U.S. Citizen AFC Folklife – Internships Program 2024

  • General Website: https://www.loc.gov/folklife
  • Program Website: https://guides.loc.gov/american-folklife-center-fellowships-internships/folklife-internship
  • Program Contact: Folklife@loc.gov
  • Interests/Areas of Study: Humanities, Folklore; Ethnic Studies; Library Sciences
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen
  • Application Period: Annually
  • Application Notes: The application period is now closed, and will re-open in 2025.
  • Compensation: GS 03; locality pay rate will apply if internships are remote, and total compensation available is up to $7500 over the ten week period.
  • Academic Credit: The Library does not provide academic credit, but you may arrange with your school in advance to receive credit.
  • Available Benefits: Transit; Sick leave accrual.
  • Program Duration: Short-term. Full-Time; 10 weeks in summer
  • Qualifications: Qualifications: Demonstrated relevant subject knowledge and skills with standard digital office tools; availability in summer for full 10 weeks from start date.
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Summary:  The Folklife Internship provides experiences in archival practice, cultural heritage research, and programming, while building participants’ knowledge about ethnographic materials. AFC staff supervise work on projects aligned with the successful applicant’s qualifications and interests. US citizens over 18 years old are invited to apply for consideration, including those currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate school, recently graduates, and community scholars or other individuals with experience working in the heritage sector. 

NOTE:  The application period is now closed, and will re-open in 2025.

Responsibilities:  This program offers participants insights into the environment and activities of the American Folklife Center, which pairs robust cultural programming with the world's largest ethnographic archive. Interns will be exposed to a broad spectrum of public programs and archives work: artist liaison, production, preservation, reference, access standards, and information management. Depending on the specific project they are assigned, interns will assist staff with coordinating and producing public programs; archival processing of special collections in many different formats; managing digital outreach activities and communications; or supporting reference and research activities. Near the end of their appointment at the Library, the interns will reflect on their projects and experiences by producing a blog post, as well as a presentation for AFC staff.

The following four projects were offered in 2024 internships, and remain on this page as an example of possible future projects. Each intern will be assigned to work on one project as their primary responsibility. For further information on any project, please contact the American Folklife Center: folklife@loc.gov or 202-707-5510.

#01 – Digital Resources Support: Provide production assistance for the Center’s two podcast series, Folklife Today and America Works, through collection research, drafting scripts, identifying audio assets, and editing. Additionally, there may be opportunity to participate in a podcast episode and/or contribute to the development of other podcast series. Episodes from both of the Center’s podcasts are available here: https://loc.gov/podcasts/.

Provide creative and technical assistance for curated digital resources published regularly by the Center. Such products include two podcast series, Folklife Today and America Works, blog posts, Research Guides, and digital collections. Responsibilities may include collection research, interpretive writing, digital asset selection, editing, and/or file preparation. Examples available here: https://loc.gov/podcasts/ or https://guides.loc.gov/american-folklife.

#02 – 50th Anniversary Support: Assist staff in planning for public programs and initiatives that lead up to the celebration of the Center's 50th anniversary in 2026, such as a multi-year initiative focused on children's games and songs. Responsibilities may include reference work and/or collections exploration; public program design; or curatorial support for exhibitions or collection displays.

#03 – Collections Processing: Work with AFC staff to support archival processing of multiformat collections, primarily including analog manuscript, photographic, and audio/visual materials. Responsibilities will include rehousing, labeling, metadata creation, and other tasks related to arrangement and description of a variety of archival materials.

#04 – Foodways Publication Research: Support AFC staff in collections research and curatorial work for a proposed publication on food and community culture as represented in the Library's holdings. Responsibilities will entail coordinating exploration of collection materials related to food heritage in the United States; identifying assets and collection materials for inclusion in the publication; developing interpretive and descriptive text; and general editorial assistance.


AFC Folklife Internships Program 2024
Specific Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is GS 3-3 pay?
This position is paid at GS 3-3 level. You will be paid at the rate for Washington, DC.  https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/2021/general-schedule/

2. What is Flexitime?
Fellows work a full 40-hour/week schedule. Two weeks equal a pay period.  Fellows work 8 hours per day. For this reason, when determining the schedule to be worked, you will work 8.5 hours after starting. With Project Mentor prior discussion and approval, Fellows may adjust their schedule within the Pay Period. Library’s core hours require most staff (including Fellows) to begin between 6:30am and 9:30am and end the day between 3:00pm and 6:00 pm (Eastern Time).

3. Do I need to provide a transcript?
You are welcome to, but it is not a required document. 

4. How competitive is the AFC Folklife Internship Program?
Based on our experience with other fellowship programs offered here at the Library of Congress, we expect this to be a highly competitive program, with a large number of applications. Therefore, we must strictly adhere to the requirements for application packages and the deadline for their submission. Interested applicants are encouraged to carefully read the application criteria and procedures.

5. What are the selecting officials looking for in the application?
Selecting officials may consider course selection, related experience (professional or project-based), language skills, and interests related to the various subject areas noted on the announcement. While not required, experience or education in library-related fields can be a plus.
6. I am interested in more than one project area of this program. Can I apply to more than one? Must I submit separate applications for each?
In your cover letter, state explicitly your areas of interest. Your education, experience, and general background should affirm your selections and demonstrate your wish for serious consideration for each subject area you identified. Submit only one application package.

7. Do you provide housing or transportation?
If the internships is hosted onsite at the Library, you are eligible for local transportation benefits. But if the program is virtual, then this benefit is not applicable. Housing costs are not covered.

8. How many academic credits do I receive in the program?
The Library of Congress is not an academic institution and does not grant course credits. However, you may check with your school about receiving credits for your fellowship if interested.

9. I am not available to start the fellowship on the noted starting dates. Am I still eligible?
The schedule and the length of the fellowship direct that we require all interns to report on the posted starting date.

10. Can my fellowship lead to a full-time job?
The fellowships come with no guarantee for permanent employment. However, we encourage those interested in careers at the Library of Congress to look at all job opportunities listed on the USAJOBS website and the Library’s Careers website. The new skills and experience gained during your time at the Library can be used as a stepping stone and the supervisor of your fellowship can be a valuable reference for your future job searches.

11. Will these fellowships be offered in the Fall/Winter?

No. This is a summer fellowship program only. For additional information about internships and fellowships at the Library of Congress, visit the Internship and Fellowship Program portal: https://www.loc.gov/ifp and click on the Overview tab to explore other internships at the Library of Congress.