Summer Global Disability Rights Library Internship

Posted: Friday, February 25, 2011

Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL)

Summer or Fall Internship Opportunity

U.S. International Council on Disabilities

The U.S. international Council on Disabilities seeks interns to help develop the Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL).  Interns will be working with a team of librarians in Washington, DC and in Iowa to build an offline digital library of disability and human rights resources to be deployed in universities and NGOs in developing countries with limited internet access.  Applicants should have experience and passion for disability rights, human rights, and international issues, particularly in developing countries. 

About the GDRL

The Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL) is a joint project between the University of Iowa WiderNet Project and the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, with funding support from USAID.   The GDRL seeks to build a bridge between global information sources and millions of people with disabilities, advocates, and policymakers around the world by making it easier for them to access hundreds of thousands of educational and organizational resources on disability rights, whether or not they have access to the Internet.  For more information on the GDRL project, visit USICD’s GDRL Page at

Duties and Expectations  

  • Interns will either work in Washington DC, or remotely. 
  • Interns for the GDRL project will work with the librarian team to identify valuable digital resources on disability rights, contact publishers and content owners, and catalog resources into the library. 
  • Specifically, we are looking for intern librarians’ knowledge in any of the following areas:
    • Independent Living
    • Indigenous people with disabilities
    • Marginalized populations with disabilities (eg, racial, cultural, religious, linguistic, or ethnic minority groups, GLBT populations, poor people, refugees, etc.)
    • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    • Accessibility
    • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
    • Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) from a disability rights and empowerment perspective
    • Spanish, French, or Portuguese languages
    • South and Central Asian languages (Hindi, Urdu, Pashto, etc.)
    • African Languages (Swahili, Hausa, Arabic, Amharic, etc.)
    • Signed languages (international or national signed languages used in developing countries)
    • Poverty and International Development in relation to people with disabilities

Ideal Candidates:

We are looking for hard-working, self motivated candidates who have a passion and a background in issues related to disability rights and international issues.  Previous librarianship work is a plus, but solid research and organizational skills are a must. We also warmly welcome applicants who have intermediate or better skills in a language other than English, but this is not required.  First-hand experience with disability is also a plus. 

This is an unpaid internship.  Because of the learning curve of getting comfortable with the library management system, we expect interns to be willing to work 20 or more hours a week for the full summer or for the full fall semester.  Shorter, more intensive internships can be discussed on a case-by-case basis.   We can discuss options for using the internship for academic credit at your institution of learning as well. 


Please submit the following:

  1. A cover letter describing why you are interested in the Global Disability Rights Library and what you would bring to the project.  We are interested in a proposal discussing how you can contribute.
  2. Proposed starting and ending dates of your internship, the number of hours per week you would be available, and whether you would be available in the Washington, DC area for training. 
  3. A current resume showing academic accomplishments, work experience, language fluency (written, spoken, or signed), volunteer experience etc.
  4. Contact information for two references.


Please submit applications and inquiries to:
Ellis Ballard
Research and Programs Associate
U.S. International Council on Disabilities

Other Opportunities to get involved

Whether or not you are able to join our team as an intern librarian, we hope you will consider volunteering, recommending content or deployment sites, or helping to spread the word about this project.   Click below to find six ways you can contribute to the GDRL: