I just want to chime in with a recommended article that speaks to the diversity issues that unpaid internships can lead to in a competitive market (librarianship, in this case):
Galvan, Angela. “Soliciting Performance, Hiding Bias: Whiteness and Librarianship.” In the Library With the Lead Pipe , June 3, 2015. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/soliciting-performance-hiding-bias-whiteness-and-librarianship/
“Competitiveness in the current job market requires at minimum a well-placed practicum experience conducting librarian level work, but only students with access to money can afford to take an unpaid internship. Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums throughout the United States continue exploiting unpaid labor, insuring the pool of well-qualified academic librarians skews white and middle class.”
I would, however, point out (like others) that the unpaid internship in question requires “Enrollment in an accredited library school or archives program to earn course credit” so the intern would be performing this work in connection to degree requirements rather than gaining additional experience by access to better positioning in a competitive market. The former is more acceptable (but not ideal) as the student is technically getting experience and fulfilling course requirements toward attainment of a degree; however, in a better world, all labor would be paid and we should be aiming for that. Some library science programs actually *require* that the internship or practicum be unpaid (ugh!). The latter (stringing together unpaid internships) is a disturbing reality in libraries, archives, and museums work which serves to perpetuate the status quo in a field that is working very hard (and failing) to increase diversity. In other words, only some people have the financial support network to string together unpaid internships to increase their employability, and given wealth distribution disparities across racialized lines (historically systemic problem with much to unpack)…it’s no wonder we’re not increasing diversity in librarianship.
Cases in which unpaid internships are being used to replace core services that the institution should be investing in themselves is exploitative. There is work being done by the Digital Library Federation Working Group on Labor in Digital Libraries, Archives, and Museums<https://wiki.diglib.org/Labor> to address these kind of exploitative behaviors and conditions by creating guidelines for ethical design of grant-funded positions. Our focus is on digital labor and grant-funded positions, but the guidelines could be extended to other kinds of contingent and precarious positions. We’re also working on a grant application to host a national forum on grant-funded labor to further explore these issues and develop recommendations on the design of these positions.
All that to say, this is a systemic problem, and I agree with the original respondent (Jess) that if this is something we want to change, we’ll need to do so as a strong collective. I’m very hopeful that ARSC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ad-hoc Committee will be able to take a look at issues such as these and find a solution that will support our collective mission in preserving recorded sound, acknowledging that systemic issues do, in fact, inform our current and future ability to serve this mission.
Head, Digital Archives & Stewardship – Librarian III
University of Missouri-Kansas City
326C Miller Nichols Library | 5100 Rockhill Road | Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
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From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jeff Willens
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2018 12:00 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Please share: Internship position at New York Public Radio Archives
I see your point. However, my unpaid internships in the late 1980s/early 90s were for college credit. And while I had to “pay” to work, the pros far outweighed the cons. I was far from the “wealthy people” you describe. Although I had a dorm room, I frequently had no money for food and/or subway fare to come back the next day. I often slept on the studio couch and ate session leftovers. But I wanted that studio experience more than life itself. And I got it, along with doing a full course load and a part time job too.
I’m not proud. I have the same dues-paying stories as most of you. But the wealthy kids I knew didn’t take unpaid internships. Either Daddy bought them a studio, or they knew someone who WOULD pay them.
But as they say, those were different times. My point is, while I agree everyone should be paid for their work, sometimes that payment comes in different forms. I learned more at those internships than in all my classes combined, and I wouldn’t trade a second of it.
On Wed, 7 Mar 2018 23:19:23 +0000, Wolf, James L <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>No, unpaid internships do not separate men from boys. They privilege already wealthy people over the ordinary people who have to make money in order to eat, have a place to sleep, etc. They narrow the applicant pool to a tiny fraction of our society. That strikes me as a foolish way to hire anyone for anything.
>If you can't pay for the work, even at an entry level, then don't ask someone else to do it.
>All opinions personal, etc.
>From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Louis Hone
>Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2018 4:49 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Please share: Internship position at New York
>Public Radio Archives
> Interesting how times have changed.
>Most of us who became engineers in the 60s or 70s, probably got hired
>as gofers, studio trainees, assistant for no-pay or extremely low pay
>and long hours. Eventually, if you were good enough, they would hire
>you at the lowest possible rate (unless you worked for a union shop
>like CBS, RCA, EMI, etc)
>As my father used to say, "it separates the men from the boys". It separated those who really wanted to become engineers from those who were just around for the cool ride of working in a studio.
>B t you know what, we would have paid to do that job :-)
>On Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 4:35 PM, Paul Jacoson <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>> I agree. We should not be supporting unpaid work positions. Even
>> students at universities get paid for their 'learning on the job' positions.
>> I've seen solicitations for consultants from libraries who have
>> received grants. The amounts of the grants would not even cover
>> transportation, let alone housing for a few days, and for the
>> expertise of the consultant. I'm not sure if that is because of the
>> granting institution or the grant writer. I'm saddened by the fact
>> most grants are not plugging in equality dollars for the
>> workers/consultants, which they would normally pay if they were hired employees.
>> I took a job once (ca. 16 years ago,) establishing a Special Library
>> for a corporation @$40/hr. only to discover my actual costs were $62/hr.
>> (transportation, parking, insurance, meals.)...nothing for profit. I
>> suspect internships cost something by the intern as well. I probably
>> could have asked and received as much as I needed.
>> Whoever might be looking for summer work should inquire at
>> Interlochen Center for the Arts where they hire and pay (room, board,
>> and small
>> salary) every summer. I made as much there, when in college, as I had
>> the previous summer at a lumber yard.
>> I did do some recent pro-bono preliminary consulting for the LeMay
>> America's Auto Museum (Tacoma, WA) for their library when they first
>> opened up. It was with and for my former 'boss' at the corporation above...and fun.
>> *Trescott Research - Paul T. Jackson *
>> 2503 Natalie Lane, Steilacoom, WA 98388
>> http://www.trescottresearch.com <http://www.trescottresearch.com/>
>> Support Authors:
>> Support Musicians
>> On 3/7/2018 7:52 AM, jess lamar reece holler wrote:
>>> I would suggest this list-serv not forward unpaid internship
>>> listings because of the privilege they assume and the injustices
>>> they continue to perpetuate in the field. Full stop.
>>> Allied cultural work organizations like the National Council on
>>> Public History and American Association of State and Local History
>>> have recently taken up such stances and now refuse to list unpaid
>>> internships on their job boards. If more professional organizations
>>> like ARSC take a stand, it will help to change a culture and to make
>>> our field more accessible to the diverse practitioners we say we welcome. Submitted for consideration.
>>> On Wednesday, March 7, 2018, Marcos Sueiro Bal <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>>> Please share: Internship position at New York Public Radio Archives
>>>> **WITH APOLOGIES FOR CROSS-POSTING**
>>>> The NYPR Archives, which holds the assets for stations WNYC and
>>>> WQXR, is seeking an unpaid summer intern. You can view the details
>>>> of the position
>>>> Marcos Sueiro Bal|Archives Manager
>>>> New York Public Radio
>>>> T: 646.829.4063|F: 646.829.4146|E: [log in to unmask]<mailto<mailto:[log in to unmask]>:
>>>> [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
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