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News from the Research Commons

October 4, 2017

Spotlight on: First UW Libraries Internship

This past summer, the UW Libraries launched its first ever internship program! It was an incredible opportunity to partner with the Lake City Public Library and Nathan Hale High School in order to encourage students of diverse backgrounds who were going to be first-in-family college students to begin learning new skills in digital storytelling.

The Goals

This program centered on a few different goals. It stemmed out of conversations around diversity in libraries. Additionally, it came out of a desire to enact a program that might engage younger people to explore the world of libraries as a potential career and to help them develop skills they can use later on. The first goal of the internship, for the interns, was to make digital stories. Second, the group hoped to explore various other resources available within the UW Libraries, specifically the GIS programs.

Digital storytelling is the practice of sharing stories in creative ways, typically utilizing a variety of digital tools such as images, video, audio, and other digital forms of media. It is an exercise that requires creativity in the manner in which a story is told and careful attention to how this format engages the listener in the tale they are weaving.

The Interns

So, who made these digital stories? The UW Libraries were able the start a new partnership with the Lake City Public Library and Nathan Hale High School. The Lake City Public Library had previous ties with high school students who often utilize the homework help program that they have in place. The interns were all on the path to college, where they would all be first-in-family college students. Three students in total who were able to partake in the program, which involved developing new skills, creating a digital story, and earning a stipend for their work.

The Stories

Over the course of twenty hours and four sessions, the interns put together truly impressive digital stories!

They began with digital self portraits to get acquainted to the process of putting together visuals with voice, sounds, and other elements in order to create a cohesive product using an online tool called WeVideo. These first videos were short, a mere 30 seconds, but they allowed the interns to practice the basics of digital storytelling. The self portraits were a chance to reflect on their identity, and they all chose to focus on different parts of their identity or interests, which resulted in varied forms of storytelling even in such a short segment.

The majority of their work culminated in more elaborate digital stories, which allowed the students to plan the scripts more and create a more polished finished product. The end results were incredible narratives told creatively through this medium of visuals and sound. Below are a couple of screenshots of their projects:

All three of the final Digital Stories were unique and incredibly personal, and they showcased the different styles of the interns themselves. This project allowed and encouraged the interns to reflect on their past in different ways in order to bring those experiences to life in a story.

The Future

The internship not only led to a fantastic new partnership with the Lake City Public Library and Nathan Hale but also has given the program a chance to learn where there is room for growth. We hope to expand the internship to include students from the larger community (perhaps along the light rail route), to increase the duration of the program, and to increase the number of students who are able to participate!

Overall, the first UW Libraries internship was a huge success! We are so excited to continue and expand this program in the future.