PLA Inclusive Internship Initiative

Last summer, the Public Library Association (PLA) piloted the Inclusive Internship Initiative (III), which was designed to present librarianship as a viable career option for the next generation of Americans. Through III, PLA sponsored paid, mentored public library internships for 50 high school juniors and seniors at 39 host libraries across the U.S., including two tribal libraries and sites in Alaska and Hawaii.

The project was a tremendous success in all facets, and, with the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), PLA is offering the III program once again for the summer of 2018. Public libraries are invited to apply to host a high school intern through III this summer.

III is an opportunity for public libraries to offer paid, mentored internships to high school students from diverse backgrounds. The program is designed to introduce interns to careers in librarianship through a summer-long learning project and engagement with multiple facets of library work, from administration to programming to user services. Interns and mentors will have opportunities to connect and learn from a national cohort. PLA is proud to offer this opportunity to 50 libraries, with support from IMLS’ grant RE-00-17-0129-17.

All public libraries are eligible. Small, rural, and tribal libraries are strongly encouraged to apply.

"Participating in the 2017 cohort was an eye-opening experience for both the libraries and the interns," explained Pam Sandlian Smith, PLA president and director, Anythink Libraries (Adams County, Colo.). "The libraries discovered how much passion, talent and enthusiasm the teens can have for their work, and the interns discovered the powerful contributions that libraries make in our communities."

PLA is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. In collaboration with its parent organization, the American Library Association, PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders.

IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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