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Community Outreach

The School of Information and Library Science (SILS) values community engaged scholarship and practice. Education does not occur in a vacuum, and engaging community partners (working with them as well as for them) is fundamental to the our service ethos. We are always looking for ways to improve our collaborations (across campus and around the community, the nation, and the world), whether through special projects, embedded learning opportunities, collaborative research studies, or continued alumni engagement with our students.

Become a Community Partner

Host a Student Project Team

Could your organization use help with a problem or area of need? Are you interested in helping future leaders in the profession develop real-world skills? Consider becoming a practicum project sponsor! Students will complete the project at no cost to your organization, and their work will be supervised by both a faculty project supervisor and a representative of your organization. Projects must be feasible for a small team of students (3-5 people) to complete within about three months, with each student working approximately 12 hours per week on the project.

A project might look something like:

  • Developing a database or web-based tool to organize and/or share data.
  • Creating data visualizations to communicate with organizational stakeholders.
  • Conducting a usability evaluation of a tool, website, or app that your organization maintains.
  • Designing and implementing a library program or service.
  • Conducting assessment of an existing library service or collection.
  • Creating a professional development experience for practitioners in your organization.
  • Spearheading an advocacy or marketing campaign.
Learn More


Questions? Contact Practicum Coordinator Courtney Lewis at or 919-962-0599.

Ready to get started? Submit your project opportunity for consideration.

Recruit Our Students and Graduates

Are you an employer seeking ways to connect with our students? Consider these options:

  • Career Fairs – University Career Services sponsors a number of career fairs throughout the year that allow your organization to meet with a large volume students in a marketplace setting.
  • Panel Discussions – SILS offers career panels each year on a variety of career topics. Let us know if you wish to participate as a panelist. There are usually representatives from 4-5 organizations who discuss preparation for the career field, typical responsibilities, career paths, etc.
  • Industry Nights – University Career Services sponsors informal gatherings that bring together students and professionals to discuss targeted career areas.
  • Speakers for Campus Organizations – SILS Career Services can assist you in connecting with the appropriate audience for your organization.
  • Information Sessions & Presentations – SILS can assist with scheduling and publicity. Space in Manning Hall includes a/v equipment.
  • Post a Job/Fellowship on Handshake – University Career Services is pleased to offer employers the opportunity to connect with UNC students in online postings via Handshake. Handshake is a networked platform used for recruiting college students at nearly 400 colleges and universities. If you are already a Handshake user, simply go to the “schools” option and request access to University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. If you do not currently have a Handshake account, you will first need to create one before being able to post your opportunity. Learn more about using Handshake.
  • Post a Job/Fellowship on the SILS listservs – If you are looking to post a job, job announcements may be sent by e-mail to Professional positions will be posted on this listserv. Pre-professional, internship and volunteer positions will be sent electronically to student listservs at SILS. All jobs are posted free of charge.

If you are interested in one or more of these options, please contact Lori Haight at

Opportunities for Students Seeking Community Engagement


INLS 393 and 795: Field Experience

The SILS Field Experience Program enables students to gain 135 hours of professional experience in an information organization while receiving 3 hours of class credit. Field Experience can be taken during the fall, spring, or summer term. Students are mentored by both a supervising professional in the organization (site supervisor) and a full-time SILS faculty member (faculty supervisor) and engage in a course seminar.

SILS graduate and undergraduate students are eligible for this program. The Field Experience Program is intended for SILS students who have completed their junior year (undergraduates) or at least 18 credit hours toward their MSLS or MSIS (graduate students). Contact: Lori Haight

INLS 796: Field Experience in School Library Media

Supervised observation and practice in a school library media center. Faculty led seminars, reflection journals, and on-site faculty observations enhance the experience.

Required preparation: completion of at least 21 semester hours, and INLS 534 Youth and Technology in Libraries. Permission of the instructor. Contact: Sandra Hughes-Hassell

INLS 992: Master’s Practicum Project

The SILS Master’s Practicum Project is designed for students who wish to gain practical experience for their capstone experience in lieu of writing a research paper. This project gives students the opportunity to apply the professional skills and knowledge they have gained at SILS in a team-based environment to a real-world problem or area of need while under the supervision of a faculty member and an internal or external project sponsor. Contact: Courtney Lewis

Special Appointments

Carolina Academic Library Associates (CALAs)

Two-year appointments with UNC Libraries; includes stipend for 12 months, health insurance, and full tuition support. Approximately five CALAs are appointed each fall. Appointments are announced in February and early March. Candidates are placed in campus libraries based on the needs of the various libraries and departments and their own professional interests. Recent students have been appointed to assist at the Sloane Art Library, Digital Research Services, Carolina Digital Repository, Special Collections Technical Services department, UNC Music Library, Stone Center Library for Black Culture and History, Health Sciences Library, and Kenan Science Library. Contact: Monica Figueroa or Doug Diesenhaus

Carolina Technology Associates (CaTAs)

Two-year appointments in a systems or technology setting on campus or in the area; includes stipend for 9 or 12 months, health insurance, and full tuition support. The number of CaTAs varies from year to year depending on demand. Appointments are announced in February and early March. Contact: Kenneth Gyan

EPA Library

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Library Internships

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and SILS have a partnership that provides between six and eight internships at the EPA Library in Research Triangle Park (RTP) each year. Established over 40 years ago, the SILS and EPA Library collaboration has enabled more than 425 interns to apply concepts and ideas taught in the classroom to real-world library situations while gaining professional-level experience.

Interns work 20 hours each week for at least one year. Students must be enrolled in a master’s level library science or information science program at UNC-SILS or NCCU-SLIS 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.

Former EPA interns can be found in all areas of the library world, and many have gone on to become leaders in libraries and the information industry.

Community Engaged Special Projects


The Public's Library and Digital Archive

Home to one of the largest “collections of collections” on the Internet, is an online public library with freely available software and information for topics such as music, literature, art, history, science, politics, and cultural studies. With between 12 million to 16 million worldwide transactions per day, it is a resource used frequently by audiences of all interests and backgrounds.

Community Workshop Series

Community Workshop SeriesFor the past 15 years, SILS, the Orange County Cybrary, the Chapel Hill Public Library, and the Durham County Public Library have teamed up to provide a series of workshops on basic technology and computer skills at these local, public libraries. Instructors are volunteers from UNC SILS, other departments at UNC, and the wider Chapel Hill community. Classes are free to the general public and range from Microsoft Word basics to creating Facebook profiles. Creating digitally literate citizens directly aligns with UNC’s mission to increase the quality of life of our local community.


Project READY

Project READY

The Project READY (Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth) website hosts a series of free, online professional development modules for school and public youth services librarians, library administrators, and others interested in improving their knowledge about race and racism, racial equity, and culturally sustaining pedagogy. The primary focus of the Project READY curriculum is on improving relationships with, services to, and resources for youth of color and Native youth.

Story Squad

Story Squad

Story Squad brings world folklore into schools, public libraries, day care centers, senior centers, hospitals, and otherStory squad group photo cultural institutions to:

  1. Grow children’s preliteracy skills of focused listening and attention.
  2. Develop children’s knowledge of story structure.
  3. Build an understanding of world cultures to help develop empathy for others who are different from ourselves.
  4. Develop the storytelling talents of college students and seniors to keep them connected to today’s children

Our goal is for Story Squad to become a national movement to re-integrate storytelling into the early learning experiences of all children to help them develop preliteracy skills that will make their transition to reading easier and more successful. Contact: Brian Sturm