Hot internship action: Archive lesbian history in Park Slope

Boots worn by a marshall of the nyc dyke march, part of the archive collection. Photo by Vanessa Friedman/Autostraddle.

Are you a lesbian or lesbian enthusiast? Are you a graduate or undergraduate student interested in libraries, archives, history, and activism? If the answer to any or all of these questions is “yes,” then first, I strongly advise you to holler at me as soon as possible, because honestly, I think we’d be great together. Should that not work out, worry not, there’s another exciting – and possibly more beneficial – opportunity available for you!

The Lesbian Herstory Archives want YOU! As long as, you know, you’re qualified and interested and available and all that. Founded in 1974 by a group of women in the Gay Academic Union, the Park Slope Archives are dedicated to preserving lesbian history as told through lesbian voices big and small. It’s just an unpaid internship, but if you’re looking for class credit or letters of recommendation, you could certainly find a more boring place to get them.

In an interview with Autostraddle, co-founder Deb Edel explained the impetus behind the archives’ creation:

“A lot of us were realizing how easily our personal histories and histories of others lesbians were getting lost. Some of us who were trying to do research realized that [the process was insulting]…you either had to look under ‘deviant’ or ‘abnormal.’ There was a recognition of need [for the Archives] because things were disappearing so quickly. We realized that if nobody did anything about it, it would all just disappear.”

But disappear they didn’t. Almost 40 years later, the Herstory Archives are still going to strong, and now they’re looking for interns to help them tackle a number of new projects for the upcoming academic year. Because the Archives are largely a labor of love, they are also a volunteer-run organization, which means that no, they cannot pay you, at least not monetarily.

Said projects are to include “digitization of our newsprint collection, ongoing digitization of our audio collection, processing the video oral histories of the Daugthers of Bilitis, a retrospective of Dyke Action Machine, planning for our annual Valentine’s Day fundraiser and so much more.”

Potential interns must be available for at least 10 hours per week, have at least one year experience working in a library/archive or have completed core MLS courses, have familiarity with archival processing, be skilled in MS Office and/or Google Docs, and must have a basic literacy of “regular office equipment,” which I think probably means copy machines, coffee makers, and a sturdy pair of Doc Martens.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and candidates must submit a cover letter and resume to and include the word “Internship” and the area in which they wish to work (periodicals, special collections & reference, photographic digital imaging, video working group, audio digitization, OPAC working group, or programming non-profit management and development). All documents must be attached as PDFs.