Unpaid internships

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Are unpaid internships exploitative?

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Unpaid internships

Post by Admina on Wed May 18, 2016 3:40 pm

Are they exploitative or great opportunities?

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Re: Unpaid internships

Post by plenz on Mon May 23, 2016 11:45 am

I feel that staff tend to view unpaid interns as volunteers. Essentially, they are because they are in fact unpaid. However, what sets an intern apart from a volunteer is that they are committed to a set schedule and are often seeking course credit and/or relevant work experience. I don't think the staff always values the fact that their unpaid interns may be juggling a full-time course load (four classes), a part-time job (or two), the bus schedule (for those car-less interns), and the unpaid internship all for the sake of experience, meaning they don't always design unpaid internships to be as worthwhile as they may advertise. I don't think many hiring managers value unpaid internship experience as much as they say they do, unless they actually get a chance to speak to job applicants about their experience. While I have heard of interns being offered full-time positions, this is very rare within the library field. 

I don't think it demonstrates the field's investment in the future (intern-to-entry-level) to offer nothing but unpaid internships. For example, how many other fields offer paid internships to undergraduate and graduate level interns? Business, engineering, public service, etc., which in turn motivates students to seek out internships within these fields creating a large pool of qualified applicants upon graduation. However, many, if not all of the internships offered within the library field are unpaid. These positions are hard to justify for students paying their way through graduate school under the aforementioned circumstances. Yet, most entry-level librarian positions require applicants to demonstrate a certain amount of library experience. Often, business (marketing, accounting, etc), engineering, or public service (parks and rec, mayor's office, etc.) paid internships can be attained through the city or county, how come the same can't be said for library internships?

*I have had 5 unpaid internships. Not all have been in libraries.

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