Grants allows students to intern for University Circle Libraries

Frank Yonkof

Thanks to a $500,000 federal grant, a few lucky students will get credit for working at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame without paying tuition for the class.

Kent State has partnered with University Circle Libraries in Cleveland to offer 72 college undergraduates a tuition-free program that will eventually lead to an internship.

The program will target students who are interested in history, music, art, humanities or the sciences allowing students an opportunity to intern for places such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Western Reserve Historical Society, the Cleveland Clinic or the Cleveland Orchestra.

SLIS is spearheading the effort in hopes of attracting students to their graduate library program.

“The idea is to introduce them to the idea of pursuing a career in librarianship,” said Flo Cunningham, public relations director for the School of Library and Information Science. “For the students, they don’t pay any tuition for the class.”

Kent State students will have to compete with five other area universities and colleges for the spots. Once selected, students will take an online class in the fall, which would transfer to their university. The 100-hour internship would follow in the spring. All together, students will earn 6 credit hours.

“We’re hoping they’ll decide they do want to become librarians and want to come to Kent State,” Cunningham said. “There are other library schools not far from here.”

Cunningham expects the limited number of spots to be competitive. The school is looking for students with a good GPA and interest in the particular subject area. Cunningham said students don’t necessarily need to be interested in becoming a librarian.

Kent State is also in the midst of putting together a museum studies concentration for SLIS graduate students. The school hopes this program will strengthen their relationship with University Circle Libraries.

“The combination of a museum studies curriculum within a library and information science school is relatively rare,” said Greg Byerly, associate professor, in a press release. “The wealth of world-class museums at our disposal will make this program that much more impressive and marketable.”

Librarians from University Circle will help develop the museum studies curriculum and some will serve as adjunct faculty. The goal is to train future librarians to work in independent special libraries.

“Apparently there are a large number of those types of librarians across the country who are going to be retiring soon,” Cunningham said. “There’s nothing in place to build a pipeline for replacing them.”

You can contact Frank Yonkof at [email protected].