Structure May Be Key to Incorporating Library School Interns in Academic Library Environments

Heather R. Williams

Abstract


Objective – To evaluate the effectiveness of the San Jose State University Library internship program.

Design – Focus group; single point in time; qualitative design.

Setting – Large academic library in the United States of America.

Subjects – Nine former interns of the San Jose State University (SJSU) Library.

Methods - Nine former interns of the SJSU Library internship program participated in a single 90-minute session. No inducements for participation were offered. A moderator asked a series of 10 questions designed to gather feedback in three areas: 1) “the internship as part of the Masters program,” 2) “the internship’s role in the realization of personal objectives and professional development,” and 3) “the experience of working in team based activities.” A digital voice recorder captured the participants’ responses, allowing for detailed analysis of the responses after the session.

Main Results – The interns deemed their overall experience successful, as all indicated they achieved their professional development objectives for the internship. However, the interns also indicated their experience could have been improved by the appointment of a single dedicated coordinator for recruitment and oversight, as well as more feedback on the quality of their work, especially for course-related instruction.

Conclusion – The SJSU Library determined that the internship program was advantageous to both the Library and the interns. All of the interns who participated in the focus group achieved their profession development objectives for the internship. Additionally, the Library received valuable feedback for improving the program. Suggestions included appointing a dedicated internship coordinator, allowing interns more of an opportunity to choose their projects, and ensuring that interns are offered frequent feedback about the quality of their work.

Keywords


academic librarianship; internship; subject teams

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