship at the Smithsonian Libraries
  5. Two professional or academic recommendations (e.g., professors, past employers, supervisors), submitted electronically through SOLAA

All applications must be submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment system: https://solaa.si.edu . Applicants should be sure to choose “Smithsonian Institution Libraries” as the unit, “Smithsonian Libraries 50th Anniversary Internship Program” as the program, and then select the two projects that most interest them.

Selection Criteria

  • At least a 3.0 GPA in the major (as verified by the submission of academic transcripts)
  • Demonstrated interest in the research and museological activities of the Smithsonian Institution and work of Smithsonian Libraries
  • Demonstrated knowledge or coursework related to Smithsonian areas of interest; solid writing, analytical, and computer skills are mandatory.
  • Suitable Smithsonian Libraries' projects for members of applicant pool.

Interns may receive $500 per week (undergraduates) or $550 per week (graduate students), which is awarded to the student as a stipend. Internships are full time (35 hours per week) for eight weeks. Interns are not eligible for Smithsonian or Federal transportation benefits.

Applicants should expect to be notified of selection status in mid-February. Internships will be performed for eight full weeks during the summer. Internships typically begin in early June, though exact dates are flexible, depending on project and supervisor.

Further inquiries about Smithsonian Libraries Internships should be directed to:
Erin Clements Rushing (rushinge@si.edu)
Or: https://library.si.edu/about/internships-and-fellowships