Leadership, Management and Organizational Development
As part of their mission to serve the entire community, public libraries value equity, diversity and inclusion. It is important that these values are reflected in the staff of public libraries. To attract the best candidates who reflect the diversity of our communities, librarianship must be viewed as a viable, rewarding, and meaningful career path. High school upperclassmen, already considering their next educational move, are an audience ready to learn more about the work and rewards of librarianship. The Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), offered the Inclusive Internship Initiative (III) this summer, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant RE-00-17-0129-17, as a way to introduce students from diverse backgrounds to librarianship while building critical skills.
Through a summer-long mentored learning project, library mentors and interns engaged with multiple facets of library life, from administration to programming to user services. The community based projects interns completed brought new audiences into the library, including hard-to-reach teens. Through participation in iii, interns developed portable library job skills and greater appreciation for the community anchor role libraries play. At the end of summer, interns understood educational pathways leading to professional library careers.
Participating libraries came from communities across the US, including urban, rural, and tribal libraries. This panel will discuss the value of engaging teen interns from local communities, and provide best practices and scalable models for remaking teen internships to build library-specific job skills.