Internships and Fellowships


Interns at work at the Smithsonian Libraries

The Smithsonian Libraries offers internship opportunities to graduate students, library professionals, and undergraduate students interested in exploring a career in library and information science. Intern assignments may include a project or a structured practical experience. The Libraries selects interns based on its needs and on the specific education, training, skills, and interest of the applicant. With the exception of the Professional Development Internship, stipends are generally not offered by the Libraries, but funded internships may be available through the Smithsonian's Center for Museum Studies and the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Grants.

Applications are open for Summer 2019 internships in our 50th Anniversary and Kathryn Turner Diversity and Technology programs. See program pages for detailed information, including application instructions. Applications close January 18th, 2019.

How to apply:

All applications must go through the Smithsonian Online Appointment System: Select Smithsonian Institution Libraries as the unit, Smithsonian Institution Libraries Internship Program  or Smithsonian Institution Libraries Professional Development Internship as the program and then the appropriate project. All spring internships are unpaid positions with the option of part time. 

SIL does not award college credit, but many U.S. colleges and universities will recognize academic work performed while interning. Contact your academic advisor for instructions on how to receive credit. If you would be interested in working on one of these projects as an unpaid intern with the option of receiving academic credit, please note so on your application.

Housing and Transportation
Interns are responsible for securing their own housing and transportation. Many universities rent out dorm space during the summer to interns. No parking is available at the Smithsonian for interns. Public transportation, rail and bus, is located very close to the internship sites. The Smithsonian assumes no liability for intern housing. Interns do not receive transportation benefits.

Intern Policies

  • Interns must complete a pre-appointment Security Background Investigation. Interns cannot be accepted into the program until they complete and successfully pass this investigation. The investigation includes fingerprinting and a criminal background investigation conducted by the Office of Personnel Security at the Smithsonian.
  • All accepted Smithsonian interns must sign and complete an Internship Registration Form and Copyright Agreement. Completion of Photographic Release and Background Survey Questionnaire is optional, but encouraged.
  • Interns must complete an online Computer Security Training and sign a User-Agreement Form, in order to have access to Smithsonian email and computers.
  • Interns must read and sign a document pertaining to the prevention of workplace harassment.
  • Interns must furnish their social security numbers and dates of birth to the Office of Personnel Security in order to obtain a security credential.


Situated at the center of the world’s largest museum complex, the Smithsonian Libraries is a vital part of the research, exhibition, and educational enterprise of the Institution. Each Smithsonian scholar engages in an individual voyage of discovery using the artifacts and specimens of the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with the Libraries’ written and illustrated record of the past. The Libraries is uniquely positioned to help scholars understand the continuing vitality of this relationship, via exceptional research resources ranging from 13th-century manuscripts to electronic journals.

The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program provides support for scholarly research in the history of science and technology that makes use of the rare books and manuscripts of the Dibner Library. The Baird Society Resident Scholar Program provides support for scholarly research in the Special Collections of the Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, DC and New York, NY, in an extensive range of subject areas. The Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program supports longer-term research projects for scholars of early American history.

The deadline for all Smithsonian Libraries fellowship programs is January 15 for appointments during the following academic year (September 1 through August 31). We are currently accepting applications. Please see the individual program websites for details.

Travel awards to work with collections

The  Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educators Awards allow mid-career educators to be in residence and utilize the Smithsonian Libraries distinctive collections, focusing on science, history, culture and arts.  The awards are open to middle & high school teachers, college teachers, and museum educators working on curriculum development or publications in print or electronic form. 

In 2017, recipients will be awarded a short-term residency at the National Museum of Natural History Library.   They will be offered an opportunity to conduct research in natural history and related fields.  The Library offers excellent resources for developing curricula relating to Common Core, Core Arts Standards, and Advance Placement curricula.