Working in partnership with the HBCU Library Alliance, we established fully funded undergraduate summer internships offered at nationally recognized library preservation labs in 2018 (five students) and 2019 (seven students). In 2020, the summer internship sites were expanded to eight locations, including Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library; Duke University; the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin; Harvard University; the Library of Congress, the University of Kansas; the University of Virginia; and Yale University. Owing to the global pandemic our 2020 summer programing was offered entirely online.
Led by HBCU Library Alliance Executive Director Sandra Phoenix and Winterthur Associate Conservator for Library Materials/Affiliated Associated Professor Melissa Tedone and supported by generous contributions from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Peck-Stacpoole Foundation, AKC Fund, and other private donors, this internship program supports the HBCU Library Alliance's mission to "to transform and strengthen its membership by developing library leaders, preserving collections, and planning for the future," and seeks to benefit the conservation and library fields by introducing a pipeline for under-represented communities.
Primary goals for the internship program include:
- Introduce students to library preservation as a career choice.
- Familiarize students with cultural heritage conservation best practices.
- Provide students with practical, hands-on training in library preservation/conservation.
- Visit local cultural heritage sites and network with local cultural heritage, library, and preservation professionals.
- Mentor students and work with their home institution to implement a preservation project.
This program's continued popularity provides a sustainable opportunity for introducing HBCU students to library and archives preservation, thereby encouraging increased representation in both the library and conservation professions. Past projects have included conservation of historic campus blueprints at Fisk University, and mold-mitigation equipment and training for special collections and archives at Morgan State University. Past interns have helped to preserve a range of cultural heritage materials, from centuries-old wallpaper fragments from the Dennis Farm (arguably the oldest farm in the U.S. owned continuously by a free Black family), to early 19th-century American newspapers, Norman Bel Geddes blueprints, and a mid-19th century circus poster.
For more information about the HBCU Library Preservation Internship, please visit the HBCU Library Alliance: http://hbculibraries.org/2020-interns.html