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Sun, Apr. 28th, 2013, 06:21 pm

Hey ladies!

I have two questions:

1. In terms of applying for MLS programs, I wondering how I would fair in terms of acceptance: I've worked as a student assistant in collection development for four years, I have a 3.8 GPA, and I'm an English major.

2. Is getting my MLS with a specialization in archives a viable option, employment-wise? I am willing to move, pay my dues, etc,.

Sun, Apr. 28th, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC)

1. Honestly, most MLS programs are accepting most people (especially if you've got a good GPA). Unless it's some super-prestigious program, it's pretty easy to get in. With that background/GPA, I can't see you having any problems.

2. If you do, I'd make sure there's at least some focus on digitization, b/c that's more and more important (at least to academic libraries) and probably will be for awhile. Specialization hurts if you're not willing to work outside of it, or if people think you're going to ditch them for something that fits your specialization better. If you're flexible, it doesn't have to be a bad thing.

That said, it's pretty rough out there, hiring-wise right now. My library just hired for one position, and there were over 80 applicants for it. Another position they're hiring for now has 120+ applicants. And we are a tiny, somewhat backwater university. A coworker of mine with 5 years experience, an MLS, and a willingness to relocate literally anywhere between NCarolina and Maine (in an effort to get slightly closer to home) has been looking for a year and a half and *still* hasn't found anything, though she has had a couple of interviews. I don't say this to be discouraging, more just to say that "paying your dues" could involve not getting a job for awhile.

Mon, Apr. 29th, 2013 12:37 am (UTC)

Thanks! That makes me feel a bit more confident going in. I was definitely planning on digitization. :)

I am not wed to working in academia. A few of the librarians at my school told me that with archives I could work for different sectors, like corporations or research institutions. Is there any truth to this?

Mon, Apr. 29th, 2013 12:49 am (UTC)

Absolutely - a lot of companies and corporations have archives connected to them. I recently spoke with a woman who works at the Target Corporation archives. Good luck!

Mon, Apr. 29th, 2013 01:20 am (UTC)

I've not worked at corporations or research institutions, so I can't really confirm it, but it makes sense that you would be able to get a job in those sectors with that kind of background.

Sun, Apr. 28th, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)

1. That sounds good to me. You might also need good GRE scores depending on the program.

2. Yes, especially if you can move, but it's competitive and I don't know how it compares to other library specializations. It has become a popular choice and there are not a lot of open positions right now. But if you love archives best, then you should probably go for it. The best thing you can do to increase your chances of getting a job is to get processing experience while you are still in library school. The bigger the collection, the better. Most of the jobs available to new archivists are short-term processing projects, and if you've done a 30 foot collection or so you will stand out. Even 10 or 20 is better than the 2-3 feet that a lot of people have. Also, write a good cover letter and edit it for errors, because for some reason huge numbers of archives candidates fail to do that...

Mon, Apr. 29th, 2013 12:38 am (UTC)

I was considering school media (I would love to work in an elementary school), but I know those positions are being cut across the board. :/

Thu, May. 2nd, 2013 12:33 am (UTC)

In many states school media specialists must also have a teaching experience, and (in some states) classroom teaching experience.