Reference Desk Internship: Home

Information on the Reference Desk Internship available to students currently working toward a master's in Library Science.

Reference Desk Internship

Reference Desk InternshipReference Books
This is an opportunity to gain professional experience working the Reference Desk answering questions in person and online.  The intern can begin building a cohort of colleagues to assist as you start your career.  I recommend that you take advantage of this experience in the final semester of your masters.  This internship is designed to be especially useful for a person who is working toward a career in academic librarianship.

Reference Desk Internship

Applications for this internship are now being accepted

Reference Desk

Pollak Library Reference Desk Internship

Qualifications for this position consist of:
1. Currently enrolled in an ALA accredited Library Science master’s degree program
2. Successful completion of at least 15 units within that program.
3. Successful completion of the Reference class with that program
4. Good communication skills, including the ability to listen to complex questions and answer those questions.

Description of the Pollak Library Reference Internship:
The Reference section at the Pollak Library at California State University Fullerton welcomes interns from a formal program of library and information science leading to a masters degree for a practicum with the Reference section. This 135 hour internship is an unpaid position.

The Pollak Library librarians are committed to the educational development of future librarians. As such, we would like to offer a internship in the Reference section in an effort to enhance the intern’s ability to obtain employment in the field of academic librarianship. We are very serious about this commitment and will spend a great deal of individual training time with each intern. The interns are supervised and mentored by the Reference Intern Coordinator, Cynthia Bruns. Also, each intern will be given individual training time with a variety of Reference librarians while working at the Reference Desk during scheduled hours.

We request that our interns have already taken the Reference class and be at least half way through the program. Preference will be given to those students who are very close to completion and are interested in a career in academic librarianship. Prior experience in a library is helpful but is not necessary.

We only offer Reference internships during the Fall and Spring semesters. Intersession and Summer internships are not available due to reduced staffing at these times. Internships are the standard 135 hours, three units. The hours available are between 10am until 5pm, Monday through Thursday.  There are no evenings or weekends available. This is to insure that the intern has extensive contact with the permanent librarians and works at the Reference Desk during peak hours to maximize the experience. In consultation with Cynthia Bruns, the intern will choose a permanent weekly schedule within those parameters. Many interns choose to work extra hours the beginning of the semester in order to finish the practicum before finals or in order to be a little ahead in case of illness. This is acceptable.

During the first three or more weeks of a practicum, the intern will spend all of their time observing Librarians at the Reference Desk. This is an opportunity to observe the reference interview in practice and to talk with the librarians about individual reference questions and their philosophy of Reference. Gradually, under the supervision of Cynthia Bruns, each intern will start answering an increasing range of questions, and by the end of the semester, the interns are expected to work fairly independently but will never be assigned on the Reference desk alone. The intern will also have the opportunity to observe a number of Library Instruction sessions. Also included within this internship will be training and experience in answering online questions through a Instant Message service.

It is the responsibility of the interns to make sure that all related paperwork is filled out, to contact the intern coordinator should they be ill, maintain a log of their hours, and to remind the intern coordinator of the due dates for the end of the semester evaluation.

Practicum Criteria:
Factors considered in awarding the internship include:

▪ Application which consists of:
  Letter of interest & Resume & List of classes completed
▪ Interview
▪ Good communication skills
▪ Availability during the hours offered
▪ Interest in a career in academic librarianship
▪ Commitment to academics
▪ Ability to work in a team environment
▪ Good computer skills

Application Process:
Applications are to be sent directly to Cynthia Bruns, Reference Intern Supervisor, Pollak Library via email, An application will consist of a letter of interest, a list of classes taken, and a resume. Questions are welcomed and may be directed to Cynthia Bruns.