The Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library in Santa Rosa is hosting a summer intern, Cortunay Minor, as part of the Public Library Association’s Inclusive Internship Initiative (III). Minor was one of 56 applicants to the program. She graduated in the top 10 percentile with Summa Cum Laude Honor Roll distinction from Santa Rosa High School.
“We anticipate learning as much from [Minor] as she will about the unique opportunities that come with working with special collections in a public library setting,” said Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library Manager Katherine Rinehart.
Minor has been in her role for a few weeks and is finding the experience to be enjoyable and rewarding. “My critical thinking has expanded, my local historical awareness is developing, my social identity vocabulary is maturing and the overall open-mindedness I try to maintain has stretched even wider,” Minor said. “Guided by the structure of the internship, I plan to keep working in this direction of reconsideration and redefinition, if only to help authentically document those who have been historically under-documented.”
Through the initiative, PLA is sponsoring paid, mentored public library internships for 50 high school juniors and seniors from diverse backgrounds. With individual guidance from a mentor, each intern will engage with multiple facets of library life. Over the course of the summer, interns and mentors will develop and complete a connected-learning project. III will have an immediate benefit to the libraries and student participants. Library staff will better understand early career pathways to librarianship and gain appreciation for their role and impact in supporting diversity along those paths. Students will better understand how librarians positively serve their communities, and gain the tools to make decisions about the educational directions that will lead them into library service and leadership. Interns will have opportunities to connect with one another and mentors across the country to share what they are learning and doing.
Minor began her internship in June and has been working closely with her appointed mentors at the History & Genealogy Library; Special Collections Librarians and Archivists Zayda Delgado and Joanna Kolosov. The trio is working on a connected learning project that will conclude with a wrap-up presentation of Minor’s experiences in Washington, D.C. Delgado and Minor recently traveled to Chicago for III’s summer kick-off event from June 13-15.
This fall, Minor will head to Seattle to continue her academic and artistic studies at Cornish College of the Arts, where she is majoring in theater acting. She is particularly interested in promoting cultural tolerance and competency among local populations. She plans to target teens and young adults, but is hopeful that any long-term impact will reach beyond these groups.
III is funded by PLA with support from a pre-professional Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant (grant RE-00-17-0129-17) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.