UO Libraries offers special collections research internships

Illuminated manuscript from special collections.

Students with ideas for original projects that dive into the past or focus on other thematic areas in the UO Libraries’ special collections can apply for Undergraduate Special Collections Internships.

Interns are paid to do original research using library collections; often, these projects may also be used to fulfill assignments in credit courses. Interns also receive mentorship from Special Collections and University Archives librarians and UO faculty members.

Interns’ projects can focus on organizing, describing or inventorying collections materials; interpreting special collections in a research paper; providing original research for physical or online exhibits, social media and online research guides for library users; or producing digital reproductions and transcripts. Interns create a short report and presentation in addition to disseminate the results of their research.

One or two internships will be offered during the 2016-17 school year. Interns will be required to work at the library a minimum of eight hours per week and a maximum of 15; pay will be $11-$13 an hour. The deadline to apply is Monday, Nov. 21, at 5 p.m.

Students should apply with a project in mind, said Vera Keller, an associate professor of history in the Clark Honors College who is leading the selection committee. Applicants must also identify a faculty mentor who has agreed to advise them.

Keller became a historian by working with special collections as an undergraduate.

“There’s really no better place to discover what research really means than to come face-to-face with material from hundreds of years ago,” Keller said.

Keller has worked with special collections all over the U.S., Europe and Canada, and said she’s still amazed by what UO Libraries has in its collections.

Dean of Libraries and Philip H. Knight Chair Adriene Lim was able to design the internship program through the generosity of Dan Giustina and the newly created Giustina Library Fund. Lim said she knows special collections have led to unique discoveries and new inspiration for many students.

"With our new internship program, we wanted to increase the number of opportunities for undergraduate students to experience these 'aha!' moments in their research,” Lim said. “We're looking forward to partnering with UO's passionate, deeply knowledgeable faculty to make these life-changing experiences happen for our students.”