This Hack Your Art Librarianship Program post is contributed by Cassie Swayze. Cassie is a recent graduate of the University of North Texas and is interested in the convergence of fine arts, digital technologies and long-term preservation solutions. She currently resides in Austin, TX and can be found on Twitter @castleswayze. When she isn’t blogging or library-ing, she can be found reading longform articles and swimming in lakes, creeks and streams around Central Texas.
The University of North Texas (UNT) Information Science school is an ALA accredited program located in Denton, TX. The program requirement is 39 credits including the practicum and capstone courses. Incoming students can choose to major in either MS-Information Science or MS-Library Science. I received my degree from UNT this fall (just two short weeks ago), and elected to complete the MS-LS degree. Although, program staff strongly encourage me to pursue an Information Science degree because it is more versatile. However, my career objectives are focused on employment in either a fine art museum environment or humanities archives and the Library Science track was a better fit for my personal goals. This post will focus on the MS-LS program but you can read more about the IS track on their website [http://informationscience.unt.edu/].
The MS-LS can be completed online or in-person, or a combination of online and in-person. I live and work in Austin, and the UNT program is based in Denton (about an hour north of Dallas), so my program was primarily completed remotely. However, there were students in my cohort who completed a mix of online and in-person coursework, and it is feasible to tailor your experience depending on your location. I also encountered students in my cohort located across the country from California to Maine. Each region is assigned its own cohort but students interact with each other primarily through their program of study (more on that below). For example, one of my fellow students was located in the Bay Area and completed a wide variety of internships from area museums to the Internet Archive. There are advantages and disadvantages to pursuing an online experience. I elected to complete the majority of my coursework remotely because I did not want to relocate from Austin. I was also fortunate to obtain my degree debt free because I was working full-time and attended as an in-state resident.
Students enrolled in the MS-LS can select from seven different programs of study to tailor their degree experience. Students may also complete the general program of study for librarianship. Your selected program does not appear on your transcript or diploma but serves as a guideline for course selection. Students pursuing the online program are encouraged to speak with their advisors throughout the program and advisor approval is required before enrolling in courses each semester. I chose to speak with my advisor via telephone prior to each semester and emailed past instructors seeking advice about coursework selection. I was quite nervous about the level of involvement from faculty and program staff prior to enrollment, but everyone was readily available to advise and answer my questions. I only visited the advising office in person one time in two years (which was really different than my undergraduate experience)! Beyond the program of study guidelines each student must complete and pass three required courses: Information and Knowledge Professions, Information Organization, and Information Access and Knowledge Inquiry. The three core courses require in-person attendance at a two day institute either in Denton or a city based in your cohort\’92s region. These core classes were the only time I interacted with students outside my program of study and I found it refreshing to hear perspectives from student librarians, music librarians, metadata specialists, cataloguers, health informatics, etc.
Additional mandatory requirements include two guided electives selected from a predetermined list with the assistance of your advisor. Finally, all students must complete an 120 hour practicum. There is an option to waive the practicum if you have been or are already employed in a library or related organization (archive, museum). Although I qualified for a waiver, I chose to complete the practicum because it was excellent work experience and an opportunity to develop workflows using the applications and databases I learned about throughout my coursework. One big advantage to the online coursework is that the practicum can be completed anywhere. The UNT LIS program maintains an active graduate list serve where local and national organizations advertise opportunities for practicums and employment opportunities. The Dallas Museum of Art’s reference library and the Southern Methodist University (SMU) art library recently advertised practicum opportunities on the list serve, and the Amon Carter Museum of Art in Fort Worth occasionally posts advertisements for students in the local area.
I chose to complete my practicum with the UNT Special Collections Library and worked directly with the Portal to Texas History digital library describing records and performing metadata creation. Although my practicum was not in the fine arts I worked at the Blanton Museum of Art throughout my program. I was also able to perform processing duties at the Harry Ransom Center humanities library and collaborated on digital projects with staff at the Blanton Museum while enrolled. These experiences certainly made my online degree program feel worthwhile and diverse, but UNT LIS students must be proactive in seeking out opportunities themselves. I also joined professional organizations (student discounts!) and attended webinars whenever my schedule allowed. One big difference between an in-person versus virtual experience is that students have to be motivated about networking and internship opportunities. I was able to develop my resume while enrolled at UNT without relocating or pursuing financial assistance, which was ideal for my personal/family life. The UNT LIS department also offers scholarship assistance to enrolled students and has a lengthy menu of scholarships available. I was told during one of the core institutes that the department frequently has funds leftover from unclaimed scholarships.
The program of study selected by students provides guidelines for the remainder of the required credits for the degree plan. Although I entered the program intending to pursue art librarianship my interest pivoted to archival studies and digital humanities once I was enrolled. The program relies heavily on project-based learning and I was able to tailor my research to arts communities and user groups. In my personal experience, metadata and cataloging coursework at UNT accounted for visual arts resources and their unique traits. I was able to use any project-based learning to examine LIS issues in art museums. Frequently I used these opportunities to examine digital scholarship in fine arts environments.
During my second semester, my advisor recommended enrolling in Introduction to Digital Libraries, which was offered as a five week course during the truncated May-June term. The course was taught by Dr. Jeonghyun Kim and introduced me to digital curation, which was my academic focus throughout my program. UNT also offers a Graduate Academic Certificate (GAC) in digital curation, although, unfortunately the offerings required for the curation GAC did not align with my academic schedule. Instead, I completed the GAC in Archival Management & Imaging Technology with special focus on born-digital and digitized archives, and explored the integration of digital libraries and digital exhibitions into preexisting arts communities. I enjoyed my coursework in digital curation immensely and was able to apply the principles to my archival studies. Art museums and art libraries, especially in academia, are more committed than ever to preserving born-digital records and digitizing existing collections. The digital curation coursework was the most valuable information I encountered at UNT and Dr. Kim was one of my favorite instructors. I continued to encounter the standards and principles taught in my digital curation courses in nearly every other class throughout the program. Beyond digital curation, I focused on archival studies in humanities repositories and art museums. My coursework was mostly taught by adjuncts who are professionals in the field, and their real world advice was extremely valuable.
The degree plan allows students to pace themselves according to their personal and financial capabilities, and I elected to complete my degree in 24 months. Full-time workers are encouraged to take no more than six credits (two courses) per semester but there were colleagues in my archival cohort who enrolled in nine credits. Personally, I took nine credits during each summer term and it was very challenging to maintain the pace while conducting in-depth research. I completed my practicum while enrolled in both guided electives, each of which focused on metadata creation. There were many late nights trying to puzzle out an assignment about VRA Core or MODS while juggling my description duties for the Portal to Texas History. I would not recommend agreeing to this many obligations while working full-time; it was very challenging to remain focused and manage my personal schedule beyond school/work.
I have nearly a decade of experience in the fine arts, working in galleries, nonprofit arts organization, and art museums. The decision to pursue art librarianship was a longtime dream and felt integral to my personal career goals. However, there are salary limitations to librarianship (as most of you reading understand!), and I could not justify pursuing a degree with large out of pocket costs. Like the LIS program offered by San Jose State University, the UNT LIS degree is designed to advance students’ careers who are already employed full or part-time. Faculty and staff possess an understanding of working professionals unique needs, and I found that most faculty (and definitely the advising office) are compassionate towards remote students’ specific limitations. Throughout my program I met and collaborated with students employed in libraries, archives and museums, and they brought unique, real world experiences to our discussions. I really enjoyed the diverse perspectives because learning about librarianship and archival studies in theory is quite different than in practice.
The online program relies heavily on Blackboard discussion forums and GoToMeetings for lectures so a dependable Internet connection and reliable computer hardware is necessary. I returned to graduate school after seven years in the workforce so there was a slight technology learning curve for me. I also enjoyed pacing myself and my work load throughout the program. My time management and organizational skills improved ten-fold and I mastered effective online writing and communication skills. There are several other excellent LIS programs in Texas, but I would recommend pursuing the UNT program if you are a working professional seeking to expand your skills. If you are already employed in a library, art museum or humanities archive, the MS-LS or MS-IS provides an opportunity to gain academic credentials and expand your skill set without committing to full-time coursework.
This series of interviews features individuals who have received their MLIS/MSIS, but do not currently hold positions solely dedicated to art librarianship. Some may work in libraries and have an interest or duties related to art librarianship, while others use their information science skills in fields outside of the traditional library setting.
What is the name of the employer/institution you work for?
I work for the Kent State University Museum, informally known as the “Fashion Museum.” The Kent State Museum contains important collections of fashion and decorative arts. Its seven galleries feature changing exhibitions of work by many of the world’s great designers. Closely linked to the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University, the Museum provides students first-hand experience with historic and contemporary fashions, as well as costumes representing many of the world’s cultures. An extensive collection of American glass, fine furniture, textiles, paintings and other decorative arts combine to give context to the study of design. The Museum serves both the University and the community through exhibitions, public programs, and research appointments in the collections.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your current position?
I have a B.A. in art history, and M.A. in arts administration, and an M.L.I.S.
Prior to KSUM, I worked for 10 years at The Cleveland Museum of Art in their Asian Art department and Registrar’s office.
I am the collections manager/museum registrar for the museum, with the academic rank of associate professor. I find that I need to explain to most everyone what I do. I am responsible for the intellectual and physical organization and care of the collection. The university considers my work as teaching in a non-traditional way; as a practitioner. It is a similar rational for why librarians have an academic rank.
What brought you to your current position?
I was looking for a change for a myriad of reasons from work/life balance to expanded opportunities. The timing was perfect.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
As you can imagine, collections work means the typical work day varies. Some of my favorite variations involve working directly with students hired to help me, and teaching collections management workshops for graduate library science students. I also work with faculty helping to augment classroom pedagogy through use of the collection. Because of the nature of the collection (predominantly light sensitive textiles) there is not a permanent collection gallery. The museum is in exhibition-change mode frequently, and we also travel in-house exhibitions and individual loans. The work ranges from desk work (contracts, “database” projects, grant writing) to projects that require physical strength and agility (installing/de-installing, packing/crating, etc.).
Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
Of course to obtain hands-on museum experience through volunteering and internships. Recognize that this is a highly competitive field, so get as much education and training as feasible. Also, be positive; it will happen!
What are some of the current challenges you see in your field or the art/information science field?
Keeping up with technology in a way that serves museums, but does not replace the experience.
Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time? If you could take a trip to visit any library or museum in the world, which would it be?
In my spare time I like to exercise and run. I greatly enjoy spending time with my husband and children, especially if it involves a beach.
If I could visit any museum in the world? That’s difficult! There are so many fascinating collections. I’ll just work my way through as many as I can (especially if it involves a beach).
This series of interviews features individuals who have received their MLIS/MSIS, but do not currently hold positions solely dedicated to art librarianship. Some may work in libraries and have an interest or duties related to art librarianship, while others use their information science skills in fields outside of the traditional library setting. Today we hear from our ArLiSNAP/NA Co-Moderator Courtney Baron!
What is the name of the employer/institution you work for?
I’m the Teaching and Learning Librarian at Oxford College of Emory University. Oxford College is a two-year liberal arts college on the historic Emory campus. We are a teaching- and student-focused campus and our library serves just first and second year students.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your current position?
I have a dual bachelor’s degree in Classical Archaeology and Latin from the University of Georgia. My first library job was directing the Visual Resources Center at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art. I was in the position for 1.5 years while finishing up my MLIS from Valdosta State University. I’ve been at Oxford since January 2016. We are a small library, so I wear many hats and work in all areas of librarianship. My main responsibilities are leading our Research Practices and Events teams, coordinating our information literacy instruction program, and planning our outreach initiatives. I also serve on our Collection Development, Customer Service, Website, and Student Employment teams. There are always new projects to work on! Recently, I curated our new circulating tabletop game collection and just completed our biennial assessment report for the library.
What brought you to your current position?
When I saw the opening for a Teaching and Learning Librarian at Oxford, I decided to go for it since I was hoping to move into a role with instruction responsibilities. I had visited Oxford College a few years prior and really liked the campus. Oxford is unique since it’s a liberal arts college that feeds into a large research university. This means our library has far more resources than the typical liberal arts college of this size (FTE < 1000). Most students live on campus so the library is very busy and a true “hub of living and learning”. I really value the opportunity to work closely with faculty and administrative colleagues on big picture issues, like implementing the new college strategic plan and curriculum. Our Dean is very supportive of professional development and provides generous funding for professional organization memberships, conferences, and continuing education classes.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
No single day is the same which is one of the things I love about my job! On a typical day, I’m usually teaching or planning classes, helping students in research consultations, working on the information desk, planning our next event (like Game Night!), attending meetings, selecting materials or weeding the collection, and supervising student employees. There is a never a dull moment!
Do you stay involved in the field of art librarianship and if so, how?
I’m the personal librarian for art, although Oxford librarians are mostly generalists, since we are expected to teach or work with faculty and students in all subject areas at Oxford. I stay connected by being an active member of ARLIS/NA and serving in various roles. In ARLIS/NA, I’m the 2016-2018 Co-Moderator of ArLiSNAP and the Co-Chair of the Archaeology and Classics SIG. I recently became the Faculty Liaison and Incoming Co-Chair of SEI (Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources & Image Management) which will allow me to stay connected to the visual resources profession and help with digital imaging and archival projects at my library.
Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
For current students:
· Get library experience! Get as much experience as you possibly can even if it doesn’t seem related to the type of librarianship you want to do. For example, the only teaching experience I had before my current position was volunteering to lead introductory Biology classes for the Science Library at UGA. Though it seemed completely unrelated to art librarianship, having experience in the classroom gave me a leg up when I applied for my current position.
For job seekers:
· Don’t hesitate to apply for jobs even if you don’t think you are a strong candidate. I had the opportunity to be on the search committee for our Access Services Librarian position and have helped interview many others for jobs here. Often the people with the most impressive resumes don’t interview as well as other candidates.
· If you’ve been on the job market for a while, try applying for jobs outside of the scope of art librarianship. Though I’m not solely an art librarian, I still work closely with the arts and I’ve gained so many other valuable skills in this position.
· Don’t ignore potentially great jobs just because of the location. I originally didn’t want to stay in Georgia when I started my post-MLIS job search, but now I’m happy I did. My husband and I have been able to pay off over $50k of debt because of the low cost of living here, plus we are near family and friends.
What are some of the current challenges you see in your field or the art/information science field?
Advocating for libraries and librarians remains a challenge. Particularly for instruction librarians, it can be a challenge to convey the value of information literacy and the role we play in the classroom to faculty and administrators. It’s frustrating to be an academic librarian teaching in the classroom with rank and promotion expectations similar to faculty yet still have people assume you read and check out books all day! We need to demonstrate the value of library services and resources to our patrons and stakeholders.
Two of our ArLiSNAP Volunteers discuss their experiences of going to conference as new professionals.
Angelique Roy is the Community Outreach & Volunteer Services Program Librarian at Cochrane Public Library. She is serving as the ArLiSNAP Canadian Liaison and is also the Secretary/Treasurer for ARLIS/NA Canada. You can learn more about Angelique from her welcome post on the ArLiSNAP Blog.
Anna van Someren is the Access Services Librarian at Harvard University, where she started this past August. Anna has written many feature posts for our ArLiSNAP blog. You can read some of Anna’s blog posts as well as her welcome post on our blog.
For more information about our campaign, or to donate, please check out our GoFundMe page.
Angelique Roy, ArLiSNAP Canadian Liaison
What is your favorite part about attending an ARLIS/NA conference?
I have been fortunate enough to attend two ARLIS/NA conferences now, one during my final year as a student and one during my first year as a “professional.” I would have to say that my favourite part of the conference has been meeting likeminded people and sharing that excitement and energy with hundreds of others already working (or trying to work, like myself) in the field of art librarianship. It is such an excellent opportunity for networking to meet people from across Canada and the US and to see what kinds of projects and initiatives are currently underway in the field. And if we’re being honest, also the awesome receptions, usually held at beautiful museums or galleries or libraries. Those are a lot of fun J
How has attending ARLIS/NA impacted your professional career?
I would like to think it has. I feel so much more connected to the profession than I would if I wasn’t able to attend the conference. This year, after having attended the conference in New Orleans, I came home and felt truly inspired to get involved and follow my passion for the arts. With that said, I have become more actively involved with ArLiSNAP and ARLIS/NA Canada and have been generally seeking out opportunities within the field whether it’s part of my career path or just volunteer roles within the city of Calgary where I’m living.
Why do you feel it is important for new professionals to attend conferences?
I think it is important for new professionals to attend the conference because we spend most of our time as students being scared and worrying about the future and our careers. Sometimes we second guess if we’re going down the right path, if we’ll ever get a job in the field, if we’ll ever be as good as other librarians/archivists we know, but I think the conference puts some of those fears and doubts at bay. I feel much more confident now after having attended two conferences, and speaking at one, that I did make the right choice, and I am determined to find work in this field in (Western) Canada (because that can sometimes be the trickiest part). Once you attend you meet new people who can guide, inspire, support, and advise you and this makes being a new professional a whole lot easier and less intimidating.
What are some of the challenges you face in getting to conference?
Of course the number one challenge for most of us, I think, is the cost. It is really challenging to attend a conference in another country when you aren’t currently working or maybe your position doesn’t support this type of conference, or any number of other factors that might come into play depending on your circumstances. In addition to that, I think that time/timing is a challenge. If you start a new job, you may not be entitled to vacation right away or your job might not yet be in the field of art librarianship so getting that time off can be difficult. However, where there’s a will there’s a way! Though I would still say that funding (or lack thereof) would be the biggest challenge I face in getting to an ARLIS/NA conference.
Do you feel a travel award targeted at new professionals is needed and why?
YES! I think a travel award targeted at new professionals is so important. Namely for all of the reasons I listed above, but because early career librarians should have the opportunity to attend conferences, meet and get to know their peers, get inspired, explore a new city, and learn about what practices/initiatives/ideas/projects are happening in the profession without a financial impediment!
Anna van Someren, ArLiSNAP Feature Post Writer
What are some of the challenges you face in getting to conferences?
I graduated recently and I’m applying for jobs and I really want to go to the conference in New York but I don’t know exactly where I’ll be at that point. I’m applying for academic positions and positions at art institutions and there is no guarantee that my employer at that time will have an interest in supporting me to attend conferences so it might be difficult financially because in school you can apply for a stipend but when you’re a new professional, depending on where you’re employed, you might kind of be on your own.
What was your favorite part of attending an ARLIS/NA Conference?
My favorite part about attending my first ARLIS/NA Conference was just how welcoming and open everyone was. I knew some people because I had already attended a few meetings of my local chapter and they were all there at ARLIS/NA and they were so generous with their time and so helpful. They introduced me to so many people and it wasn’t just the people that I knew from my local chapter but everyone that I met at the conference was just so welcoming and so genuinely interested in meeting new people and that was really important to me because it can be kind of overwhelming and a little bit intimidating when you’re trying to enter into a new field.
Why do you think it’s important for New Professionals to attend conferences?
I think it’s important for new professionals to attend conferences like ARLIS/NA because you meet people who have been working in the field for decades. You get to hear them speak. You learn so much and it’s really inspiring. It makes you really excited about the possibilities of your own career and you also meet people like you who are just graduating or just in their first or second job, kind of early in their career and you can kind of find a community of people there too.
The ARLIS/NA Montreal-Ottawa-Quebec Chapter is currently seeking submissions for their biannual publication : MOQDOC, and welcome contributions from students and emerging professionals. This is a great opportunity to write about a variety of topics including:
- conference reports
- exhibition reviews
- book reviews
- profile of a member or an organization
- contributions to the calendar of events
- sharing of information resources, including awards
- description of your research, special projects, or work in progress
The deadline for submissions is Friday, October 20, 2017.
Further details can be found on the ARLIS/NA MOQ website: http://arlismoq.ca/call-for-submissions-moqdoc-vol-27-no-1-fall-2017/
I recently attended a talk at The University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities. It was part of the Institute’s year long programming on Archives & Futures. UM Professor Marie E. Cotera spoke about a digital archives project she helped spearhead in 2009, and has continued to work on, called the Chicana por mi Raza Digital Memory Collection and Archive. Professor Cotera and friend/colleague Linda Garcia Merchant felt moved to begin this project because of the lack of Chicanx and Latinx history being documented/acknowledged in the Civil Rights/Women’s Movement of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The Collection includes interviews with Chicana activists and a myriad of materials from personal collections of those involved in these movements.
Professor Cotera made some important points about the relationship of power and privilege between scholar/researcher/archivist and the individuals whose histories are being collected. These are important things that as librarians, archivists, and scholars, we should think about when working to collect and preserve histories. Professor Cotera pointed out that many of these women had experiences of feeling betrayed by scholars who used their stories without taking the time or effort to share the results of their research. Personal items of scholarly interest, like papers, newspapers, etc. would be used for research and never returned to their rightful owners. Respecting these women, their rights, and their stories is an imperative part of the Chicana por mi Raza Digital Memory Collection. The digital archive is institutionally affiliated, but also provides open access to the public through the website linked above. Personal items like flyers, papers, pins, etc. were scanned for the digital collection, but then returned to their rightful owners.
The Chicana por mi Raza Digital Memory Collection continues because of the hard work of its founders and those passionate about preserving and presenting stories that may have otherwise been lost to time.
We are looking for people interested in blogging about their Art Librarianship program or what they’ve stitched together to formulate their own!
Here is a rough outline of what we are looking for in a post: general description of your program, requirements for the art librarianship track or how you are formulating your own focus, what classes are offered, information on faculty, your personal experience as a student, does the program offer internships/hands on experience, and finally, would you recommend this program.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in contributing to, please email email@example.com. Thanks!
I’ve recently been reaching out to colleagues for information and advice on learning more about digital humanities(DH) and digital scholarship. It’s a term I’ve heard bandied around a lot at my library, but has never been fully clear to me. I thought I’d share some resources that have been suggested to me, which can hopefully help anyone else who may be grappling with the concept and work of digital scholarship, but would like to know more.
- Debates in the Digital Humanities by Lauren F. Klein and Mathew K. Gold
The 2016 and 2012 edition of this book are available online through open access. This is a great place to start reading more about DH. There is a difference between the two editions, so check out both!
- Digital Humanities in the Library: Challenges and Opportunities for Subject Specialists
This book discusses digital humanities in relation to the librarian with articles authored by various professionals. The book is split into sections addressing why DH should be in the library, how to do it, and it also presents some projects that have been undertaken at different institutions.
- In 2013, the Journal of Library Administration released a special issue, Digital Humanities in Libraries: New Models for Scholarly Engagement Miriam Posner writes a good article on the challenges of doing DH in libraries. Challenges that are, unfortunately, still being faced four years after this article was published.
- Rebuilding the Porfolio: DH for Art Historians
In 2014, The Getty Foundation held a two week institute on art history and DH. There are good readings and resources still available on the site. I’ve also found some interesting posts on the Getty’s blog discussing art history in relation to digital scholarship.
- The Programming Historian
This website hosts peer-reviewed tutorials on different tools used in DH work. I appreciate the simplicity and easy navigation of the site. Different tutorials are grouped by use under the Lessons link.
- Miriam Posner’s blog
Articles by Miriam Posner have been suggested to me multiple times. She is Faculty and the Coordinator for UCLA’s Digital Humanities Program.“How did they make that?” is a great post where she goes through several digital projects and maps out what the project is, the tools that were used, and how to get started using them yourself.
- Subscribe to the ACRL Digital Humanities email list. The group also runs a blog, which shares readings, events, and opportunities in the digital humanities.
- Digital Humanities Summer Institute
DHIS is a weeklong institute at the The University of Victoria in Vancouver, Canada. Participants take one course that meets daily.. It is a large conference and they a variety lot of classes, like Fundamentals of Coding for Humanists, Digital Storytelling, and Text Processing to name a few. I have heard from past attendees that DHIS is a valuable chance for networking. There are scholarships available for students and early-career professionals that can help to defray some of the costs.
- Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching
Unlike DHIS, HILT is a smaller program with more intensive and rigorous courses. The location changes from year to year. This summer’s HILT will be in Austin, TX. Again, participants choose one class to take during the 5-day institute. Classes offered this year include Programming for Humanists with Python, Introduction to the Text Encoding Initiative for Historical Documents, and New Approaches to Literary Archives. HILT also offers scholarships for their program.
- Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School
DHOxSS is like DHIS and HILT, except that it is in England. The workshops run for 5 days and while coursework is similar to the other institutes, they also offer an Introduction to Digital Humanities course. This class gives a thorough overview of the field through presentations, talks, and workshops.
- Library Juice
Library Juice offers a wide variety of continuing education and professional development courses for librarians. There are a couple classes that are related to the DH. Others touch on areas or skills that are also applicable, such as courses on coding or metadata.
- If you work at an academic library, check to see if any departments offer programming in the digital humanities. Where I work, the English and History departments often hold lectures and workshops related to digital scholarship. I became interested in DH after taking a workshop on text mining that was primarily aimed at grad students in the Japanese Studies program. I found it useful for understanding what digital projects can look like and discovering digital tools that are out there.
- There may be DH conferences that happen near you, depending upon where you live.Network Detroitis a conference that happens close to me where people come together to share their work and discuss new advancements in DH.
I’m sure there are a bunch more resources out there that I haven’t mentioned. Please share any ideas, thoughts, etc. in the comments!
I’m Anna Van Someren, one of the over 70 first-timers at this year’s ARLIS/NA conference in New Orleans. My path toward art librarianship has been long and loopy. On the way, I’ve passed through art school, advertising, and teaching. While managing digital media projects at MIT, I became interested in library and information studies and decided to get my MLIS from Simmons College, with a concentration in Cultural Heritage Informatics. I’ll graduate this May! Right now I’m working on an arts inventory project at the Boston Public Library and a metadata internship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Dare I specialize – should I even go to ARLIS? (Yes!)
I’ve heard bad things about the job market, and a specialized library job is even harder to find. Maybe I should just hope for a full-time job anywhere! But my dream job is to work as an art librarian. The people I’ve met through my local chapter, ARLIS New England, have been so kind, encouraging and generous with their time. And taking the Art Documentation class taught by the celebrated (and approachable, funny, inspiring) Ann Whiteside whipped my humble wish into a fevered frenzy. Working with art students, finding resources to inspire them!, I thought. Collaborating with art professors, following their research, finding what they need before they even know it!, I trembled. Purchasing art books! … So I did it. I attended my first ARLIS/NA conference. And I am so glad that I did.
Highlight #1: The ArLiSNAP Career Development Workshop
I’ve been to things like this before – you get someone to glance at your resume, you maybe get an established professional to give you some vague advice while you stare at them, wondering desperately: How do I get to where YOU are? and What comes first, the crazy good haircut or the crazy good job? But this one was different. It was three hours of creative, engaging, productive fun!
Ashleigh Coren took us through a three-part writing activity that to our pleasure and surprise, resulted in some pretty decent personal statements. Mine still needs some work, but I’m excited to use it on LinkedIn, in interviews, and pretty much everywhere. Then Breanne Crumpton moderated a great Q&A session with a panel of three well-established professionals: Kim Loconto, Kristina Keogh and Heather Slania. Here’s a pdf document summarizing their advice on cover letters, resumes and interviewing in our field. My question was “How do you address a gap in your resume due to staying home a year with your new baby?” The panelists agreed that employers notice such gaps, and suggested mentioning it briefly in the cover letter narrative. They also recommended that parents and caregivers attend the ALPACA meeting later in the day (see my highlight #2 below).
After fielding our questions, the panelists gave us personalized resume advice. We broke into small groups and took turns sharing our resumes and asking questions. This was especially valuable to me, as I’m moving from academia into librarianship; the expectations can really vary in different fields. I feel much more confident about my resume – or I will, as soon as I finish implementing all the new ideas!
Highlight #2: Art Librarian Parents and Caregivers SIG (ALPACA)
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this group, but liked the idea of meeting and hearing from other working parents in the field. The ideas generated in the discussion were exciting: research into federal and state family leave laws, for example. I had to leave early for another event, but this meeting had a deep impact on me later in the day.
I was talking with a friend who had also attended the ALPACA meeting. We talked about one of ALPACA’s main concerns: “work life balance”. My friend has a mentor who had once worked with her to unpack this idea of balance – which can sometimes feel like pressure to achieve the impossible. Does successful “balance” mean giving exactly half of your attention to your job and the other half to the rest of your life (your family, personal health, social life, and other activities)? In real life, that would be impossible on almost any given day! This mentor encouraged my friend to think about the effort of balancing one’s life over the long term. For a span of time, work may require more of your attention, and at another time in your life, circumstances may cause a shift in the direction of your energy. I was relieved to realize that maybe balance doesn’t have to mean two equal halves. Maybe we can find balance through flexibility, or in the slow swinging movement of our attention over many years.
Highlight #3: ArLiSNAP meeting
I was excited to attend this meeting. As you know if you’re reading this post, ArLiSNAP stands for Art Library Students and New ARLIS Professionals – and I’m trying to transition from student to professional. Perfect! Like every other ARLIS meeting I’ve attended, the vibe was welcoming and buoyant. I scribbled notes as fast as I could – “the virtual conference is online at the learning portal!” – “check out VRA job digest, VRA FB and twitter!” – “check out ArLiSNAP blog!” – “volunteer to write blog posts!”
Of course there were many other highlights in my conference experience, including sessions that gave me an inside look at the work art librarians do. I also had a beautiful walk down Magazine Street, saw a gorgeous sunset over the water, and ate delicious meals with dear friends. Turns out I love New Orleans!
Next year, NYC!