Direction of Education, Research and Clinical Outreach Oregon Health & Science University Portland, Oregon
Objectives: In February 2019 at OpenCon Cascadia, we discussed how unpaid internships can impact equity and diversity in our professions. We sought to understand the perspectives of students working towards a library science Master’s degree on the challenges and benefits associated with gaining practical experience, with the goal of eventually comparing student and provider perspectives to improve internship structure and recruiting.
Methods: This ongoing pilot study is recruiting distance library students based in the urban Portland, Oregon area through email lists for three distance MLS programs and word of mouth. Initial in-person and virtual interviews began with questions based on the OpenCon Cascadia discussion, followed by optional, but critical, demographic items related to available financial resources, work obligations, and time constraints, sometimes expanding to additional issues surfaced by participants. After saturation from individual interviews, we will refine our interview guide and hold focus groups with additional local students. Two investigators will independently code and analyze the individual and group transcripts for themes, and the consensus findings will inform a future anonymous survey of a broader range of students, as well as comparison with findings from a separate survey of providers of practical library experiences.
Results: The study is paused, and results are not yet available.
Conclusions: As only the pilot has been completed, no conclusions can be drawn at this stage of the research.