General Internship Program

2018 Summer General Internship Opportunities

Below are a list of projects currently available for the Summer 2018 General Internship Program. Although most are part-time and in the DC area, please note the specific hours and geographic location for each. These are unpaid learning experiences but we are happy to work with a student’s college or university to help them obtain credit.  

Applications for all projects will be collected through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System ( Be sure to select "Smithsonian Institution Libraries" as the unit and "Smithsonian Institution Libraries Internship Program" as the program. You may then select the applicable projects.  Applications should include an essay detailing your academic and career goals and what you hope to learn through this internship, as well as a resume, academic transcripts and two references. Applications are open until March 23rd, 2018 or until filled.

National Postal Museum and Anacostia Community Museum Libraries

Location: Intern will spend the first part of their internship at the National Postal Museum Library, followed by time at the Anacostia Community Museum Library.

This internship offers experience in two distinct and unique museum libraries. For the first part of this internship, a student will have the opportunity to learn more about philately, broaden base knowledge from library science courses and put their skills in organizing information to practical use by assisting the librarian in managing the National Postal Museum Library’s auction catalog collection. The intern will learn how to arrange and document the collection to help increase access to the material. For the second part of the internship, the intern will learn how a unique community museum operates as well as learn about collections management issues when he/she assists in the evaluation of the reference collection at the Anacostia Community Museum Library.

This position would be ideal for a current or aspiring library school or information science student with attention to detail and an interest in collections management.

Vine Deloria, Jr. Library Donated Collections

Location: National Museum of the American Indian, Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD

The intern in this position will assist the NMAI Librarian to sort and organize donated materials for acquisition. The intern will gain experience searching the library catalog, evaluating the condition of materials and will help prepare designated books for cataloging.  The intern will learn the fundamentals of library collection development and collection maintenance, as well as outreach to American Indian libraries.

An ideal candidate for this position would be a graduate student in a Library Science program, or an undergraduate student interested in Library Science as a possible career choice; and, have a genuine interest in Native American and Indigenous art, culture, and history.

Educational Programs

Location: National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Libraries Education Department is looking for summer interns to further develop our K-12 and family resources. Projects may include developing new content for in-gallery family kits in partnership with Smithsonian Museums; Developing new content for quarterly day-long middle school programs; Assessing recent launch for K-12 resource and developing additional materials. Practical knowledge of youth, educational practices, and public programming highly desired.  The interns in this project will learn how to develop and grow original digital and programmatic educational content as well as strengthen their knowledge of museum and library collections and gain experience in assessment of current programmatic practices.

Ideal candidates for this position are Masters candidates in good standing in the following fields: Library Science, Education, Museum Education, Art History, History. Though all with applicable experience are welcome.

Biodiversity Heritage Library Digital Content (VIRTUAL)

Location: Remote. Intern should have own computer and internet access, as well as video conferencing capability.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is the world's largest open access digital library of natural history literature ( The BHL Digital Content Intern will work closely with the Digital Collections Manager to contribute digitized books and metadata to the BHL collection. Interns will learn various digitization workflow tools to track collection management and curation activities, enhance metadata, and process digital files for inclusion. Routine activities will include identifying key gaps in BHL's collection, preparing digital books and catalog records for upload, adding descriptive item and page level metadata, ensuring copyright compliance and documenting workflow tasks.

Ideal candidates will possess great attention to detail and a demonstrated ability to communicate proactively and work independently. Preference given to students with metadata or cataloging experience. Students enthusiastic to learn about collection management and curation in digital libraries are strongly encouraged to apply.

Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex Collections

Location: Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex Library, Landover, MD.

During this internship, a student will assist the branch librarian with collections processing. The intern will learn how to review un-accessioned or unidentified materials and items of questionable provenance. The intern will learn how to pre-process monograph and serial runs, and create provisional records, as needed, as well as maintain statistics of work completed.

Through this internship, the student will acquire and deepen knowledge of library arrangement systems; learn or deepen understanding of bibliographic data and how it relates to online catalog records; and gain insight into basic collections management practices in a research library. 

The ideal candidate is an undergraduate in any research discipline with an interest in research libraries, how research collections are developed and maintained, and has a desire to explore if library collections work is suited to them. The candidate must have an astute attention to detail, good proofreading and editing skills, a willingness to ask questions, an ability to work independently, comfort in quiet settings, and a love for book collecting and the smell of books! The candidate should be comfortable searching online library catalogs and using Excel spreadsheets.

Natural History Libraries Research Guide Project

Location: National Museum of Natural History Library, Main Branch

The Natural History Library's online research guide is in need of a major facelift! We are looking for an intern to help us create targeted research guides based on Smithsonian Libraries Best Practices for Research Guides. The candidate will be mentored by library staff while learning to break apart and update the guide, provide descriptions of each source and remove resources that are no longer relevant. The intern will then gain experience developing a plan to promote the guide to schools and the public, as well as educational groups at the Smithsonian.

This position would be best suited for a student interested in web resources in support of science research and who may have experience in developing online subject guides. An MLS candidate would be ideal, especially with a science background.