Student 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 opportunities for enrolled library school students, paid internships, graduate apprenticeship via the iSchool at University of Illinois, and practicums

Hours may be scheduled any time during open hours of the Champaign County Historical Archives, depending on Library needs. (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 

Internship (Paid)

The Graduate Archives Intern processes 20th century special collection materials and provides reference services for archives patrons in person, by phone, and via email. In addition, the Graduate Archives Intern is expected to develop and or assist with Library programs, outreach, promotion, exhibits, and to carry out other duties as assigned.

Students may hold these positions for up to two years while completing their degrees, including semester breaks and intervals between semesters. Candidates may qualify for a one-semester tuition waiver from the iSchool at Illinois.

Hours/week: 10

Education and experience:

  • Current enrollment in a School of Information/Library Science Master’s program (concentration in archives/special collections management preferred).
  • Completed IS562 (or equivalent course work or training).

Typically posted in the spring. Visit the Library’s Employment page to see current vacancies.

Graduate Apprenticeship via iSchool at Illinois

The Urbana Free Library, in coordination with The School of Information Sciences, offers a two-semester Apprenticeship. The Champaign County Historical Archives Apprenticeship will contribute to reference, special collections processing, and outreach services at The Urbana Free Library. The student will assist Archives Librarians in creating processing plans, evaluating preservation needs, updating database records, processing small 20th century special collections, and creating bibliographic catalog records. In addition, the apprentice will gain experience in other functional areas of the Archives, including reference and programming.

First semester apprentices will receive two credit hours of Practicum credit. During the second semester, the apprentice receives a fellowship from The School of Information Sciences that comes with a Stand-Alone Waiver, which will waive all student tuition regardless of their resident or non-resident status. In addition, a $5000 stipend is provided.

Hours/week: 15

Education and experience:

  • Current enrollment in the iSchool at Illinois (concentration in archives/special collections management preferred).

Typically posted in the spring. Visit the Library’s Employment page to see current vacancies.

Practicums

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.

Commitment:  1 semester; 100 hours total per iSchool at Illinois requirements

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 575: Metadata in Theory & Practice, or equivalent experience
  • Familiarity with RDA cataloging standards and ISBD punctuation rules 
  • Familiarity with MARC 21 coding

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 543: 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 562: Administration and Use of Archival Materials, 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 562: Administration and Use of Archival Materials or IS 501: 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 562: Administration and Use of Archival Materials, or equivalent experience
  • Local History and Genealogy interest preferred