[Series] So What Do You Do? National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Library

22/07/2013 § 6 Comments

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Paul Vinelli.

This summer I’m working as a reference/research librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.  Specifically, I’m serving as part of The Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development.

I was nervous before I began the internship for two reasons.  First, I had never served as a librarian before, so I was uncertain what to expect on a day-to-day basis.  Second, I’m what our coordinator calls a “non-traditional intern,” meaning someone who is going through a career change.  At 35, I’m roughly a decade older than anyone else in my program, which I worried might make me a strange fit.

Halfway through my gig in Cooperstown, I feel that I’ve learned a tremendous amount about what librarianship entails, and have creatively employed my professional skill set to solve problems big and small.  I’d like to reflect upon some of the insights I’ve gained as well as what makes the Hall of Fame a unique place to learn.

1 - Satchel Paige Statue

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Evaluating the MLIS Degree

18/06/2013 § 11 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Matthew Gunby.

Recently an editorial was published in Library Journal titled “Can We Talk About the MLS?” As a recent graduate from Syracuse University, I wanted to reflect upon my education in an honest manner. On one hand, I have had some of the greatest experiences of my life while at Syracuse, but on the other hand I have been searching unsuccessfully for a job for over five months. I think the mistake of this article is that it assumes a zero sum game, as do many who have responded to it: either an MLIS is valuable or it is not.

If these are the options then I absolutely believe it has value, but at what cost? I recognize that the costs of a degree vary extensively from institution to institution, and while I know Syracuse ranks fairly high in its cost, it is sufficient to say that its cost is generally on the same per credit cost scale as degrees that generally lead to jobs that pay far more.  It may ultimately also cost the same as a humanities focused degree that may lead to far less. The point is not that our degree is uniquely overpriced, but instead that it is a relevant question to ask if we should be paying so much.

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Project Incubation in Library School

28/05/2013 § 1 Comment

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Laura Damon-Moore.


The Library as Incubator Project was founded in spring 2011 and launched officially online in fall 2011. The LaIP began as an independent study by two students, myself (Laura Damon-Moore) and Christina Endres, at UW-Madison’s School of Library & Information Studies and grew to include a third classmate, Erinn Batykefer, over the summer of 2011.

The mission of the Library as Incubator Project is to promote and facilitate creative collaboration between libraries and artists of all types, and to advocate for libraries as incubators of the arts. We do this through artist interviews, feature articles about arts-incubating libraries, and essays about the librarian profession, the role of libraries in creative fields, and the shift toward libraries as places of community-created content and hands-on learning opportunities.

Since its conception in 2011, the LaIP has grown to include a lively website, with new posts about arts-incubating libraries 5 days/week; a robust social media presence; and several “offline” projects that include webinars, workshops for library systems, and a book that we have coming out in spring 2014 from Coffee House Press.

Even though the Library as Incubator Project is no longer associated directly with a specific university or institution, our development would not have been possible without the support and “incubation” on the part of UW-Madison SLIS. Based upon what we’ve learned through working on the LaIP, I’d like to share some ideas for using library school as an incubator for your own projects.

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[Series] So What Do You Do? Assessment & Usability Internship

16/05/2013 § 1 Comment

This post is part of a new series called “So What Do You Do?” in which  LIS students talk about their experiences as interns. We want to showcase the wide range of things people are doing in the world of library and information science.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Kayla Birt and I graduated from Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science with my MLS at the beginning of May.  I chose not to work toward a specialization nor a second masters while in SLIS for a few reasons: I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do in the library, I did not want to pigeonhole myself in terms of coursework, and I knew I wanted my program to last approximately two years (I was worried about academic burnout going straight from undergrad to graduate school).  Now I am grateful for the advice that led me to this decision and also for the opportunities it has led me to—including my internship!

Depauw UniversityI am currently working as the Assessment and Usability Graduate Intern at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.  DePauw is a small, private undergraduate liberal arts institution that includes a competitive music school and strong science presence.  My position is shared between the Information Services and Library offices where I report directly to the Dean of Libraries as well as the Chief Information Officer.

My technical background is rather limited, as is my statistical background.  I received a BA in English Literature from Taylor University (Upland, IN) and avoided science and math like the plague. I am slightly regretful. Slightly.

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Music Librarianship

01/04/2013 § 7 Comments

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Sarah Alexander.

I recently went to the Music Library Association Conference in San Jose, California where I spent five days talking about music and books. And books about music. And organizing the music that is printed in books. While I was there, I spent a lot of time talking to other students in pursuit of music library careers. In light of that experience, I’d like to write about forging a path through library school for the budding music librarian.


What do music librarians do?

Mostly we think of music librarians working in universities and colleges doing reference/liaison/instruction work or making the square pegs of music materials fit into the round holes of MARC records, but there are other options as well. Music librarians work in archives and in public libraries. They work in radio and television shows and in music publishing companies. They also work for professional ensembles, preparing scores and parts for the musicians to play from. Ensemble librarians are required to have a unique skill set. They must know about different editions of the selected works, physically correct mistakes in the parts by the publishers, mark bowings and notes from the conductor and ensure everything is ready for every rehearsal and performance.

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