LISSTEN - Library and Information Science Students to Encourage Networking

Fall 2007

  From an Internship Supervisor’s Perspective  

Julie Moore offers her thoughts on the internship process.

On how supervisors evaluate potential interns:

Since my role was as cataloging internship mentor, I looked for a true passion for and interest in learning about cataloging, first and foremost. But in general, I looked for honesty during the interview, for the desire to learn, and for someone with whom it would be a pleasure to work. Since it was an internship, I did not expect the applicants to have tons of experience in cataloging. Having said that, I did expect that they would have taken at least one or two cataloging courses. (The formal ARLIS internship program that Julie headed was a post-MLS internship.)

On making the most of the internship experience:

Carla Garner is in her last year at SLIS. She lives outside of Chicago.

My best advice: come with an open mind, be eager, and be ready to learn. This is the time to ask lots of questions!  Consider this an MLIS immersion program. One of my most successful interns actually read AACR2 in his off-time. He surely left the experience knowing more about cataloging than when he arrived.

On evaluating potential internship sites:

Make sure that there is an MLIS-degreed staff member on board who can show you the ropes. Be clear on what will be involved, and make sure that it will meet your expectations and future career needs.   Conversely, ask important questions of yourself. Are you interested in spending “x” number of hours on these types of activities?  Can you afford to do an internship, especially if it requires travel or possibly relocating? While the interviewer is evaluating whether or not the interviewee will be suitable for their needs, the potential intern should be making a similar evaluation.

On networking as an intern:

Julie Moore is Catalog Librarian at Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno and former ARLIS cataloger (2001-2004).

During your internship, get to know the librarians on staff, especially the ones who are in your area of specialization. Once in a while, a job opens up shortly after someone does an internship. That is an ideal situation, because intern-turned-job-candidate is already a known quantity for the organization. Subscribe to the listservs pertinent to your state and your specific area to hear about job openings. I have found that job opportunities often appear on these listservs before they appear in print.

Join your state’s library association and attend the annual conference. Attend the membership meetings. Let them know who you are, and volunteer to sit at the booth or run for an office. Join ALA and get involved with the smaller groups in which you have an interest.

Figure out how to become involved with a mentor-mentee program. When you take workshops, get together with the other people in your specialization and go to lunch with them. You never know whether one of them could be your next colleague or supervisor!

I can’t emphasize networking enough. The job candidates who get called for a first interview often have already established some connection with the organization, either through a referral or perhaps a prior internship.  That connection is what helps them get their foot in the door.

On the ARLIS mounted bear:

Yes, I know the mounted black bear at ARLIS quite well. I cataloged him as an example of how to catalog realia with my interns. His name is “Luego”, and you can look him up on OCLC,, keywords “Luego bear!”

Alaska Resources Library and Information Services web site:


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