In an effort to build the capacity of a diverse, skilled workforce for the library community, the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) piloted a summer internship grant opportunity for Idaho public libraries in 2019 and is opening the grant opportunity again in 2020. With a $1,000 grant, the library, the intern, the intern’s mentor, and a community partner will collaborate and expose the intern to working in a library for several weeks in the summer. The intern will represent the diversity of the population served by the library.
The main desired outcome of the grant investment is that a diverse set of interns consider work in the library field as a viable career option at the same time as they deepen their workplace skills through the internship. A second desired outcome is that partnerships and collaborations among libraries and local organizations are started or strengthened. Additionally, a potential next level activity, with feedback from and evaluation of the internship experience, is for Idaho libraries to pursue a registered apprenticeship program or some other recognized library skill enhancement opportunity.
These desired outcomes align with the ICfL’s strategic goals:
- Goal 1: Build the institutional capacity of libraries to better serve their communities. The internship improves the library’s workforce as young people explore library careers.
- Goal 2: Support the role of libraries in preparing Idahoans to be college and career ready. The internship fosters interns’ knowledge of a possible career in libraries, develops soft skills, and increases knowledge and ability to use library and information resources (e.g., LiLI databases) that will serve them in future endeavors.
- Goal 3: Ensure equitable access to information and library services for Idahoans with disabilities, those in rural communities, English-language learners, people living in poverty, and other underserved communities. Libraries in the intern program are encouraged to seek interns that represent the diversity of their community, including, but not limited to, underserved representation.
- Goal 4: Support the role of libraries in economic and employment development. The intern program supports workforce development goals by providing summer employment for up to ten young adults while providing on-the-job training and skill development.