Ask a Librarian Internship Program

Columbia University Libraries seeks applicants for the remote, part-time Ask A Librarian Internship. The Ask A Librarian Internship provides currently-enrolled Library & Information Science students with hands-on experience in academic librarianship. Interns will receive training and support from a librarian supervisor in order to assist users through the Ask A Librarian chat reference service. Additionally, interns will work in collaboration with their supervisor to conduct a project, such as designing and delivering a workshop session, creating topical research guides, or processing special collections. Interns will be assigned to a project based on their interests, experience, and project availability.

The Ask A Librarian Internship Program seeks to provide meaningful working experiences that relate to the goals and interests of the intern. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Library & Information Science students are highly encouraged to apply.

Applications will be accepted from July 12th to July 30th, 2023. Applications received before or after this time will not be considered.

Three positions will be available for Fall 2023. Interns are anticipated to start August 28th, 2023, with an expected end date of on or before December 22nd, 2023, for a period of approximately four months total.

Additionally, we are recruiting for three positions for Spring 2024 at this time. Interns for this semester are anticipated to start January 8th, 2024, with an expected end date of on or before May 10th, 2024.

The internship will be conducted remotely. Interns residing in the New York City area will have the option to conduct project work at Columbia University’s Morningside Campus if desired.


The schedule is an average time commitment of 10-12 hours per week, but varies week to week. It includes nine hours of chat reference staffing during evenings and/or weekends, and up to 3 hours of working on a project. Anticipated evening and weekend chat reference hours include Monday-Friday 5pm to 8pm, and Saturday or Sunday 12pm to 6pm (Eastern Time). Please note that there is some flexibility in scheduling, and interns are encouraged to swap chat reference shifts with one another as needed.

  • Provide research assistance to users via chat reference
  • Refer users to appropriate Libraries departments or staff members
  • Successfully complete a project as directed by a librarian supervisor
  • Meet with supervisor once per week

Interns will work on one of the following projects. In your application, please note which project(s) you are most interested in.

  1. Voicing Chinese American Identities Research Guide. Availability: Fall 2023. The intern will create a research guide on Voicing Chinese American Identities with the support of the Chinese Studies Librarian. The intern will begin by conducting a review of institutions which initiated and conducted Chinese American oral histories, and collecting identifying information (such as organization, project title, oral history title, interviewer, interviewee, and URL). After conducting this research, the intern will design and draft a research guide with the information using LibGuides under the librarian's guidance. Knowledge in Chinese languages is useful but not required.
  2. Supporting International Affairs Adjuncts and Instructors in Diversifying Course Materials. Availability: Fall 2023. The Columbia School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) Economic and Political Development faculty have recently been asked to diversify their course readings via the recommendation of their school’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Climate and Engagement Committee. To support SIPA's goal to diversify course readings, this project involves working with the Social Sciences & Policy Librarian to create a guide for part-time adjuncts and lecturers for curating course content under an inclusive pedagogy and critical information literacy lens. Depending on how needs evolve, this work may extend into tasks related to workshop curriculum development and outreach.
  3. Developing and Teaching a Workshop on Open Access. Availability: Spring 2024. The intern will develop and teach an online workshop aimed at graduate students, postdocs, and faculty on how to publish scholarly articles or presentations Open Access. The workshop would also demonstrate why making scholarly output open access is beneficial to the scholar and the world. This project will be an opportunity for the intern to gain instructional design and teaching experience, as well as become more familiar with scholarly publishing and Open Access.
  4. Learning About and Leading Library Instruction. Availability: Spring 2024. The intern will begin this project by observing different librarians' instruction sessions (including workshops, orientation sessions, and course-integrated instruction), and learning about instructional best practices using readings selected by the librarian supervisor and modules from the Columbia Center for Teaching & Learning. Then, the intern will lead two workshops in March and April (on the topics of using the library catalog, searching databases, or using Zotero), and one workshop on a topic of the intern's choosing in late April that they will design and teach. This project will be ideal for someone with an interest in teaching in academic libraries who would like to gain hands-on teaching experience.
  • Must be currently enrolled in a Master of Library Science (MLS) or equivalent program in the United States and be a U.S. resident
  • Demonstrated effective communication skills
  • Ability to work evenings and/or weekends
  • Coursework or experience in reference/research services 
  • Ability to evaluate, understand, refer, and respond to research questions
  • Strong commitment to service

Applications will be accepted from July 12th to July 30th, 2023. Please submit a cover letter and resume to the Ask A Librarian Internship Coordinators at by Sunday, July 30th at 11:59pm Eastern.

Submit your cover letter and resume as a single document (preferably PDF), with the naming convention: Lastname_Firstname_Application.pdf

Your cover letter should include:

  • How you meet the required qualifications for the internship
  • Which project(s) you are most interested in conducting
  • Any preferred qualifications as applicable
  • Which semester you wish to be considered for: Fall 2023, Spring 2024, or no preference.

We expect to notify successful applicants in mid-August, and unsuccessful applicants in late August.

Please contact the internship organizing team at