Dane Co. libraries hope to recruit youth of color in new internship program

Exact Sciences plans to pour more than a third of a billion dollars into its Madison campuses in a move designed to bring more than 1,000 new jobs to the area.
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 9:13 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 10:29 PM CST
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DANE CO., Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County is writing a new chapter for its libraries, and its soon-to-be main characters are youth of color.

A pilot for the Ripple Intern Program, run by the county’s Library Service department, is set to launch in the fall. Director Tracy Herold said students in their late teens and early twenties would get hands-on library experience, as well as exposure to a field not widely considered.

“Typically, the field of librarianship tends to be white female staff,” she said.

Herold said interns would work in libraries across the county and learn theory about subjects like library governance, budgeting, technology and programming.

She added, “I think we’re also looking to hear voices of youth of color and hear from them what they expect from their library, how they would like to see their libraries grow and change to reflect their communities.”

A paid internship, the program is funded by an endowment plus a $20,000 grant, awarded last month by the Madison Community Foundation.

“I think they were looking at themselves and saying, ‘Who are we? Who do we serve? And who can we be?’ So we were very impressed with that,” Tom Linfield, the foundation’s vice president of community impact, said.

Herold said she considered it “very important” that interns would get paid. “We wanted those students to focus just on one paid position, if this really allows them to do one thing instead of juggle three jobs while going to college for example,” she said.

Students can expect applications to become available in the summer.

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