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Librarians/Archivists past or present! Feedback requested

Yawper
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joined:9/13/04
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joined:
9/13/04
I ask here because there seem to be many in the field here...

I'm considering going for an MLIS and would like to know what you think the pros and cons of the field are. What do you enjoy or dislike about it? Are there any major advantages or drawbacks in your view? Do you find it rewarding or wish you had pursued something else? What are your actual day-to-day job tasks and duties? I love books, history, museums, and being of service to people. Would MLIS be a good fit?

TIA

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yodamarie78
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joined:3/15/05
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joined:
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I got my MLS in Rare Books and Special Collections about a year and a half ago. Iím happy with it so far. Iím the Head Librarian at a non profit with a small collection (about 11,000 volumes not counting periodicals). Iím in a somewhat rare position of being essentially the only librarian so I do a little bit of everything; cataloging, archiving, reference, etc. So my work varies wildly from day to day.

I would recommend doing a fair amount of research before you enter a program. Multiple people who went to Pratt have told me that if theyíd known that Long Island University had a Manhattan campus they would have gone to LIU instead. Make sure that you chose a school that is ALA accredited, many libraries will not hire someone with an MLS from a school that isnít.

Do you know what type of library you would ultimately like to work in? Keep in mind that most academic libraries require or at least prefer a second masters, especially if you want to work in reference. I had a professor who was always trying to steer people towards cataloging because he said the competition for jobs isnít as fierce. From my own observation of job listings there seem to be a lot of archiving jobs out there, but it is also a very popular concentration.

I hope this helps.
Yawper
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joined:9/13/04
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joined:
9/13/04
I haven't given a lot of thought about the type of library yet. I have a masters already but one of the schools I'm looking at offers dual degree programs in six different subjects. Currently I'm looking at Michigan and at Wayne State Univ.

I'd kill to be able to work in U-Michigan's grad library. I love it there. A friend of mine currently runs the dental school library.

Updated On: 11/5/07 at 11:26 AM
deadparrot
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joined:1/2/07
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1/2/07
Not a whole lot of advice, as I'm in the process of applying myself, but I'm in a kinda-sorta related field, museum studies, so I just wanted to say hey. Always glad to see people with similar interests. :)
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misschung
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joined:2/18/07
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Michigan is a great library school - very technology oriented, very cutting edge.

I'm almost done with my degree at LIU. The only advice I can give is to research different types of libraries, and even contact them. Most librarians are happy to give you some time if they hear that you're interested in the field.
The morning star always gets wonderful bright the minute before it has to go --doesn't it?
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Elphaba
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joined:1/12/04
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"Keep in mind that most academic libraries require or at least prefer a second masters, especially if you want to work in reference."

Yoda, fraid I have to disagree. Many of my customers are reference librarians at CA, OR, and WA colleges and universities, who work in reference, and do NOT have a second masters.

Perhaps to be head of reference or above, but just to work in reference, not in this neck of the woods......and for the 17 years I've been in the industry, not in the other territories I've had stretching from FL to DE to CA.

Yawper, Wayne's school of library science is very good, and MUCH less expensive than UM......I took some LS classes there.
It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story... AGATHA CHRISTIE, Life magazine, May 14, 1956
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misschung
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joined:2/18/07
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To be a subject specialist, you are very often required to have a second masters degree in your area of expertise, at least in NY. To simply work in a reference department, no. But many academic institutions offer tenure track to their librarians, and the application is almost identical to that of a full professor - service, scholarship, work.
The morning star always gets wonderful bright the minute before it has to go --doesn't it?
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Elphaba
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joined:1/12/04
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yes, but she didn't say "subject specialist" she said "work in reference"....big difference.

Yawper, realize that people go into the field to make a difference, not to make money.
It's a very underfunded field.....so if you want to help people, go for it.

It's like teaching, maybe even worse. Few appreciate what librarians do. Heck, many principals don't even know what their own school librarian does, and fewer try to find out.

If I were working in the field, it would be at a public library in a progressive city, or at an academic institution, but that's just me.

I have many librarian friends, and few regret going into the field...AND......even when they retire, they never leave the field as many work a couple of days a week at a public library or college......that alone always amazed me.

It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story... AGATHA CHRISTIE, Life magazine, May 14, 1956
Updated On: 11/5/07 at 01:49 PM
Yawper
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joined:9/13/04
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The recruiter at Michigan said most grads are making $40-$60k, which will be on par with what I'm making now, so I'm not worried about the money part of it, other than funding grad school. Michigan's grads end up at tech companies, doing human-computer interaction and usability work, as well as at archives and libraries.
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orangeskittles
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joined:1/8/05
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My parents both have MLS. My dad is the manager/head librarian at a small public library branch. He doesn't want to go to a larger branch, even with the pay increase, because he likes that he's still needed to work with the public instead of being in an exclusive administrative position. My mom is a children's librarian at a private library. Both love their jobs, but there is the occasional frustration when they get caught up in the administrative aspects of being "in charge".
Like a firework unexploded
Wanting life but never knowing how
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yodamarie78
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Sorry, I shouldn't have been so general about reference work. misschung already clarified what I meant so I won't repeat what she said.

Elphaba, one of the reasons I got out of the school library program was a professor in a graduate level education class who actually asked a media specialist, "So you teach what, computer classes?" Also one of my library science professors said that she'd offered to do a short talk for the School Administration program about what media specialists do and how to work with them. They said no thanks.
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Elphaba
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exactly.....just too damn sad, you know?
It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story... AGATHA CHRISTIE, Life magazine, May 14, 1956
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misschung
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joined:2/18/07
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yoda, where are you located? There are many secondary schools in the suburbs in Westchester that are extremely well endowed, and utilize the school media specialist on a regular basis. I can't speak for other parts of the country, but I wouldn't base your opinion on the entire specialization on that one bad experience. I mean, I can tell you why I'm not pursuing that type of career, but it's for different reasons.

Very often school media specialists themselves aren't really sure what their "role" is in a scholastic setting. The library becomes a glorified babysitting service - and teachers are sometimes unsure of creative ways to integrate the use of the library into their curriculum. Maybe if you did chose to go in that direction, you could be one of the school media specialists who help "put the profession on the map" so to speak. You know?

Also, if you're interested in museums, look into preservation. It's a fascinating field
The morning star always gets wonderful bright the minute before it has to go --doesn't it?
Updated On: 11/5/07 at 10:05 PM
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orangeskittles
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joined:1/8/05
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Ugh, my high school's librarian's job consisted of doing an "introduction to the library" presentation every time a class came to the library for the first time. It was a Power Point presentation about how to use the catalog on the computers. It didn't change once in four years. The only other thing I ever saw her do was yell at people to show their passes when they came during class time. I can't imagine that being fulfilling.

To future librarians- for the sake of younger generations, please don't end up like that. re: Librarians/Archivists past or present! Feedback requested
Like a firework unexploded
Wanting life but never knowing how
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CanadianSnowbird
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My best friend has been working for our local archives since the summer and she loves it. Currently she's doing a lot of scanning of old files and pictures into the computer. I've always thought of our hometown as somewhat boring, but she's loving it. The only downside is that she's on contract work, so she doesn't have any job security at the moment.
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yodamarie78
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joined:3/15/05
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Those events certainly weren't the only reason why I chose to leave the school library program, just a couple of appalling things I witnessed. I knew a lot of wonderful Media Specialists and students on that track in school, but it really was not the track for me.

After that wrong turn I wound up getting my MLS from LIU's Manhattan campus. I'm much more suited for academia and rare books.
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misschung
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joined:2/18/07
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For me either, yoda, believe me.

The morning star always gets wonderful bright the minute before it has to go --doesn't it?