Some personal thoughts stirred up by reading of your dissatisfaction
with the academic credentials required in a job posting:
Though I recall the same feeling of frustration at finding my employment
horizons limited in a similarly arbitrary-seeming fashion back when I
(only) had a couple or three decades of experience as a working
musician, sound recording collector and avid researcher of all things
musical, I would not say that I regret for one single moment the three
years spent getting my MLS at night while working full-time (among other
pursuits). Believe me, it did make a difference, for me at least. It is
not one of those spam Internet degrees and being able to communicate as
a peer with other librarians (and, to a lesser degree, archivists) is an
asset that I'm sure would come in handy for this Nashville job.
Following the discussions on this list that edge into the library area,
particularly those centered on cataloging, frequently reminds me of
people who think they know how to medicate themselves based on
experience and anecdote ans then disparage MDs because they are formally
trained in what they do. Doctors (and catalogers) do some stupid things,
but they do more good than harm and much of this is due to their formal
training. I was an adolescent in the 60's and like everyone I knew, I
was sure that I knew everything and had little respect for the certified
authorities (we were mostly right as it turned out, but I am talking
about something other than society in general here). When I look back
over the intervening period, I realize that I did know a fair amount of
stuff about music and records but I've only had a real grip on how to
make it useful to others in the dozen or so years since I took my first
LIS courses. Many of the courses have faded from memory already, but the
rigor of study for a degree was much different than privately pursuing
knowledge and that discipline has stood up well since those days.
There seem to be people that are further along than others when it comes
to natural ability in this area and I am sure you are in the further
along category, but I don't blame potential employers from drawing this
particular line when it might be difficult otherwise to limit the pool
of applicants for a job in a meaningful manner. I believe that in the
not too distant past one was hired to work at an institution (library,
museum, archive) and learned most of the necessary skills on the job.
This is not the case anymore for the sort of advertised position the we
are discussing, though there still ways to enter at a lower level and
work one's way up. I really don't see anything wrong with that.
Hey, I spent a year and a half as the archivist of Henry Cowell's papers
and he barely attended grade school. He taught at a few places like
Columbia and Peabody and was a heavyweight in a number of circles, so
what the Hell do I know?
I send my warmest regards as I recede back into lurking,
Steven C. Barr wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Becky Miley" <[log in to unmask]>
>>DESCRIPTION: Full-time. Half-time reference, half-time technical
>services. Will work under the supervision of Associate Librarian and
>Senior Director, Museum Services. Duties include: responding to reference
>calls, visits, and correspondence, maintaining clippings files and other
>finding aids, acquiring new books for collection, maintenance of serials
>records, cataloging print materials, and overseeing interns/volunteers.
>>QUALIFICATIONS: MLS from an ALA accredited institution with a minimum of
>2 years experience in reference and/or technical services setting. Must be
>familiar with basic cataloging practices (MARC format). Knowledge of
>country music history highly desireable. Must possess ability to work well
>with others and demonstrate willingness to tackle new projects as needed.
>Successful candidate will be subject to background check.
>>Send resume, salary requirements, and references to:
>>Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
>>222 Fifth Avenue South
>>Nashville, TN 37203
>These are the kind of postings that I find supremely frustrating!
>I don't have a Master's in Library Science (or anything else!)...
>but I do have an encyclopedic knowledge of the music and records
>they would be dealing with! However, I don't have a nice piece
>of embossed paper with a gold seal saying I do...
>Course, I'm not planning to move to Tennessee anyway...
>Steven C. Barr