Fall Interns Gain Hands-on Experience at NPL

Library now Accepting Applications for Spring 2020 Internships

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NPL fall 2019 interns in the Main Library courtyard

NPL's fall interns take a break from their rotations in the Main Library's courtyard. From left: Marina, Macy, Brooke, and Sydney. (NPL Photo/Ed Brown)

Students who want an internship in Nashville have plenty of options—the challenge is finding one that will actually benefit them.

As of this writing, LinkedIn lists over 390 internships in and around the Metro Nashville area, covering everything from event planning to developing artificial intelligence. Despite the abundance of opportunities available, students still face two basic concerns: will they actually get to practice their skills and will it help them in their careers?

For four college students completing fall internships at Nashville Public Library (NPL), the answer to both questions is a resounding yes.

Sydney, a Law, History and Society major at Vanderbilt University, is focusing on gender studies in Special Collections, while assisting with preparations for the Votes for Women exhibit.

“The experience has been much more than I expected,” Sydney said. “I want to put my mark on something that will have a lasting impact. Having my voice heard has been educational and empowering.”

Macy, a Public Relations senior at Belmont University, shares a similar outlook.

“I like that it’s not busywork. I’m engaged with social media, photos, planned giving—things the Foundation deals with every day, while I practice the skills I’m learning in class,” Macy said of her communications internship with the Nashville Public Library Foundation.

Brooke, a Master of Science in Information Sciences student at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was impressed by the diversity of programs at NPL. She’s getting exposure to many of them through the Library Practicum. The practicum helps students seeking a master’s in library information sciences to explore the different career tracks they can pursue in a library system.

“I didn’t know just how much the Library offers,” Brooke said. “Once you see things like Studio NPL, it makes total sense why they’re at the Library, but I was surprised at first.”

For Marina, also a senior Law, History and Society major at Vanderbilt, NPL’s mission to serve people was the main draw. She’s leaving her mark in the Metro Archives, cataloging over 100 years of court case files so that future researchers can easily find them.

“I always wanted to pursue public service,” Marina said. “The Library seemed like the perfect place to expand my skill set and use it to benefit others. This is my way of helping history lovers like me discover important information.”

The areas of study the four fall interns are pursuing are just a few examples of the many offered at NPL. Others include:

  • Health and Wellness
  • Interior Design
  • Community Development
  • Early Childhood Literacy

“I love the energy and enthusiasm that students bring,” said Helen Sanders, an academic outreach specialist at NPL, who coordinates the internship program. “I’m proud that we offer meaningful and substantial internships that allow students to contribute their ideas and perspectives.”

According to Sanders, the Library has hosted 107 students from 39 academic institutions since 2012. Last year’s 13 interns contributed 1,574 hours of service to the Library.

NPL is now accepting applications for spring 2020 internships from undergraduate and graduate college students. Visit the College Internships & Library Practicum page to learn about the exciting opportunities the Library can offer you.

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