The Multicultural Internship Program at Brooklyn Public Library
The Multicultural Internship Program @ Brooklyn Public Library Louis Muñoz, Sept. 22, 2012
What is the Multicultural Internship Program?Introduces high school students from different ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds to the diverse opportunities available to library professionals.
OBJECTIVES of MIP:1. Help increase the number of qualified professionals for employment as librarians.2. Give teens from diverse backgrounds exposure to & experience in a range of LIS responsibilities & areas.3. Connect teens to their communities.4. Increase ethnic & linguistic diversity of BPL librarians to reflect the borough’s diversity.5. Better serve the needs and interests of Brooklyn’s diverse populations.6. Address issues faced by libraries of similar size & type.7. Reflect a vision of change.
Genesis…• Assessment/Focus Groups: Only 4 out of 22 teens had considered LIS as a career option.• Idea that librarians deal mostly with books.• Disconnect between activities rewarding to teens and awareness of librarians being involved in those kinds of activities.• According to a 5-yr. ALA Spectrum survey, “the single most predictive indicator for choosing to enter a LIS program was prior experience working in a library.” (Loriene Roy et al., Bridging Boundaries to Create a New Workforce: A Survey of Spectrum Scholarship Recipients, 1998-2003, American Library Association, 2006.)
Other influences on creation of MIP:• Fairfax County (VA) Library’s IMLS-funded An American Future program• New York Hall of Science’s Career Ladder (mentoring & recruitment program)• Knowledge River, University of Arizona• Study on Generation 1.5 students
Competitive Selection Process: Total of 171 students chosen from across Brooklyn for paid internshipfor 200 service hours, January - June.
Orientation Workshops:• “Case of the Missing Fish: Customer Service at Its Finest” (HR Office)• “College Readiness for Young Adults” (Business & Career Library)• “Do You Speak My Language? Serving Brooklyn’s Immigrants through Cultural Awareness” (Multilingual Center)• “Young Person’s Guide to Electronic Resources at BPL” (Office of Collection Development)
School-Year InternshipVariety of General Projects, including:• Assisted with language interpretation & translation• Provided tech support• Created book displays• Shadowed librarians and other staff and created• Ran programs for kids and teens
School-Year InternshipExamples of Specific Projects:• Chinese New Year Celebration• Teen Tech Week Bingo• Teen Tech Week Jeopardy• Mehndi programs• “Are You a Teen Looking for a Job?”• Open Mic Night at Spring Creek• Videos: “Why I Love My Library” & “The True Story of Agatha Cunningham” (Check them out on YouTube!!)
MIP Elective Workshops/ Training Activities• MIP Book Club • Music Appreciation• Brooklyn Open • Brooklyn Collection• Central Library Tour • Today’s Teens/Tomorrow’s Techies• A Night at the Improv! • ESOL & Pre-GED Registrations• Career Readiness • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day• Chat Sessions • T4 Comic Book Club workshops• Show Me How to Do That! • CPR To-Go Program• MIP Mentor/Intern Get Together • Dweck Auditorium Programs• Library Field Trips • GameSpace Workshops
Chat Session with Nick Higgins (PULSE graduate!!), Correctional Services Librarian, NYPL
Summer InternshipsGeneral Projects: “Front-line” & “behind-the-scenes" work @: -Languages & Literature & Youth Wing -Office of Library Technology -Collection Development -Programs & Exhibitions -Youth & Family Services -Volunteer Services -Brooklyn Collection
Summer Internships, continued:Specific Projects:• Represented BPL at NYC Digital Waves Youth Media Festival & other events• PowerUP! Business Plan Competition• "Then and Now" photography project• Booklists• Website
Some Student Reflections:• “My expectations have changed drastically. I thought that I would only be dealing with books, but now I know that I can give my opinion and exchange ideas of what I would like to see in the library.”• “My expectations of the library is no longer just about it being a place where you check out books and use the computer. I’ve learned that the library offers many opportunities for children, adults who live here, and people who are new to the country.”• “I did not expect to actually become interested in the librarian profession.”• “It’s a hard job. The librarians do more than I have expected them to do. They do a lot for the community, which is very good.”
Benefits & Reasons for Becoming Mentors:• Working with teens/wanting to be positive role models: “I’m really interested in engaging teens in the library in ways that place them in more active, creative roles.”• Paying it forward: “I want to be a mentor because I started here as a trainee and know first-hand the importance of a good internship experience.”• Hope to develop new skills themselves: “Professionally, [I hope to] develop leadership skills and build confidence [and] get a fresh perspective from the mentee.”
Additional Benefits & Reasons:• Useful extra help at their branches: “We hope our branch will benefit from the help of an enthusiastic intern, who will have a chance to assist in after-school programming.”• Chance to present librarianship as an attractive career: “I like the idea of recruiting our next generation of librarians now. I think that the skills the interns get in the library will help them in any career path they choose.”• Finally: “The obvious benefits for the intern, community, and the library make this an opportunity I could not miss exploring.”
“Early Days,” but…• 10 MIP alumni have become part-time staffers. (Would be more, but…)• About 10 have joined the T4 volunteer program (Today’s Teens, Tomorrow’s Techies).• Many MIP alumni continue to be active at BPL, i.e. Great American Book Drive & author chats. (Note: Because of time constraints, ask us later about OBE (Outcome-Based Evaluations)).
Successes and Unexpected Lessons • Help the mentors! • Develop a supportive team • Being the “other adult” in the teens’ lives • Advocates for the library • Confidence and leadership building • Bonding between mentors and interns • Boost of energy to Brooklyn Public Library • What’s possible with a captive audience • The MIP Map blog and wiki (“SELL IT!!)
This project was made possible by a grantfrom the U.S. Institute of Museum andLibrary Services, which is the primarysource of federal support for the nations122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. TheInstitutes mission is to create stronglibraries and museums that connectpeople to information and ideas.