Professional Development Internships

This long-standing internship program offers a unique opportunity for aspiring librarians and archivists to work alongside Smithsonian Libraries and Archives staff. Interns in this program acquire crucial skills, knowledge, and experience to prepare them for their future careers. This program is geared towards graduate students in a Master of Information Science program or similar.

In addition to opportunities specific to their project, interns will participate in activities designed to enhance their learning experience, including tours, presentations, and informational interviews. All Smithsonian Libraries and Archives interns prepare a blog post summarizing their work.

For Summer 2022, this internship will be performed virtually (remotely), full-time, for eight weeks during the summer. Dates are flexible but a June start date is preferred. Interns are eligible for a stipend of $700 a week. Virtual/remote interns should have reliable access to a computer and internet connection.

Summer 2022 Project: Exploring Bias in Library of Congress Subject Headings

Full-time, Virtual

The intern will work closely with the Head of Resource Description to learn about bias in Library of Congress Subject Headings(LCSH). This will involve a review of the current literature available about bias in LCSH; training on navigating cataloging utilities like ClassificationWeb; understanding how authority control works within library systems; and learning more about the role of cooperative cataloging standards and practices as administered by the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC). Over the course of the project, the intern will learn different methods and strategies for mitigating the effects of bias in LCSH, including how to create and maintain local headings; exploring and using established alternate thesauri; and how to research and propose changes to the existing LCSH system using the SubjectAuthority Cooperative Program.

The intern will also have the opportunity to experience hands-on cataloging via an ongoing Subject Headings project. This project will be looking closely at headings assigned to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion-related materials in our collection and will implement changes with the goal of making description more inclusive, accurate, and respectful. The intern will be able to assist with the work of researching and crafting subject proposals and/or adding new local headings to our catalog (depending on skill and experience).

The ideal candidate will be a Master’s level student in Information Sciences. Previous coursework in cataloging is not required but would be beneficial. Interest or experience in fields relating to Indigenous peoples, African American, Asian or Latinx studies, gender and women’s studies, or sociology would be helpful.


Students must be accepted into, currently enrolled in, or recent graduates of a Master of Information Science program or similar.

Selection Criteria:

Through their application materials, including a resume and essay, candidates should be sure to demonstrate the following:

  • Interest in learning about libraries, archives, and museums, particularly as it relates to their selected project areas.
  • How the candidate’s background and experiences have prepared them for this opportunity.
  • How this opportunity will enhance the student’s learning or contribute to their future career goals.

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointments system (SOLAA). Applicants should select “Smithsonian Libraries and Archives” as the unit and the “Smithsonian Libraries and Archives Professional Development”.

The following items must be included and uploaded into the SOLAA system as part of your application:

  • Essay of 500 to 1,000 words describing your learning objectives, qualifications, and career aspirations and how they relate to this internship.
  • Transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded into SOLAA. Do not mail physical copies.
  • CV/Resume
  • Contacts for two professional or academic recommendations.The candidate inputs names and emails into the SOLAA application system. References are automatically sent an electronic survey and have an opportunity to upload a traditional reference letter. Candidate should be sure to communicate this process to their references and input email addresses accurately.

The Smithsonian is committed to ensuring that all employees and affiliated persons (including interns) are treated equitably in an environment that is free from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, gender stereotyping, pregnancy, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status or marital status. All personnel practices, including the selection of interns, must comply with this policy.

For Summer 2022, the application deadline is February 13th, 2022. Applicants will be updated of their status by late March.