Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship Program

The Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship Program at the University of Chicago Library offers an annual six-week internship in library preservation, conservation or digitization. The Program has been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Albert Somit, AB'41, PhD'47, University of Chicago alumnus and past president of Southern Illinois University. Established to honor his parents' legacy, the internships support the needs of the Library and its collections and prepare students for the important work of preserving library resources for research and teaching.

The internship is intended to give current graduate students or recent graduates of a preservation or conservation program an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in a research library setting. Interns will gain experience in a preservation program for the care of collections and undertake a project based on the needs of the Library. They will work in the Library Preservation Department under the guidance of the Preservation Librarian and other library staff.

The Mary and Samuel Somit Preservation Internship provides a $4,000 stipend for 6 weeks during the summer. The posting for each annual internship is made in mid-January, with applications due March 1st. 

Interns will learn about the functions, policies and practices of the Preservation Department including:

  • Workflow and tracking of materials within the Department and through various units
  • Condition assessment and treatment decision-making
  • Bindery preparation and use of vendor services for binding and rehousing
  • Conservation treatments for general and special collections
  • Digitization of library collections for preservation and access
  • Disaster planning and response

In addition to gaining an understanding of preservation operations, interns will undertake a major project which may include but is not limited to:

  • Designing, testing, and documenting a new workflow for a specific aspect of a preservation operation
  • Conducting a condition assessment with recommendations for a particular print or media collection
  • Identifying and recommending 'best practices' and procedures for a new library activity or service
  • Developing requirements and specifications for contracted vendor services
  • Developing preservation education, outreach or training resources for users or staff

Eligibility and Requirements:

  • Applicants must be a current graduate student or recent graduate of a preservation, conservation, or digitization program, or a student with equivalent experience and training
  • Applicants must commit to six consecutive weeks of full-time employment between June 1st – August 30th
  • Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States
  • Intern will be required to submit a final project report at the end of the Internship

To apply for the Somit Preservation Internship please submit the following items:

  • Cover letter with statement of interest
  • Current resume
  • Description of graduate program including list of completed preservation courses and/or relevant experience
  • Contact information for three professional references

For additional information contact Sherry Byrne, Preservation Librarian.