Practicum Opportunities

The Champaign County Historical Archives is a department of The Urbana Free Library that maintains a research-level collection on the history and genealogy of Champaign County and its residents. Our rich holdings of archives and special collections document local life from the 1830s through the present day. 

We offer several dedicated practicum opportunities for enrolled library school students, but we are always willing to explore special projects and interests students may have. 

Hours can be scheduled any time during open hours of the Champaign County Historical Archives (Monday – Saturday 10:00am – 6:00pm; Wednesday 10:00am – 9:00pm; Sunday 1:00 – 5:00pm)

To apply please contact us at archives@urbanafree.org or (217) 367-4025

Accessions Practicum Opportunity

This practicum is a terrific opportunity for a library science student to gain experience in archives and records management. The main focus of this practicum will be an ongoing project to organize and assess the Champaign County Historical Archives’ backlog of accessioned materials. 

Duties

  • Create inventories of unprocessed 20th century special collections 
  • Update current holdings information in Excel spreadsheets
  • Create bibliographic index records in the Local History Online catalog
  • Special project(s) that will benefit the student and align with their area of interest

Education and experience

  • Has taken IS 581: Administration and Use of Archival Materials, or equivalent coursework and/or special collections experience 

Cataloging Practicum Opportunity

This practicum is a terrific opportunity for a library science student to gain hands on experience in copy and original cataloging. The focus of the practicum will be to maintain the technical services workflow within the Archives department by creating copy and original bibliographic records for donations and new acquisitions, with additional opportunities for special projects and collection development experience.

Duties

  • Create copy and original catalog records in OCLC Connexion Client using MARC 21 coding, RDA cataloging standards, and ISBD punctuation rules 
  • Edit and create bibliographic index records using Polaris ILS 
  • Research and evaluate books, serials, maps, ephemera, and other print materials to obtain metadata 
  • Special project(s) that will benefit the student and align with their area of interest

Education and experience

  • Has taken IS 507: Introduction to Metadata, or equivalent  
  • Familiarity with RDA cataloging standards and ISBD punctuation rules 
  • Familiarity with MARC 21 coding

Collection Development Practicum Opportunity

This practicum is a terrific opportunity for a library science student to learn about and participate in collection development. The focus of this practicum will be to evaluate specific sections of the existing print materials collection and to make suggestions for updating and expanding those sections of the collection. 

Duties

  • Evaluate print materials in specific sections of the print collection 
  • Work within Polaris ILS to update bibliographic records and holdings information 
  • Search for and suggest print materials for purchasing  
  • Special project(s) that will benefit the student and align with their area of interest

Education and experience

  • Interest in collection development

Digital Preservation Practicum Opportunity

This practicum is a terrific opportunity for a library science student to gain hands on experience in digital preservation. The focus of the practicum will be to assist in clearing the backlog of unprocessed digital collections within the Archives department, with additional opportunities for special projects. 

Duties

  • Use DROID to gather preservation information for archival materials 
  • Create DublinCore metadata records using Oxygen  Create and update current software documentation  
  • Maintain digital collections inventory 
  • Special project(s) that will benefit the student and align with their area of interest

Education and experience

  • Has taken IS 586: Digital Preservation, or equivalent experience 
  • Affinity for technology and willingness to learn and use new software 
  • Experience or coursework in archives and special collections, preferred

Exhibit Curator Practicum Opportunity

This practicum is a terrific opportunity for a library science student to gain hands on experience in curating an exhibit for display at The Urbana Free Library. The focus of the practicum will be working with the site supervisor to identify a topic of mutual interest and to create an exhibit. The student will conduct archival research, select images and artifacts, write exhibit text, and participate in layout and design.  

Duties

  • Conduct archival research and select images and artifacts from the Champaign County Historical Archives for presentation in the exhibition 
  • Prepare exhibit text and captions for selected materials  
  • Work with the Graphics Department within the library to finalize layout and design of the exhibit 
  • Assist in the creation of digital content for various social media platforms

Education and experience

  • Has taken or concurrent enrollment in IS 581: Administration and Use of Archival Materials or IS 580 Rare Book and Special Collections Librarianship, or equivalent experience 
  • Strong written communication skills
  • Local History and Genealogy interest preferred

Public Services Practicum Opportunity

This practicum is a terrific opportunity for a library science student to gain reference experience in an Archives department of a public library. The focus of this practicum is to provide excellent customer service to Archives patrons. The student will assist patrons as they navigate online databases, examine archival materials, and perform genealogical research, with additional opportunities for special projects. 

Duties

  • Answer general and specialized reference questions in person, on the phone, and via email
  • Assist staff with online remote requests for Archival materials (retrieving materials, creating high resolution scans, email correspondence with patrons, etc.)
  • Assist in the creation of digital content for various social media platforms.
  • Special project(s) that will benefit the student and align with their area of interest

Education and experience

  • Has taken or concurrent enrollment in IS 581: Administration and Use of Archival Materials or IS 504: Reference and Information Services, or equivalent 
  • Strong public service orientation  Local History and Genealogy interest preferred

Special Collections Processing Practicum Opportunity

This practicum is a terrific opportunity for a library science student to gain hands-on archival processing experience. The focus of this practicum is to process a collection within the Champaign County Historical Archives in its entirety. The student will arrange, describe, and rehouse a collection in archival quality boxes and folders, as well as complete a finding aid that will be uploaded to the Local History Online catalog at the end of processing.

Duties

  • Survey the collection and propose an arrangement scheme 
  • Provide archival arrangement, description, and preservation
  • Write a finding aid
  • Document the project’s progress through blog posts on our Local History and Genealogy blog
  • Create an original catalog record for your collection in OCLC Connexion Client using MARC 21 coding, RDA cataloging standards, and ISBD punctuation rules 

Education and experience

  • Has taken IS 581: Administration and Use of Archival Materials, or equivalent experience
  • Local History and Genealogy interest preferred