Maureen Callahan--Archivist/Metadata Specialist from Yale University and author of the "You Ought to be Ashamed" blog--spoke with attendees at the Arizona Archives Alliance's "Care and Feeding of Your Intern" symposium on crafting ethical and meaningful internships for both interns and hosting institutions. The symposium, held October 30th from 9-4 p.m. at the auditorium of the Arizona Historical Society (Tucson), is described as follows:
New graduates from archives, library, and history programs frequently find difficulties locating paid work due to institutional budget cuts, lack of turnover in institutions, or sheer lack of required skills on job applications. Frequently, they find that their only option is starting with internships, many of which are unpaid. Because students leave school with enormous student debt, this adds additional financial burden on new professionals. The board of the Arizona Archives Alliance believes that a successful internship should provide interns with valuable real-world experience, should generate a completed project for the host institution, and that people should be paid for their work. However, with limited staff and funding, this can present a number of challenges.
This symposium focused on educating archivists about creating meaningful internships that could be beneficial both to students and new graduates, and the the host institutions. Presentations included topics related to crafting internships that would provide interns with the skills required to secure funding in the field of archives rather than creating busy work. Other topics related to educating potential interns on how to evaluate opportunities and match their skills in order to be competitive. Other presentations focused on ways that archivists could seek funding to provide monetary assistance (salary, stipends) for their interns.
Our many thanks to the Arizona Historical Records Advisory Board (AHRAB) and the Arizona Historical Society for their generous assistance. Thanks also to the membership of the Arizona Archives Alliance.