The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have a partnership that provides between six (6) and eight (8) internships at the EPA Library each year. Over the past 35 years, more than 300 SILS students have begun their professional careers through the EPA contract. The internship program provides students with both the opportunity to apply concepts and ideas taught in the classroom to real-world library situations while gaining professional-level experience.
Each semester, the EPA-RTP Main Library internship provides Master's students the opportunity to rotate through a different area of the library. Rotations include interlibrary loan, reference, advanced reference, serials, cataloging and serving as the librarian for the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards Library Services.
Interns work 20 hours each week for one year. Students must be enrolled at the Master's degree level at a local library science or information science program for a minimum of nine credit hours each fall and spring semester to maintain eligibility for the internship. Students may not hold any other graduate assistantship concurrently.
The EPA-RTP Library
The EPA Library in Research Triangle Park (EPA-RTP) is one of 28 libraries in the EPA National Library Network and is the only EPA library staffed under contract by university employees. The EPA-RTP Library supports the research needs of approximately 2,000 scientists working in the five laboratories that make up the EPA-RTP campus. The library's collection is broad and reflects the varied needs of the range of patrons that comprise the library's client base. Major areas of collection development include: biomedical and toxicological information; physics, chemistry, and engineering resources; legislative and regulatory publications; and limited business, management and computer resources. The collection includes subscriptions to more than 8,000 journals, over 5,000 books; paper copies of over 15,000 documents, including the "450" and "600" series of EPA publications; microfiche copies of 150,000 EPA documents; and the historic APTIC file of over 85,000 items related to air pollution.
INTERLIBRARY LOAN (ILL) INTERNS coordinate the delivery of resources and materials requested internally by EPA staff and externally by cooperating libraries. Day-to-day responsibilities include processing incoming patron requests for article reprints and monograph loans, searching for items and requesting them via the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), requesting items through the National Library of Medicine's Docline service, and electronic delivery of articles.
Interlibrary Loan interns are also responsible for verifying incomplete or incorrect citations using a variety of search tools including resources such as PubMed, ScienceDirect, CSA Illumina, Agricola, Biosis Previews, Energy Science and Technology, Environmental Bibliography, Ulrich's Periodicals Directory, and Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI). The interlibrary loan rotation provides interns with an introduction to the EPA-RTP collection and allows them to become familiar with common resources, such as the library's online catalog (OLS), OCLC, Docline, and CLIO.
THE OFFICE OF AIR QUALITY PLANNING AND STANDARDS (OAQPS) LIBRARY SERVICES INTERN is responsible for providing library services to the OAQPS staff. The intern assists patrons in many different areas, including reference and interlibrary loan, and is primarily responsible for guiding OAQPS-produced materials through the EPA document publication process. This includes conferring with OAQPS researchers about explanations or clarifications regarding the EPA's current publication guidelines and providing examples and templates for researchers to utilize in the preparation of documents for publication. Additionally, interns assign EPA document numbers for OAQPS-produced documents and distribute completed documents to other EPA libraries, the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP), National Technical Information Service (NTIS), and the Government Printing Office.
REFERENCE INTERNS are responsible for providing assistance with the many resources available in the library. While developing expertise in the provision of reference services within a scientific special library, interns gain familiarity with a multitude of print and online reference tools. As the first point of contact for EPA staff and public patrons via phone, email, chat, and in-person, reference interns respond to a variety of queries ranging from environmental questions to requests for specific EPA-produced documents. Reference interns also provide formal and informal training on the use of library databases and EPA online resources. When available, reference interns may do special projects, such as helping to plan the library’s annual Open House.
ADVANCE REFERENCE INTERNS perform in-depth database searching for EPA-RTP researchers. The advanced reference interns become proficient with using scientific Dialog databases such as Medline, Biosis, Chemical Abstracts, and many more. Other activities of the rotation include maintaining departmental records and statistics and managing the library's Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) alerting service. Advanced reference interns have the opportunity to develop proficiency using the special syntax and commands of the Dialog search language, as well as to explore the various search engines available on the World Wide Web.
SERIALS INTERNS assist the Serials Librarian with managing the library’s wealth of electronic and print journal subscriptions. Interns gain experience with Serials Solutions, which helps organize and effectively present the library’s journal holdings to patrons. They check in and shelve print journals and newspapers. Interns also gain experience with compiling and analyzing serials usage data, and are assigned special projects as available.
CATALOGING INTERNS are afforded a great opportunity to gain invaluable experience in both copy and original cataloging of materials that are added to the library's collection. Interns perform original cataloging for EPA technical documents, state agency reports and documents, international organization documents, dissertations, and, on occasion, monographs. Cataloging interns utilize OCLC's cataloging platform, Connexion, as well as the EPA's online catalog (OLS), and the library's circulation system on a daily basis.