A Success Story: An Interview with Nimisha Bhat

Nimisha Bhat is the Technical Services Librarian at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio. She is also an editor at The Librarian Parlor

You’re the Technical Services Librarian at your institution, but it seems like you do a lot more than cataloging! Could you tell us a little bit about your background in libraries and how you got to where you are now?

I actually studied to be an Arabic translator in undergrad before realizing that a path that most likely led toward working for the government was definitely not something I wanted. Having volunteered at a few libraries and my college’s archive, I thought library school was the natural next step for me. I attended Pratt Institute and had the opportunity to work in some of New York’s major museum libraries including the Met, the Guggenheim, and the Frick. I made the shift into academic libraries and here at CCAD I’m able to pair my experience working with art collections alongside college librarianship. I am currently responsible for cataloging all materials at our library while also teaching and providing reference.

How do feel art librarianship differs from general academic librarianship?

The needs of art students and artists in general are unique – inspiration and visual culture are not restricted to texts but can come from a variety of different sources. It requires art librarians to have a wide breadth of knowledge in order to know how to find more information about, for example, pastoral themes in fashion or what city life looked like in Paris during the Belle Epoque. We have to have our own kind of creativity to know where we’ll be able to find the best sources for all of the unique requests we get, be it for an art history paper or to inspire someone’s future runway collection.

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?

Advocate for yourself. I came out of library school feeling grateful anyone would want to hire me that I didn’t even think to ask for more when I could and should have. I thought getting a job offer doing something I got an advanced degree to do was all that I needed and negotiating came across like I wasn’t satisfied with what a future employer was offering me. Know your worth and your skill set, and use that to negotiate things like professional development budgets and job titles. You deserve a job that will listen to you and respect your needs.

What do you feel are particularly difficult challenges in the field of art librarianship right now?

I had the assumption when entering art librarianship that diverse voices would be plentiful across collection development, lesson plans, and staffing. But it’s one of the many fields that still has a lot of work to do. I’ve been actively working to survey our own collections for non-cis/het/white/male works by and about LGBTQ+ people of color and engaging with our diverse user communities to make sure they’re seeing themselves in our collections and spaces. From analyzing our catalog and the subject headings we use to describe these items to curating displays with diverse art books, graphic novels, and zines, I think what we do should be holistic no matter what your job title is.

What is your favorite part of your current position? What do you hope to do next?

I love that every day on the job is different. One day I could be cataloging, another day I could be helping a student hunt down information on an obscure medieval Guelph medallion, and another day I’ll be teaching a MFA class and discussing how they place themselves within the art world. I feel enriched by all of the amazing things my students are researching and creating. Whatever I do next, I hope to remove barriers and create opportunities for young women of color in the field.

Do you have any other reflections on art librarianship you’d like to share for the newbies out there? Things you wish you had known or done differently?

Wherever you find yourself working as an art librarian next, talk to everyone around you. Learn from students, go to faculty lectures, and immerse yourself in art and scholarship that you’re not familiar with. I’m not an artist myself, but I appreciate the curiosity, investigation, and creativity of the artists I work with. I never want to tell a student what the “right” and “wrong” type of information source is because that makes a lot of unfair assumptions about a person’s lived experience. Instead, I strive to work with a student’s way of learning and reasoning to find a way to research that makes sense to them. Libraries hold up hierarchical systems of power within their institutions, and we should be stewards for meeting our users where they are instead of repeating elitist frameworks back to them. Always be learning.

JOB OPP: Exhibitions Coordinator – The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Exhibitions Coordinator (University Title)

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Department

Special Collections & Area Std

Summary of Duties:

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (BICLM) holds the largest collection of cartoon and comics material in the world. Its facility on OSU’s campus, which opened in 2013, includes a free museum with three exhibition galleries open six days per week from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. BICLM seeks a Museum Manager who will be responsible for organizing, managing, and promoting exhibitions and educational events for BICLM’s exhibition galleries. Programming consists of exhibits relating to cartoons and comics with special emphasis on exhibits that encourage engagement with our permanent collection materials and contribute to teaching and learning at OSU. This position will work with Ohio State University Library (OSUL) staff and faculty, external curators, collectors, cartoonists, lenders, and campus and community partners. The museum manager will coordinate all administrative aspects of the museum including museum operations, exhibits workflow, programming and communications. Hours vary including some weekends, evenings, and possible holidays.

Pre Employment Screening

Requires the successful completion of a background check.

Required Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in art, history, or museum studies or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience; experience in a museum or gallery setting; experience in planning, coordinating, or curating exhibitions; experience with collections management software; knowledge of cartoon and comics history and art; experience with planning and executing public educational programs.

Desired Qualifications

Master’s degree in Museum Studies, Museum Education, Museum Administration, or equivalent; experience collaborating with multiple organizations or partners; experience planning or coordinating significant exhibitions in recognized library or museum venues; experience with planning and executing comics or cartoon-related public programs.

Target Salary

$20.19 – $23.55 Hourly

Job Category

Administrative and Professional

Posting Start & End Date

10/20/18 – 11/11/18

Link to full job ad:

https://www.jobsatosu.com/postings/90294

JOB OPP: Director of Bridwell Art Library, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

The University of Louisville Libraries are looking for an energetic, creative and forward-thinking Director of the Margaret M. Bridwell Art Library. The successful candidate will be eager to engage students and faculty from an evolving Fine Arts program, and by crafting services, programs, and collections that support their learning, research and artistic endeavors.  The Director has responsibility for all aspects of management and planning for the Art Library, reports to the Dean of Libraries and serves on the Dean’s senior library administrative team.

The Director will also have the opportunity to participate in significant projects impacting the entire University Libraries, such as developing digital scholarship services and engaging in assessment projects.

Responsibilities:

  • Leadership: Provide innovative approaches to the development of services to faculty, students, researchers, and the community; manage operations of the library including the supervision of two full-time staff and student assistants; contribute to the goals and initiatives of the University Libraries.
  • Engagement: Serve as liaison to the Hite Art Institute, Department of

Fine Arts which currently occupies three locations within the city; promote use of the extensive print and electronic collections; collaborate with other liaison librarians, especially to other arts and humanities disciplines; use social media and other emerging technologies to engage users.

  • Information Literacy: Design and implement instructional programs and materials including online research guides and tutorials; communicate with faculty about information literacy services and work with them to develop appropriate library assignments; collaborate with instruction librarians from the Research Assistance and Instruction Dept. on the development of new skills and approaches to teaching.
  • Reference: Provide information services in person and online to campus and community users.
  • Collection Management: Develop print and electronic collections in studio art, art and architecture history, design, artist’s books and curatorial studies; promote and build archival collections.
  • Outreach: Work with arts organizations in the community and seek opportunities for partnerships; cultivate and provide stewardship to donors.
  • Collaboration: Work with other Libraries faculty and departments on campus on new initiatives in areas such as digital scholarship and assessment.

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program or international equivalent in library or information science
  • Undergraduate or graduate degree in an arts field or work experience in a fine arts organization
  • Three years relevant professional experience in an academic/research library
  • Knowledge of digital technologies, web design and social media; demonstrated ability to learn and use emerging technologies in innovative ways
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively and independently, and to handle multiple priorities
  • Potential for satisfying the University Libraries Faculty promotion and tenure requirements

Desired Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with digital humanities
  • Experience providing instruction to classes and individuals
  • Experience providing reference services and familiarity with methods

of scholarly research in art

  • Demonstrated commitment to public service
  • Experience providing services outside of the library setting
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively and build strong relationships with colleagues, students, faculty, and researchers
  • Knowledge of collection development practices in art and architectural history, art, design, and curatorial studies
  • Reading or bibliographic knowledge of a second language
  • Supervisory experience
  • Membership in professional organizations such as ARLIS/NA

The initial rank and salary will depend upon experience and professional achievements. The University Libraries offer a comprehensive benefits package and annual vacation of 22 working days.  Library faculty appointments are twelve-month, tenure-track positions.

The University Libraries, a member of the Association of Research Libraries, values its collaborative efforts both within the university and among other organizations. The University of Louisville is a Carnegie Research/High university and recipient of the Carnegie Community Engagement classification for Curricular Engagement & Outreach and Partnerships. The University has a national reputation for its high-quality undergraduate programs; over twenty nationally recognized research, graduate, and professional programs; 22,000 graduate and undergraduate students; and a strong commitment to the community in which it resides. UofL is located in the state’s largest urban area.

The city of Louisville offers hospitality, warmth and smaller city advantages like shorter commutes and lower cost of living alongside major city amenities like world-class performing arts, great sports, incredible dining and a nationally-acclaimed parks system. The city also has a vibrant arts scene with numerous museums, including the Speed Art Museum and the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts, and several neighborhoods with contemporary galleries and distinctive shops.

Applications received by October 19, 2018 are given full consideration in the initial screening. The position will remain open until filled. Applicants must apply at:    https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Flouisville.edu%2Fhr%2Femployment%2Fjobs%2Fcurrentopenings&data=02%7C01%7C%7Ce7151d4cce934e2593ed08d61f299987%7Ce285d438dbba4a4c941c593ba422deac%7C0%7C0%7C636730660866168791&sdata=0ndK6Vl8FymsqMYJc0ol9rs2AdHD7RTHOVOKl8jwbJ4%3D&reserved=0 (Job ID

34499) and attach AS A SINGLE, COMBINED PDF a CV, letter of interest detailing your familiarity, aptitude, and/or experience with the required and desired qualifications, and the name, address, phone number and e-mail address of three references.

The University Libraries are committed to creating a diverse, inclusive workplace and have recently joined the ACRL Diversity Alliance to work with other academic libraries toward this goal.

 

Please direct questions to:

James Procell

Director, Anderson Music Library

University of Louisville

2301 S. 3rd St.

Louisville, KY  40292

502.852.0528 or james.procell@louisville.edu

 

The University of Louisville is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, sex, age, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, marital status, pregnancy, or veteran status. If you are unable to use our online application process due to an impairment or disability, please contact the Employment team at employ@louisville.edu or 502.852.6258.

The “Art” of Job Hunting or How We Got From There to Here

ArLiSNAP Feature Post Writers Sarah and Courtney, both fresh from the job hunt process, describe their experience job searching as an art librarian and interview each other about the process in the hopes of starting a dialogue for all new job-seeking art librarians.

A white coffee mug with “begin” written on it on a wooden table

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Sarah’s Experience:

I decided to get my Master’s degree in Library Science while working in a paraprofessional position in an academic performing arts library, and I took on an archival studies concentration in order to broaden my post-graduation job possibilities. Leading up to graduation I began applying for local music librarian positions, but after graduation in May 2017 I broadened my job search to include research, instruction, and collections jobs outside of the arts and in other parts of the country (and abroad). I had a few job interviews but, in my first few months with my Master’s degree, did not succeed in finding a position that was a match for me.

In October 2017 I had the opportunity to interview for a librarian position in an art museum, and it showed me a new path that I could take in my job search, beyond academic work. This motivated me to learn more. I joined ArLiSNAP, began a volunteer position at an art museum, and began taking webinars to teach myself more about art museum library collections and cataloging. After seven months, my volunteer position turned into a part-time paid fellowship, and shortly after that I was offered a full-time position as a cataloger for a museum library.

My experience showed me that art librarianship is an extremely competitive field in which one must be willing to learn and engage with other art librarians and researchers. The job hunting process is very involved and can be very discouraging (even causing anxiety and depression for which we should not be afraid to seek help). It was very helpful for me, personally, to relieve stress by speaking with other job-hunting librarians about their experience. I also made the most of the paraprofessional job I was in by asking my supervisor to teach me new things and taking on new and different responsibilities. Ultimately, my personal experience was one which taught me to “go with the flow” because your job search may take you in directions that you never would have considered as long as you are open to learning new things.

Courtney’s Experience:

I worked as a paraprofessional in a public library first, and then a community college library, as well as taught (adjunct) art history for 3-4 years prior to going back for my master’s in library science (technically mine is an M.S.I.S.). Currently, I’m not working as an art librarian, but as a collection development librarian, which I think has tons of potential for working in visual arts subject collections. There is a lot of overlap in collection work with art librarianship that I hope to use to my advantage later in my career.

I began applying for jobs in all academic libraries, some in art libraries, before I had conferred my degree. Honestly, I was living in a really expensive part of the country at the time, and I was really anxious to move up in the library world, as well as find a more fulfilling position in line with my interests.

The day after I earned by degree, I had the chance to interview in person at a large research university for an Art and Design Librarian position, which I did not get. It was a fantastic experience though. It really gave me a taste of what interviewing at academic libraries in general is like, and it also gave me insight into aspects of art librarianship that I hadn’t learned in school or at my job at the time.

Though I didn’t get that job, I realized that I could look for other jobs in academic libraries like the one I have now, and that I could interview with confidence because I had done it once. I realized that even though art library jobs are really competitive and hard to come by, I could develop skills I had less of (collection work in this case–I have a background in teaching, so reference and instruction are covered for me) and then look for art library jobs again in a few years.

I definitely agree with Sarah about going “with the flow,” because librarianship is so interdisciplinary. Even if you don’t get an art librarian job right away, the experience you gain doing other things will help you get there. AND, every position is tailorable! You can make relationships on campus that keep you in the loop in the arts world (some tips for which I wrote about here), which can be reflected in cover letters and CVs.

Photo by Evie Shaffer on Unsplash

Sarah Interviews Courtney:

What do you think is the hardest part of breaking into the art librarianship field?

So far for me, the hardest part is just not having worked in specifically an art library. I have a lot of experience in libraries at this point, but it is mostly paraprofessional. When I interviewed for an art and design position, I feel like I answered interview questions well and that my presentation was good (with great responses/questions!), but that to leadership, I probably didn’t have the level of experience on the job or serving on committees for national associations that they were looking for.

Do you think art librarians should be willing to apply for jobs in other parts of the country?

I think that it is a privilege to be able to do so. I moved for my current position (which is not an art librarian position) and would have moved for the position at the larger university. However, there are layers here: willingness/confidence/privilege to negotiate terms of a contract that would account for moving costs, a big enough bank account to cover the costs of moving whether or not your moving expenses are covered (reimbursement often takes forever), having a support system that can help you both mentally and physically with the act of moving, etc.

So, my answer here is: your job prospects will widen if you are open to moving, but many people would really be hard up to make a move prior to a “professional” librarian salary (which often isn’t even that high).

What has been your experience as an academic librarian preparing for a career in art libraries?

I am constantly trying to find new ways to stay connected with the visual arts. I go to galleries and museums and talk to the curators there. I’m lucky, because the Halsey Institute is right down the street, and one of their curators is a friend of mine from my first round of grad school! But I do a lot of reading articles and just generally trying to stay up to date with what is going on in art libraries.

Professionally, I think about research that relates to my job now and how it could be adapted specifically for art libraries. For instance, I’m currently working on assessments of our architecture and art history collections, and this has led to taking a deep look at the programs they support and the faculty who run them. I’m hoping that this work and the relationships I build will help develop any skills and knowledge I lack.

I think that volunteering for ArLiSNAP also counts as something I’m doing to prepare. Being a feature post writer is forcing me to think of issues in field and keep up with what other art librarians are doing.

Thinking back to your Master’s Degree program, is there anything you would have done differently to broaden your job possibilities?

I maybe would have tried harder to do a practicum in an art library. I did a practicum in collection development and instruction, the former of which helped me get my current position, but because I was a) pregnant and b) working full time, the convenience my practicum was key. One thing I did do was try to align what I was taking with library degrees at different schools that had a cultural heritage or art library “track” (mine didn’t specifically).

What has surprised you about the job searching process in this field?

I feel like I’ve been pretty prepared by colleagues and professors on the intricacies of applying for jobs in academic libraries, which includes subject specialist and art librarian positions, so I haven’t been surprised by much. However, for those reading this who haven’t been through it, in person interviews in academic libraries are like running a marathon. All day, grueling, but invigorating (sometimes) processes that require you to be “on” all day. I actually loved interviewing at that big university library even though I didn’t get that position, because I was able to engage with members of the campus community who came out to meet me at the various meetings. We talked a lot about issues in the field, and I genuinely felt like there was no “right” answer. I already knew I wanted to be an art librarian before interviewing, but I left realizing that it really is my career goal. Not every job interview is like that (maybe most aren’t?), but I guess it surprised me how at ease I felt with it. Probably because I am a subject specialist (M.A. in Art History), so I had a lot of feelings about fine arts collections, as well as their applications in teaching and research.

Do you have any words of wisdom for those interested in working in academic libraries?

Get experience, somehow. Any way you can. Volunteer if you can afford it, try to get a part-time job as a paraprofessional if you haven’t finished your degree…but just try to get that experience. It sucks, because I feel like academic libraries should give new professionals more of a shot. At my last job, I was on a hiring committee where we really tried to keep that in mind and look at those who had related experience + their MLS (which was required by HR), but unfortunately at most places, they are really looking for that library experience. Also, I think experience counts for more than the degree in a lot of cases. We interviewed super new “professional” librarians who had lots of library experience in staff positions over people who just had their MLS.

Also, when you interview, remember that you are also interviewing THEM. Try not to be scared to advocate for yourself and ask hard questions. When I interviewed, both for the art and design position as well as my current place work, I was a pumping mother of a baby under a year old. I had to request facilities in which to do that. They were accommodating, but if they hadn’t been, I would have known that I didn’t want to work there immediately. You want to be comfortable and happy where you work, so ask the hard questions.

What advice can you give to those trying to cope with the disappointment that inevitably comes with job hunting (and which for new professionals may be especially unexpected)?

Ugh, it’s hard. Try not to be discouraged! When I didn’t get the job in that fine arts library, I was crushed. I didn’t think I’d get a second interview, so when I was invited on campus, I was elated–how could I, as a new professional, get a job like THAT? I tried to just be proud of myself for getting there, but after my interview I was convinced I had a good shot. Later on, when I found out who did the job, I was seriously even prouder of myself, because that person had years of experience and also was involved in national associations (which I didn’t have the chance to do). I felt so happy I got as far as I did — you need to celebrate those victories, because they’re all learning experiences. So chin up and move on! It’s 100% their loss!

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Courtney Interviews Sarah:

I’m repeating your question, because I’m curious: What do you think is the hardest part of breaking into the art librarianship field?

I think the hardest part(s) is(are) a combination of having the right skillset, finding the institution willing to take a chance on you, and not getting too discouraged by rejection. When combined, I think these things indicate (correctly) that the job search can be a long and challenging process for any new professional. But, it is worth it for anyone who truly loves art scholarship and collections.

How was your interview process different at an art museum library versus an academic art library?

It was completely different! Just as you mentioned, all of my academic library interviews were day-long affairs which typically involved a presentation that I had spent weeks preparing in advance. However, the art museum library interviews were typically only a couple of hours long and did not involve presentations. I interviewed for one position in an art museum library that was affiliated with a college, and that interview was structured more like an academic library interview. Another significant difference is that academic jobs typically involved multiple interviews with several members of the institution’s library staff, faculty, and administration, whereas museum library interviews were typically one-on-one or smaller groups.

Did you interview anywhere for a position you would not have accepted after you interviewed? What would the factors leading you to that conclusion?

Within weeks of finishing my MLIS, I interviewed for a position that I knew was not right for me. It was a step in the right direction (a professional title, a higher salary), but it involved responsibilities that were outside of my interests. I had initially applied for this job because it had a performing arts element, but when I learned more about the position, I realized that it did not have enough of an arts element to compensate for the other responsibilities that I was much less interested in. I was able to say “no” to this position because at the time I had a full-time paraprofessional job and a financial support network. However, if I had been in a financial or career position where I felt I was struggling, I would have definitely pursued that job. I think there is something to learn from any job you take, and even if it’s not your dream job, you can use it as an opportunity to learn and apply skills to your next position.

What are some of the things you feel are most important to do for someone trying to break into the field?

Relating back to your first question, I think that there are a few things art library students and new professionals can do to prepare themselves. This field is so competitive that students in art librarianship-focused MLS programs should be willing to cater the program to the skills they will need (i.e. taking the opportunity to do research in art librarianship or classes on visual resources or choose a concentration in digital media). I would encourage students to check out the ArLiSNAP “Hack Your Art Librarianship Program” blog posts for more advice on this.

For MLS graduates, one must be willing to continue learning through webinars, volunteer work, professional organizations, and networking. Once you have a good-looking resume (full of relevant volunteer work and continuing education), it’s all about applying to positions where you think the institution would be willing to hire a newbie. If you think you’re a good fit, apply. Use your cover letter to tell them why you’re a good fit even though you’re new-ish to the field! Lastly, you may find yourself applying to dozens (and dozens) of jobs without any offers. Keep pushing on. If you can, use your joblessness as an opportunity to take on more activities to boost your professional development, and take advantage of services like mentorship and resume reviews at ARLIS/NA and ArLiSNAP conferences! As long as you are able to push on, try not to give up because the next opportunity could be right around the corner at any time, and you don’t want to miss it!

Do you feel your master’s degree aptly prepared you for your position? For the job hunting process?

My program took around 2.5 years mostly part-time, and I think even if it had taken 3.5 years it would not have been long enough to prepare me for all the different facets of librarianship and art librarianship that I am interested in. Fortunately, it was a very career-minded program (in the online SOIS at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee – highly recommend!) which taught me practical things like how to analyze job descriptions and plan for a future in rapidly digitizing library environments. I also did not know when I was in this program that I would eventually become a cataloger. I have always preferred working with the public to sitting behind a computer screen. If I had known then that cataloging is much more than staring at a computer, I probably would have taken more cataloging courses, which might have prepared me to apply to cataloging positions right out of grad school. But, in the end, I feel that my program was well-rounded and did the best possible job of preparing me for job hunting.

Do you have any words of wisdom for those working in other types of libraries (school, public) hoping to get into academic or art libraries?

Yes! Any job in the library field (or art or museums) is a step towards working in art librarianship. The best possible thing you can do is make opportunities for yourself. Whenever you see a job posting for a position you are interested in but don’t think you are qualified for, save it and use it to help brainstorm ways to learn the skills you would need to be qualified for it. If you are working in a school library, try to include art books and topics in your library lessons. If you are working in a public library, ask your supervisor if you can curate a display of books about local art/artists. Start (and hopefully finish) projects that will look good on your resume, and don’t be afraid to get involved with professional communities of art librarians (ArLiSNAP is the perfect place to start!) and to ask questions about breaking into the field. You might start by posting your questions here, in this thread :)

Conclusions

Job hunting is so stressful! There’s no getting around that. And added to the stress is the passion that many art librarians feel for their subject specialty and profession. It can feel alienating to be in a position that is separate from what you’d rather be doing. But, as with most things in the library world, every experience leads to another.

If you have any questions for Sarah or Courtney, or would just like to share your own experience, please feel free to post in the comments section here!

Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash

Job Posting: Design Librarian – University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Description

POSITION: Design Librarian

RANK: Assistant or Associate University Librarian

REPORTS TO: Head, Architecture & Fine Arts Library

SALARY: Minimum Salary as Assistant University Librarian $54,035

Minimum Salary as Associate University Librarian $62,500

Actual salary will reflect selected professional’s experience and credentials

The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries seeks a creative and service-oriented Design Librarian. The Design Librarian is a year round (12-month) tenure-track library faculty position which will provide reference assistance, instruction, outreach and collection management to support faculty and student populations and the academic programs and research centers associated with the UF College of Design, Construction & Planning. The Design Librarian will work collaboratively with other members of the Architecture & Fine Arts Library faculty and staff to plan and deliver services to the wider audience served by that library, and to the University community. The Design Librarian will work collaboratively with faculty and staff associated with the Architecture Archives/Department of Special Collections & Area Studies to build collections, provide services, and plan events related to those materials.

The library encourages staff participation in reaching management decisions and consequently the Design Librarian will serve on various committees and teams. To support all students and faculty and foster excellence in a diverse and global society, the Design Librarian will be expected to include individuals of diverse backgrounds, experiences, races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientation, and perspectives in work activities and decision making. The Design Librarian will pursue professional development opportunities, including research, publication, and professional service activities in order to meet library-wide criteria for tenure and promotion.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Serves as primary liaison between the Libraries and the College of Design, Construction & Planning administration, faculty and students, taking initiative to identify and meet their resource and service expectations and to facilitate ongoing communication regarding library resources and services.
  • Develops collections in a systematic and balanced manner, selecting both current and retrospective materials in appropriate formats to support the curricular and research needs of the university community.
  • Provides both general and specialized reference and instructional services.
  • Creates instructional materials, including online research guides and tutorials.
  • Contributes to the efficient management of the Architecture & Fine Arts Library’s facilities, public service programs, and technical functions. May be assigned to coordinate or manage activities or personnel in one or more areas.
  • Works collaboratively with faculty and staff associated with the Architecture Archives/Department of Special Collections & Area Studies to build collections, provide services, and plan events related to archival collections.
  • Contributes to the Libraries, the University, and the profession through substantive scholarship and professional service activities.
  • Performs scholarly research and provides service at the institutional and professional levels as related to assignment and in accordance with tenure and promotion criteria
  • Participates in Libraries’ fundraising and grant-seeking efforts.

APPLICATION PROCESS

To apply, submit 1) a cover letter detailing your interest in and qualifications for this position; 2) a written statement regarding strategies for outreach to faculty and students in the design disciplines (250 words); 3) your current resume or CV; and 4) a list of three references including their contact information (address, telephone number, and email). Apply by September 17, 2018 (applications will be reviewed as received). Submit all application materials through the Jobs at UF online application system at Requisition 508409. Failure to submit the required documents may result in the application not being considered. If you have any questions or concerns about this process please contact Bonnie Smith, George A. Smathers Libraries Human Resources Office, at bonniesmith@ufl.edu.


RequirementsRequired:

  • Master’s degree in Library or Information Science; or, advanced degree in a discipline related to design, art, or art/architectural history plus 2 years academic library work experience.
  • Appointment at the Assistant University Librarian rank requires two years of academic library, post graduate degree, experience
  • Broad knowledge of art and design literature and research methods
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong outreach commitment
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with faculty, students, administrators, and the general public
  • Flexibility, and the ability to adapt to change
  • Strong potential for and commitment to meeting the requirements of tenure and promotion outlined at http://library.ufl.edu/cdh

Preferred:

  • Graduate degree in Library or Information Science
  • Degree in a design discipline, art, art/architectural history, or related field
  • Experience working in a research, academic, or design firm library
  • Experience managing collections in an academic or research library
  • Experience or expertise in the development and delivery of research instruction
  • Experience working with architectural archives collections
  • Competence with information technologies
  • Experience or interest in marketing services and collections via social media
  • Record of including individuals of diverse backgrounds, experiences, races, ethnicities, gender, gender identities, sexual orientation, and perspectives in research, teaching, service or other initiatives

Original Post on ALA Joblist: https://joblist.ala.org/job/design-librarian/43063320/ 

Job Posting: Art Museum Librarian – College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA

Description

As part of a long-standing agreement between two committed institutions, the Worcester Art Museum Library serves as the Fine Arts branch of the College of the Holy Cross Libraries. The Worcester Art Museum Library serves not only Museum and Holy Cross constituents, but also the public, including families and community members from the broader Worcester area.

The College of the Holy Cross is seeking an energetic, poised, assertive Head Librarian for the Worcester Art Museum’s next phase in strategic planning. S/he manages all aspects of the library, and reports directly to two division managers: Head of Research, Teaching & Learning at the Holy Cross Libraries, and Director of Museum Services at Worcester Art Museum. The Museum is currently planning a master redesign, and the Library will be a key part of that planning, involving a physical move of the collection within the Museum campus. Our next Head Librarian should have knowledge or experience in issues concerning library facilities, as well as the confidence to promote best practices and advocate for new ideas and programming as the Library moves to its next phase within the Museum. The Head Librarian should be able to work independently, maintain the physical collection with an eye toward preservation, and foster a robust relationship with Holy Cross students and faculty, and the Holy Cross Libraries staff. The Head Librarian will be a part of Research, Teaching & Learning, and will participate in regular meetings on the HC campus as well as strategic planning for the RTL team and for the library as a whole. Equally, s/he will participate in division meetings, programming, collaboration, and strategic planning for the Worcester Art Museum. This position supervises a half-time Assistant Librarian as well as a dedicated team of volunteers and students. The Head Librarian works independently on select days of the week, and must be self-motivated and able to set achievable goals for the growth and success of the Library.

Requirements
  • Required: Bachelor’s degree in Art History; ALA-accredited MLIS
  • Preferred: MA in Art History
  • Required: Excellent communication skills, not only for prepared presentations but also for unplanned meetings with faculty, administration and donors
  • Preferred: Experience working in an academic research setting or equivalent, providing research expertise to students and faculty
  • Preferred: 3-5 years demonstrated experience as a leader and manager
  • Preferred: Experience working with advancement or development offices toward fundraising and grant development
  • Required: Basic knowledge of image discovery/access system management
  • Required: Intermediate knowledge of library systems and current practices
  • Required: Basic understanding of copyright law, intellectual freedom, and ethical use of information
  • Engagement in the museum library profession, including participation in appropriate professional organizations.
  • Excellent administrative skills, and ability to work well with colleagues.

The successful candidate will be engaged in the museum library profession, possessing excellent administrative skills, and ability to work well with colleagues. Will demonstrate commitment to librarianship in general, and museum education and librarianship specifically. Possess a demonstrated knowledge of relevant curriculum and resources in academia, with a high comfort level in presenting to a group. Willing to work on a team toward a common goal, easily collaborating with colleagues. Ability to mentor student workers, staff and volunteers. Commitment to professional development and scholarship; participation in the broader professional community. Understands, values and respects diversity as an individual, in a team and within groups while fostering an inclusive and supportive environment.

Original Post on ALA Jobslist: https://joblist.ala.org/job/art-museum-librarian/42635530/

Tips For the Non-Art Librarian (or Notes From the Field)

This post is in the vein of the Hack Your Art Librarianship Program series from awhile back, but has been tailored to reflect what some people may be experiencing professionally–working in a library but not an art library or as an art librarian. 

My ultimate career goal is to work as an art librarian. Even though I have this fancy new volunteer position as a feature post writer for ArLiSNAP, I’m not there yet. Currently, I work as the Collection Development & Assessment Librarian at a medium sized liberal arts college in the southeast. I’ve worked at a public library, and now two academic libraries, both in “paraprofessional” and “professional” positions, but never has it been my J O B to liaise with art faculty, perform collection development specifically for a fine arts collection, do instruction primarily for fine arts or art history courses, or any of the other number of things art librarians do.

However, I have forced myself my way in to some of these roles, and I’m going to offer tips based on my experience on how to do that now.  Before I get started, I will say that I had the advantage of teaching art history at the community college where I worked, so I had a bit of a foot in the door, but I think these tips will help anyone who is interested in the visual arts get involved on their own campus.

In my last position, I started as a reference specialist. Later, I worked as an instruction librarian at the same place, but I started before I finished library school. This meant that I was not a L I B R A R I A N, but I was allowed to staff the reference desk, assist students with their research needs, and get to know the campus staff and faculty as much or as little as I wanted to. I’m a gregarious sort of person, so I found myself on a number of committees and BAM I was “liaising” whether I meant to or not.

Here are a few personal tips I have for those who are gaining experience working in an academic (community college) library, but are not officially getting the experience they want to develop the skills necessary to become an art librarian.

1. Roam Around! All too often, we academic library professionals (and I use this term broadly, because I believe that staff members are professionals) are siloed in the library. Stuck there. Like, “Oh! You’re out of the library” style confusion when you’re not there. If [you’re able to] take a break and walk around, you get to know people, which helps you form connections that you can use later when you get a great idea for programming or the collection that relates to the visual arts, even if that isn’t technically your job (but don’t do SO MUCH that you are working outside of your pay grade…that is important. I will repeat it later).

This one can be difficult. Maybe you’re an introvert or the culture at your place of work doesn’t invite casual conversation or even allow leaving the library during work hours. I get that. But if you’re able to, I say take a break and maybe a little walk.

I would also like to add on here: if you find a librarian or faculty member who is friendly, turn to them with questions when you have them. One of my colleagues helped mentor me through library school and is now one of my closest friends. She’s not an art librarian, but she is an excellent librarian and was supportive of my goals. You just never know who is going to make an impact for you.

2. Get to the know the collection. In my position as reference specialist at a community college, I spent over two years getting to know the collection generally. But I also took the time to specifically get to know the art section. Because I walked around it regularly, touching the books, tidying up, and helping students find materials for their research, I often had ideas to share with the collection development librarian about how to improve upon what we already owned (she was very supportive of this, again, I was lucky). Through getting to know the area of the collection I loved the most, I straight up inserted myself in the collection development process. When a faculty member came to her to ask for some reinvigoration in the art history print collection, our CD librarian came to me to help. I was able to gain experience doing collection development as well as collection development in the art section. This also gave me knowledge of publishers of art books and helped me to get a feel for what is being published in our field right now. I realize not everyone will have this opportunity. But either way, the more you know about your collection, the more expertise you will have fine arts print collections when you go for an interview at an art library or as a subject specialist in an academic library.

3. Join some committees. This connects to the Tip #1 ^. Maybe this one is just an extension of #1, but I think it’s important. Here’s where I remind you though – if you feel joining committees is above your pay grade, do not do it. Don’t let them exploit you. Don’t let someone tell you it is your job to serve on some planning committee just because they don’t want to do it if it is not actually in your job description. Especially if you’re not being paid as a “professional” librarian. 

THAT BEING SAID…

If you, like me, are looking for a convenient way to make yourself known on campus and get the library involved in event programming related to fine arts, joining a committee might be a good starting place. First of all, it is an excellent way to get to know other staff and instructional faculty on campus. When you work together with people for weeks, they’re more likely to say hello when you pass them later. They might even answer your email when you ask if they want to combine forces on the next gallery exhibition and have the library be involved.

For me, Tip #3 is all about how I can insert my own agenda into what is already happening on campus. Having some events to celebrate Multicultural Awareness Week? Why not exhibit some artwork made by students in the library? Etc. It’s a good way to get connected.

4. Make friends with the Fine Arts and Art History faculty. Even if they aren’t on that committee you just joined, THESE ARE YOUR PEOPLE! They are the people who went through programs like you in undergrad/grad school, or saw the same Cezanne show you did last weekend. It will not only make your job more pleasant, but also making connections with them comes in handy when you have plans for art in the library. They can collaborate on exhibitions and programs with you, and they definitely want to be involved with the collection. They know it too, because they are the ones that use it.

In my case, I got to know our printmaking professor by asking him to lend the library display pedestals for an art show of biology inspired raku fired pottery during a special event week at the college. Later, I used the same pedestals to promote his printmaking courses which are often under enrolled. He saw the value of the library as a mutually beneficial relationship, and I did too. Hence, a professional relationship was born!

At that point in my time in that position, I was unable to teach library instruction (not enough master’s credits) or do “real librarian” work, so what I felt I could do is enhance our library through partnerships with art faculty. It help me feel unstuck to work on projects like this.

Photo of a neon sign that says art
Photo by Ian Williams on Unsplash

5. Continue to go see art. This one is so important. Actually, I’ve gotten away from it a little too much. So this one is also a reminder for myself. REMINDER: If you love art, GO SEE ART. It will lift you up when you are down, and it will remind you when you have your head in the academic sand that there is a purpose to your professional trajectory. When I was writing my thesis for my first master’s degree, we had a workshop where a former student came by and told us this same thing. She said something like “Stop writing sometimes, and go see some art. That’s why you’re here.”

Likewise, dear reader, that’s why you’re HERE. That’s why I started reading the ArLiSNAP blog in the first place, and now why I’m volunteering as a feature post writer. I love art. I love the messy process of artmaking (by other people, not me personally, though I do love a darkroom and also to fling paint at things when I’m feeling frisky). I also love the messy conversations we have ABOUT art and the various elements/social conditions that inform it. I love researching art and facilitating that research for other people. But all too often, I get caught up in the “what are the steps to become an art librarian” professional to-do list and forget what is most important, which to take it in.

So there you are! I hope that these are helpful for you, or lead you to think of other new ways you might be able to get involved on campus in different arts initiatives or with the art department. Good luck on your journey!