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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Credentials for Librarians & more about varieties of libraries



PhD’s in Libraries
There is / was an interesting trend to hire 'scholar librarians' in academic libraries. The idea is to have PhD's who are active in their academic field (not LIS) working in the library and as liaisons with the academic department. The hope is the PhD will strengthen the rapport between the library and the department. At OSU the idea was hire a subject specialist, and if they don't have an MLS give them a few years to acquire the degree.  I don't know if it is still a trend after the economic downturn in 2008.

Multiple degrees – should not be a surprise – have an MLIS and a subject masters, just as school librarians need a teaching certificate. While academic libraries do not require a second degree (masters in a subject), they are either looking for one, or hope you'll get one. Some universities hire librarians with only one degree at a lower rank than if you have 2 degrees, so it may take longer to get promoted and tenure.  That said, it's not a hard and fast rule, it depends upon the institution.  Don't let that second degree stop you from applying for academic positions. What better way to get a second degree than to have the institution pay for it!

Archives / genealogy collections
Genealogy collections fit within archives and public libraries. You'll also find them in historical societies, which could be considered special libraries.  Mostly I see genealogy collections as special collections in public libraries.  There are large collections in the big public libraries, smaller ones in the rural communities. Some large genealogy collections in Ohio are at Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, at Cleveland PL, Dayton Metro, Columbus Metro, Toledo PL, and Akron Summit County PL. The second largest in the country is in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Allen County PL.

Archives are usually found in university libraries but you'll find them again in public libraries. In the case of the latter, the archives document the history of the library or the institution, and usually do not house the records of local businesses or organizations.

While the American Memory project has wonderful examples of materials found in the Library of Congress http://memory.loc.gov  so does the National Archive www.archives.gov look at the collections under ARC (Archival Research Collection) http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/
These are great examples of collections that were digitized and are now available for researchers, librarians, and teachers to use. There are images, documents, and audiovisual materials in these collections.

Archives is an excellent career for a librarian. Many archivists have a second degree or specialty in history, political science, or whatever the focus of the archives might be. Some archivists have PhDs; that depends upon the organization and the age of the professional. If you are interested in archives, there are two courses offered at Kent, and one on the Columbus campus, and you should probably take my genealogy course also.

Visiting libraries is the best way to get to know what they have to offer you and their patrons. That’s the whole point of your observation assignment. Think about how the library you visit is similar or different from those you are familiar with. The same will hold true of your interview with a librarian or information professional.

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