It has almost been a year since my last post. Much has happened. What started as a break became a long adventure that certainly isn’t over. What brings me back to the blog-o-sphere? There are several topics that come to mind: managing large projects, dealing with bullies, how to engage students, assessment, and so many more. Today, I want to talk about my interns.
About a year and a half ago, I began an internship program for the program that I work on, which is a state-wide digital repository. I consulted other programs and institutions that have internships. I looked to my own institution to see what we have. I also took into consideration my own internship experience when I was at Simmons. There are a surprising number of resources on the topic. Many where helpful in charting how to define an internship program, setting up parameters and scope for the internship and interns, assessing and measuring success, and how to make an unpaid internship attractive to students. Content was created on our programs website outlining the internship with documents and guidelines. And our first intern started towards the beginning of 2016 with our local GSLIS program in the area on metadata creation and enhancement!
The focus of our internships are on the student. Of course, we seek to have some work done as sort of our freebie moment of glory. More importantly, our internship program aims to allow the intern a view into the day to day activities of working on a digital repository program and the tools used for that work. Each intern designs their internship and the tools they want to focus on. We’ve now had interns work on learning how to make harvesting more efficient, just creating metadata, creating an xml site map, automating workflows using Python, applying tools to manipulate data, designing outreach and marketing materials, or creating asynchronous online learning objects (aka video tutorials). Our interns now come from as far as Florida!
The internship program takes work. Each intern is interviewed. If accepted, we help the intern design their internship that include tasks, hours to complete those tasks, and key dates. There’s various housekeeping items to take care of like setting up weekly check-ins, explaining the terms of the internship, ensuring that interns stay on track, and the like. There is a lot of administrative overhead that accompanies each intern. However, it is worth all the work. It is amazing to work with these students and see them grow professionally. As for myself, working with interns has allowed me to develop better supervisory skills as well as being more flexible in adopting a learning environment that fits each intern. This has helped me to better supervise my employees. It also is a way to give back to the library community and help support future colleagues.