Extracurricular activities?

Shortly into my MLIS program I realized that, while school and internships would no doubt provide me with indispensable knowledge and experience, it was important that I was not relying only on these things to help prepare me for a career in art librarianship.   I assume I’m not alone on this that most of you are following blogs, reading journals, watching webinars or doing various other activities that you believe will help you to land your dream job or stay relevant in the field.

For this discussion post, I was hoping that we could share some of these resources that we rely on.  I thought it might be interesting and helpful to see what other people are doing outside of work and school to sharpen skills or to learn more about the world of art librarianship.  Please be encouraged to join the conversation and share any readings, websites, activities, or anything else that you feel has helped you.

Below are some of the things that I do, read, etc. that I think will help me in the long run, a few of these I have suggested on earlier blog posts but thought I might as well share them again.  Enjoy!

Duolingo – It has been a few years since I’ve taken any language classes so my skills have started to get a little rusty.  I wanted to re-familiarize myself with both Spanish and French for a number of reasons.  First, I think that having a working knowledge of French, Italian, German, and to a lesser degree Spanish, can help a great deal in working with art historical publications since those seem to be the major research languages.  Also, proficiency in more than one language is definitely a desirable skill and something that can set you apart from other job candidates.

Art Documentation – I read this journal to keep up to date on any important research, trends, or issues surrounding art librarianship.  Plus, if you are a member of ARLIS/NA a subscription of the journal is included in your membership!

w3schools – In the past year or two, I have really been focusing on building my tech skills to help me compete in the job search, the tutorials on this website are free and really great.

That’s it for now, I wanted to first get the discussion started and then I’ll definitely join in and share some more.


5 Comments on “Extracurricular activities?”

  1. sburris1 says:

    Thank you for sharing what you have been up to – I had never heard of Duolingo before & have now added it to my list! Language is so often a preferred skill, and my French is pretty rusty. I have graduated, but am still applying for jobs. I think each interview helps me decide what I should tackle next. This often has shaped what I want to learn in my internship, such as building reference desk experience. It is amazing how each position is so different – meaning the need to be extremely versatile. One of my extracurricular activities included starting a Tumblr blog. This has allowed me to understand how the platform works (which could be beneficial in library marketing) and have fun sharing art resources. Another is joining a Book Club – keeps you in the reading loop and very social! If you still want it to be more focused – it can be joining an Art Museum Library book club. If no art book clubs are in your area, coordinate & lead your own. “Alena” by Rachel Pastan (2014) is amazing: http://theartistandthelibrarian.tumblr.com/post/81218003989/q-a-with-author-rachel-pastan It is set in a contemporary art museum and was influenced by Daphne Du Murier’s ‘Rebecca’. Tangent – but keep the ideas rolling! Great post!


  2. allanaaa says:

    I’m going to add “Alumni” very generally to the list.
    My internship (unpaid, not-for-credit) was in an art library for a private corporation. I would never have known it existed or needed any maintenance were it not for an in-class panel of program alums that were there to speak about possible careers after the MLIS. One of them was working for that corporation as their “project archivist,” and I chased her down to talk more about the work they did (media production, usually very large-scale public artworks).
    Bing bang boom, now I know so much more about copyright, digital asset management, multimedia, and all the other issues that company was dealing with, as well as the basics of cataloguing and collection development because of my library-specific work.

    So: Find out what people who have taken your degree have done with it: the arts-librarianship circle is small, and people will be sympathetic to your cause.


  3. I have been playing with Duolingo too in hopes of gaining some rudimentary understanding of German, and although I don’t anticipate being able to conduct research using Thieme-Becker anytime soon, I do think it helps! I am going to check out w3schools since I could use some extra tech training as well. I might add getting involved in your regional ARLIS chapter to whatever degree you can, especially when as a student, the cost of attending the national conference may be too exorbitant.


  4. Abigail_Sadler says:

    Thanks for your suggestions! I definitely think that people are a great resource. One thing to consider is setting up a tour or at least planning a visit to art libraries in your area or make it a part of your travel plans if you are heading out of town. I think these visits are great opportunities to make connections with people in the field and they give you a chance to explore different libraries.


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