So you want to work in a museum…

One of my assignments for my 802 course has been a list of reading recommendations on “museums and libraries”.  It just so happens that this is an area of interest to me because I WOULD love to work in a museum or museum library.  I have been reading a great deal by one author in particular: Paul F. Marty.  He is an instructor at Florida State University within the College of Information.  His writings on museum librarianship are extensive and very focused on helping merge libraries, archives and museums as well as help those who are interested in pursuing a career within this field gather the tools that are needed.  Museums and libraries seem to go hand in hand, but determining how exactly one becomes a museum information professional is a bit unclear to most who want to steer their career path that way.

The article entitled So you want to work in a museum…Guiding the careers of future museum information professionals is an excellent source for LIS students who are interested in museum librarianship.   Marty interviews 21 professionals working in museums and identifies 5 factors that are necessary to succeed in this career.

Not only are there traditional jobs within museums which require special information management skills, but there are new jobs that arise out of the technological revolution which also require skills attained in LIS programs.  The tricky part of this though lies in the fact that there is no one way to gather LIS skills AND all of the skills needed to work as a museum professional.  Often times, other requirements such as another academic degree, years of museum experience or a museum studies degree are needed.  Career paths of museum professionals are VERY diverse!

The unique skills needed to work in a museum library are not easily attained and require a great deal of work.  My question is why aren’t there more courses within library science programs which address the information needs of museums if the two are so closely linked and more LIS students are finding themselves interested (and only partly qualified) in museum librarianship?

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