Innovative Internship Recipients Announced

METRO is pleased to announce the stipend recipients of its recently-launched Innovative Internship Program. The goal of METRO Innovative Internship Program is to recognize and support innovative internships for graduate students and recent graduates entering the cultural heritage profession, fund otherwise unpaid internships, and foster innovative work within METRO-member institutions. More details can be found in the program announcement.

The program received a large number of applications consisting of many excellent proposals – far more than we could award, unfortunately! But we encourage all students, recent graduates, and METRO member institutions to apply in the future and to keep an eye out for the announcement of the next open application period. 

Three Innovative Internships were awarded for the Spring 2013 academic semester. The recipients are:

Alexandra Dolan-Mescal, Graduate Student, will be working with the Queens College Occupy Archive, part of their Civil Rights Archives, to build the digital presence of the collection through a combination of data mining, harvesting of online Occupy-related materials, in-person oral histories and on-site acquisition, and crowdsourced contributions of archival materials through the collection’s online presence.

What we liked about the project: Alexandra’s proposal featured an expansive approach to archival appraisal and acquisition, combining a variety of methods of collecting materials and using online tools and platforms to further a project that “seeks to re-establish the context of materials through research and collaboration with individual creators and institutions.”

Jonathan Heifetz, Recent Graduate, will be working with the NYPL’s Department of Community Outreach to expand its engagement with homeless-related service organizations, support branch library services for the homeless across the city, and increase programming and support for the homeless community via library services.

What we liked about the project: We often think of innovation as necessarily involving technology or online tools, but there can also be creative strategies to addressing long-standing problems and augmenting public services to untraditional or poorly-served communities. We liked Jonathan’s proposal because it aims to foster connections between libraries and local service organizations that provide support for the homeless. This involves building communication channels between libraries and social service organization, knowledge gathering from both librarians currently tackling homeless-issues and social service workers directly supporting this community, and rethinking library services for the homeless by creating micro-libraries and offering library-affiliated public programming within homeless shelters. 

Chialin Chou, Graduate Student, will be working in the Drawings and Archives Department of Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library in an internship structured as a “parallel learning experience” working half at Avery and half on-site at Storefront for Art and Architecture, a New York City-based non-profit design organization. 

What we liked about the project: Chialin’s internships involves working both within a traditional archive and on-site at a community partner assessing, collecting, and preserving archival materials and providing guidance to Storefront as it strengthens its own institutional preservation policies, undertakes digitization, inventorying, and cataloging efforts, and continues to produce material bound for eventual accessioning into Avery’s collections. As Chialin said in her excellent project description: “by combining activities at Avery with field work at Storefront, this internship adopts an innovative, collaborative approach to archival learning through public service, community engagement and resource sharing.”

Though assessed independently, these three projects do share the theme of greater collaboration between local communities and libraries and archives. Even beyond the resource sharing and activist approach to selection and preservation, each project also features a librarian or archivists working outside of the walls of their host institution and engaging directly with constituent communities and record creators to build collective strategies towards services and preservation. METRO is glad to be able to support these sorts of innovative projects and we look forward to more in the future