Final Reflections

This semester in LIS 6010 has been such an informative one.  I have learned more about myself throughout this semester.  The biggest thing I discovered was that I did not want to walk away from my undergraduate degree, but rather use it to benefit in my career path.   I’ve decided that I want to pursue a career in professional music librarianship, either in a university or a professional music organization.  I’m very excited about the idea of working in either type of position and whenever I’m viewing the job postings, I’m yearning (and yet kind of dreading) the day when I can apply for these positions.

In my current job at the Ann Arbor District Library, my love for music and film are benefiting me when I am asked a listener or viewer’s advisory question.  I feel strongly that if I receive a reference question regarding music of any sort, I would be able to guide that patron in the right direction to answer the question.  Music librarians do all the day-to-day jobs as a traditional librarianship, just with the specialization of materials on the topic of music.  The Music Library Association also adds that to become a music librarian, one should adhere to the following:

“Training for music librarianship should include as broad an education as possible in both music and the liberal arts. Training in music must be the equivalent of at least substantial undergraduate work. Undergraduates need a wide background in the humanities, for music librarians need to be familiar with the relationship of music to other disciplines. Music and the literature about it are published in many countries and languages; basic cataloging and bibliographic research require a working knowledge of German and at least one Romance language. A master’s degree in library or information science is required by most employers. Because music librarians need a thorough knowledge of music history and repertory, a second master’s degree in music is required or highly desired for some positions. “

I have received an undergraduate degree in music that required me to take classes in other disciplines as well.  I also have a minor in the French language (Romance language) and I can read German fairly well and I plan on getting more knowledge in this language.  I will be acquiring an MLIS in the next few years and I will be considering going back to school to earn a second Master’s degree in Music (hopefully on my employer’s dime).

Luckily, there is a list of core competencies of Music Librarianship that I can read and study before I graduate to gage what I still need to learn before applying for jobs.  I will be joining professional organizations, like the Music Library Association and the American Library Association, so I can begin networking throughout the library community.  My understanding of the LIS profession is that there is a variety of careers in the LIS world.  Each one of my classmates will most likely be going down very different roads than the next.  As long as we are flexible in location of our future job and we are gaining experience while in school, we should be able to find jobs to start our professional careers right out of school.  This isn’t always the case, of course, but the outlook for the LIS profession is looking bright in the future!


Music Librarianship: Is it for you?. Retrieved from

Core Competencies and Music Librarians. (2002). Retrieved from


Revisit Assumption/Assertions about LIS

At the end of the semester, while only a few months have actually past, it feels like I’ve been a MLIS candidate forever!  I really do mean that in the best way possible though.  I feel like I’ve been embedded into this program and the program has been embedded into me.  My previous assumptions about the profession at the beginning of the class are as follows:

1)   Libraries will never cease to exist.  They might, however, change significantly over time in function.

2)   While print may not be as important for a lot of traditional monographs in the future, print copies will continue to be preserved in libraries.

3)   Don’t worry Mom and Dad, I’ll get a job after graduation (this time)…

Now, at the end of LIS 6010 Intro to the Information Professional, I feel the same about my assertions.  These topics were all discussed thoroughly in our class meetings.  We talked extensively on how libraries are changing.  My team blog was structured around the idea of the future of libraries.  The link to that blog is posted below:

We also talked extensively on the preservation of print in libraries.  I think I would agree with some of my classmates in their beliefs that having print copies of books in one’s possession will be just as “hip” in the future as owning LPs is today.  It’s funny how those things work….trends and fads….but it is true of our society.

In regards to my 3rd assumption about finding a job after graduation, I still believe it to be true.  I have started building connections with professional music organizations (MOT) and gaining experience in archiving through them.  I have also started a job working an information desk at the Ann Arbor District Library.  It is an amazing place to work and I’m gaining valuable experience in public service and reference.  I am also planning on starting a Graduate Student Assistantship next semester in the Purdy/Kresge library.  I will be gaining valuable experience working in an academic library setting.  I think I will be heading down the right path to supplementing my resume for when I start applying for jobs after graduation.

Blogging about Professional Blogs

I have never really had an interest in blogs before.  I trust online journals, scholarly or otherwise, to learn things about a certain topic.  In the case of library and information science, I still trust online journals more than blogs, but having done some searching around for professional blogs, I can see the value in reading them.   Librarianship is an ever-changing field and everyone has different beliefs in what trends are going to last, whether the trends are worth investing in, what topics need to be advocated this month, etc.  Subscribing to a librarian’s blog you enjoy reading can help you gain new information from a different mindset.  I found two blogs, both written by published female librarians, which discuss the Internet and the changing world of libraries.


“Hey Jude, learning in an online world”


Judy O’Connell, a current faculty member at Charles Sturt University, writes this blog.  She comments that she created the blog to help herself engage in reflection, learning and social networking.  The majority of the posts on this blog discuss social networking, social media, school libraries and Web 2.0.  Her blog is visual interesting with lots of pictures and videos embedded into her posts.  She also provides related articles to most of her postings so her readers can do additional reading if they choose.  She also includes a Twitter feed on the blog to view what she’s tweeting and what others are tweeting about her blog.


Some interesting blog posts of O’Connell are as follows:


A post discussing tools that help with personalization:



A post that discusses a possible crisis in School Libraries:


“Librarian in Black”


Sarah Houghton, the Director the San Rafael Public Library in CA, writes this blog.  She comments that she created the blog because she disliked having to wade through dozens of other websites, blogs & RSS feeds to gather information that related to her work.  Topics of this blog include library web and digital services.  Glancing through the archive of the blog you can see that she likes to write blog posts in series.  Some of the series are titled: “What Sarah Said”, “Internet Librarian”, “eBooks”, “LiB Recommends” and “LiB Sites and Sources”.  She also has a twitter feed on her blog, as well as a place to subscribe to her blog (RSS).


Some posts I found interesting on “Librarian in Black” are:

A list of great mobile apps for libraries:


An informal discussion on library website development:




“Hey Jude”. (2012). Retrieved from


“Librarian in Black”. (2012). Retrieved from


Comparative Analysis of Professional Journals

Reading professional journals is a great way for professional librarians to educate themselves on topics they may not yet have knowledge.  This would be especially true for a reference librarian who is required to have a general knowledge of many topics in order to better service his or her patrons.   I chose two professional journals that discussed topics in the library and information science realm, Library Journal and Notes.

Library Journal

This journal’s intended audience tends to be more in the public library sector.  The articles tend to discuss topics that would appeal to those still in Library School or to those who have recently graduated.  Each issue has several short articles, a few larger ones, a feedback section, updates on subscribers; reviews of audio books, videos, video games, music and books (sorted by genre).  Library Journal is also accessible for free online at and in print form.  This journal is a great resource for reading up-to-date news around the world in libraries.  They discuss a variety of topics from politics to copyright issues to intellectual freedom.


The Music Library Association publishes this journal and its intended audience would be in the field of music librarianship.  The topics one would find in this journal are music bibliography, music librarianship, the music trade, discography, music history, book and music reviews and they also provide lists of books recently published and music received.  These articles are very scholarly in nature and are great for research.  If I decide to go into academic music librarianship, I would most likely refer to this journal often. This journal is only available with a membership to the association, although the current issue’s table of contents is viewable on the MLA’s website:  The journal comes in print form but is also viewable online through several online databases.


Both of these journals are usable by professional librarians.  Public librarians would most likely use Library Journal and academic music librarians would most likely use NotesLibrary Journal is more of a publication of shorter articles and lots of reviews of materials, while Notes is full of scholarly articles that can be used for reference services.  The major differences between these two journals reflect how large in scope the LIS professions are.  Public Librarians tend to be interested in many more topics than specialized Music Librarians.   However, despite these differences in makeup of these journals, librarianship itself faces many similar issues, like copyright issues, intellectual freedom, growing technology and accessibility.




Library Journal. (1975-2012). Retrieved from


Library Journal. (2012). Retrieved from


Notes. (1995-2012). Retrieved from


Notes Subscription Information. (2009). Retrieved from

Mid-semester analysis

Here at the mid-semester point, I’m just as excited about the continuation of earning my MLIS as I was at the very beginning, which says a lot!  I suppose though, I might be slightly more excited than before because I do have a clearer view of the path in which I want to take in my studies at WSU’s SLIS.  When I started at Wayne State University, I was interested in the Digital Content Management Specialization in my MLIS program.  However, through personal research, I’ve gotten more and more interested in pursuing music librarianship.

Honestly, this blogging assignment is really what helped me come to this conclusion.  It was the Professional Organization blog post that made me search for music librarian jobs out in the world.  There were so many postings that appealed to me.  Through the Major Orchestra Library Association, I saw a posting for a Library Assistant at the Metropolitan Opera in New York!!  I went to their website and I found that they employ 3 librarians and 2 archivists.  I WANT ONE OF THESE JOBS!!!!  🙂  It would be such a dream to work for the Met.  Because of that assignment, I’m beyond excited to start searching for jobs around the country, mostly in Chicago or New York, in the field of music librarianship.

I’ve already made a contact in the professional music library field at the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit.  I went there to do an observation for LIS 6010 and I learned all about how this library was formed and how the Opera Company works directly with library and visa versa.  That connection I’ve made has led already to volunteering.  I’m working on a project to digitize archived articles about past MOT productions.  I am using Archivist Toolkit to help with online archiving.  This volunteering project could turn into an internship/practicum if I choose in the future.  I will be looking more into the Arts & Museum Librarianship Certification but I cannot apply for the program until Winter 2013 to start then in Fall 2013.  The director of the MOT Library has already offered to provide me with a letter of recommendation for when I apply to the Certification….I’m on my way! 🙂

Job Analysis pt.2

For the purpose of this blog, I’m choosing to analyze the position of Music Librarian for Yale University.  If I choose to go into academic music librarianship, I couldn’t think of many better places to work.  Yale University has an amazing music program, especially for the higher degrees.  They are best known for their sacred music program (Institute of Sacred Music).  The link to view this program is listed below;

This position is actually starting its rank as Librarian at level 3, which means that five years of related experience is necessary.  Level 4 requires at least 8 years of experience and Level 5 requires at least 12 years of experience.  This position is a full-time position, which comes out to 37.5 hours per week (not a weekend position).

I obviously do not have five years of related professional experience yet, but here are the skills that are necessary for the position of which I think I’ve already acquired:

  1. Works independently with varied user groups in a complex organization and functions collaboratively in a team environment.
  2. Excellent customer service skills, flexibility and a strong commitment to innovation, creativity and excellence. Excellent problem solving skills, experience coordinating projects, and the ability to bring projects to fruition.
  3. Ability to work cooperatively with others and foster teamwork.

I have received these skills through working in libraries prior.  In any library, a good amount of teamwork is necessary to receive answers to questions and to solve problems.

The following I have some knowledge regarding, but I have a lot to work on in my future to prepare myself for this job requirement:

  1. Rudimentary knowledge of three or more Western European languages (preferably German, French, and/or Italian). I have a minor in French; I studied the language for over five years in my undergraduate university.  While in undergrad, I also did a lot of personal study on the German language and I took a certification test at the Goethe Institute in Chicago which led me to earn my A1 certificate in German language.
  2. In-depth knowledge of music literature and music reference sources. Strong commitment to collection building and to innovative public service programs, including the provision of information in electronic formats.  I had to take several music history courses and a research class devoted to ethnomusicology.  I spent a lot of time searching for information in the shelves of our music library or online on the many databases dedicated to music articles.  However, there are so many databases out there and other types of resources that I have no working knowledge of yet.  I have yet to take classes on collection development, but I plan to.  I also plan on taking some type of class that discusses electronic formatting.

These two following requirements of the position are ones that I could acquire only through my professional work experience after graduation:

  1. Demonstrated understanding of current developments in information and music librarianship with a proven ability to provide leadership and direction in a research library.
  2. Demonstrated ability and achievement in a supervisory role.

I plan on earning my MLIS with the Arts and Museum Librarianship certification.  I also plan on joining professional music organizations while in school, especially the Music Librarian Association (MLA), which can help me network before applying for jobs after graduation.


Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Music Librarian. Retrieved from

Job Analysis pt. 1

The world of music librarianship is usually either in an academic library setting or in a professional musical organization setting.  I have yet to decide which path to focus on, or whether I need to choose one over the other, and through research I have found some job postings that appeal to me.

Music Library and Surtitles Manager – English National Opera – London, UK

Librarian – San Diego Symphony – San Diego, CA

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Music Librarian – Yale University – New Haven, CT

The first two positions are working for music organizations; the first for opera and the second for an orchestra/chorus.  The positions for the organizations merely ask for a Bachelor’s degree (ENO is the only one asking specifically for a degree in music) and excellent musical knowledge.  The position at Yale University is very different, however, since it is working in a prestigious academic institution.  This position is asking for an ALA-accredited MLS.  The preferred education for this position is a second Master’s or PhD in music.

In regards to how much previous experience is wanted, it varies.  ENO and SDS are practical experience working with professional musicians, either singers or instrumental.  SDS also adds that they prefer to hire someone with performance experience.  Yale is asking for five years of related experience and preferably five years working as a music librarian in a research library.

With my undergraduate degree in Music and having an emphasis in Vocal Performance, I feel that I am somewhat applicable for these jobs already, obviously not Yale.  I think I’m leaning a bit more towards working with an organization over a university, but merely because you will be working with professional musicians day-in and day-out.  I love performing and I love music.  I would like to spend sometime out in the performing world, although in my case, I’ll be behind the books… to speak.

There are lots of internships with Music Festivals available during the summer to which I could apply.  This would give me hands-on experience working for professional music organizations to learn about orchestrations and bowing, which are two things I’m not as familiar with.  Honestly though, the world of professional musicianship is all about who you know.  I hope to continue making connections with music librarians across the country at conferences or observations, because you never know where a job opportunity could open up.

I am thinking about going the route of getting the Arts & Museum Librarianship certification. While it may not be required of any of these positions, I would be taking courses that could benefit me in doing any of these jobs.  Also, the program doesn’t accept everyone into the program, so earning it would tell my future employers that I stand out above others.



Job Openings sent to MOLA. Retrieved from

Professional Associations

1. Music Librarian Association


Brief History of MLA:

Founded in 1931. International membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades.


Mission of the MLA:

The Music Library Association provides a professional forum for librarians, archivists, and others who support and preserve the world’s musical heritage.


Membership Benefits:

Members have access to the Online Directory of MLA members.  They have access to that official MLA Calendar of events.  They can also view the Administrative Handbook, the Fiscal Policies Handbook, the Convention Manual and miscellaneous MLA business forms.  Members also have a list of the members’ email and a list of system music user groups. Members can also apply for awards and grants that the MLA gives out each year. Members receive one full volume of NOTES and are eligible for discounted registration fees for their annual conference.


Membership Prices:


Individual Member: $110

Student Member: $50



The MLA website provides a list (short list) of job openings in the field of music librarianship.  They also provide Music Librarianship Workshops held around the country.  They have a resume & cover letters review service, career advisory service and other career resources available through the website.



They provides a Basic Manual Series (for music librarians), Index & Bibliography Series, Music Cataloging Bulletin, MLA Newsletter, Notes, Technical Reports and other online publications through the Association.


Personal Input on Association:

If I continue down the path of becoming a music librarian, this association is a great one to join.  They provide many wonderful services for their members, hold conferences and workshops and post job openings in the field.  Plus, the MLA is an international organization that could connect music librarians across continents.  I would definitely consider joining this organization in the near future.


2. Association of Jewish Libraries


Brief History of AJL:

AJL was founded in 1996 when the Jewish Librarians Association and the Jewish Library Association merged.


Mission of the Association of Jewish Libraries:

The Association of Jewish Libraries promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship.

The Association fosters access to information, learning, teaching and research relating to Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience and Israel.


Membership Benefits:

Members get access to the AJL Publications; Judaica Librarianship, AJL News, AJL Reviews.  They get a reduced registration rate for the AJL Annual Convention.  Members get a discount on AJL monographs.  They also get access to the current year’s convention proceedings and the online Weine classification documents.  Members are eligible for AJL accreditation.


Membership Prices:

Individual $70

1st year library school students FREE

2nd & 3rd year library school students $35



Awards are given out to both authors and members.  There are three literary awards given each year to exemplary Judaic literature.  There are also three awards given to members, including a student scholarship for those pursuing a future career in Judaic librarianship.



The AJL has numerous publications, including serials, print monographs and online resources.  Links to these publications are available on the AJL website.


Primary Activity:

There is an annual conference.  The 2013 AJL Annual Conference will be held in Houston, Texas in June.


Personal Input on Association:

I will most definitely be joining this organization as they offer free membership to 1st year library students.  They have lots of great resources available to those interested in Judaic literature, not just those interested in the profession of Judaic librarianship.  This is a whole other section of librarianship that I had yet to consider.  I will be looking further into the profession after my membership has been processed.


3. Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association


Brief History of MOLA:

MOLA, the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association, was founded in 1983.  MOLA is comprised of nearly 250 professional performance organizations.


Mission of MOLA:

The primary objective of MOLA is to help improve communication among orchestra librarians. The Association’s other objectives include: assisting librarians in providing better service to their orchestras, presenting a unified voice in publisher relations, and providing support and information to the administrations of performing arts organizations.


Membership Benefits:

Membership is actually given to the organization itself and not the representing librarians individually.  Members have access to the annual conference, the quarterly newsletter Marcato, a website (, various brochures, errata lists and a listing of the affiliated performing ensembles and librarians.


Membership Prices:

Organization: $250



There is a listing of job openings on the website as well as information for internships and summer programs.   There is a board and miscellaneous committees that members can participate with.



All MOLA publications are available online.  The newsletter is called Marcato.  MOLA also provides brochures and other informational resources on the types of organizations represented in the association.


Primary Activity:

The annual conference is being held in Portland, OR in April 2013.


Personal Input of Association:

This is definitely my favorite resource that I found in this search for professional organizations.  While membership is excluded to professional ensembles only, there are lots of resources available for public viewing.  I will be using this site in the future to apply for summer programs and internships in the field of music librarianship.  I also found my dream job on the job posting board!   I’m already a big fan of MOLA.

Personal Goals/Objectives for my Studies

When I made the decision to go to graduate school to pursue a MLIS degree, I received a reaction very similar to those others may have received.  People asked me, “Isn’t that a dying profession?” or “…and you expect to get a job with that?”  Well, luckily, through my studies at Wayne State University I have already found tons of literature that support my already held belief that I will find a job after graduation.  One journal article from American Libraries states that with the growing number of retiring librarians each year, the number of openings in the field of librarianship is increasing.

When I applied to the program at Wayne State University, I was initially drawn to the Digital Content Management Specialization that they offer.  As an undergraduate student at Western Michigan University, I worked as a student assistant in the Electronic Serials department and I thought that a profession in that field would be enticing.  I also felt that with the rapid rate of available digital resources for librarians being as it is that a searching for a job in Digital Content would be a good bet.

Here’s the link to view the classes for the Digital Content Management Specialization;

When I came to Orientation, however, I reassessed and thought if I could somehow use my MLIS and my undergraduate degree together and find a career in Music Librarianship.  This was really sparked by one of my professors in an introduction to my first course in the MLIS program.  This is something I am definitely considering for my future.  I love the idea of continuing a career in the music field and I get to spend all day in what had been my favorite place in my undergrad studies…the music library!  So many scores, so little time!

As of now, my plans for my future have yet to solidify.  Through my studies in the MLIS program at Wayne State University, I hope to learn all the basic philosophies of library and information science.  I want to continue learning about the many different pathways I could go down after graduation.  I plan on taking another general MLIS class next semester and at least one class in the Digital Content Management Specialization Elective List.  I feel that introducing myself more to the professional field of Digital Content is extremely important before I focus my whole course study in the field.


Matarazzo, J. M., & Mika, J. J. (2006). How To Be Popular. American Libraries37(8), 38-40.

Introduction to my blog :)

Welcome to my blog!  My name is Samantha Downes and I am a first-year student in the MLIS program at Wayne State University.  I graduated in December 2011 from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance.  My minors were in Psychology and French and I also graduated from the Lee Honors College.   My interest in Library Science began during my undergraduate studies.  I had a job working in my university library for four and a half years as a Student Assistant in the Electronic Serials Department.  I was responsible for checking the links to electronic journals and checking subscription dates to make sure they were up to date.  I learned a lot about the inner workings of an academic library and just how much information is available in electronic formats.

This blog will be a site for my reflections on readings, lectures, articles, professional organizations, conferences, and personal research on professions in library and information science.  Basically, it’ll be my view on the world of libraries and librarianship.

I’m very excited about completing my MLIS program.  There are so many possibilities and opportunities open to me in the future with this degree.  I think everyone has their own perception of library systems and librarians, whether positive or negative.  Here are a few of my beliefs on the profession and the future of libraries;

1)  Libraries will never cease to exist.  They might, however, change significantly over time in function.

Libraries have existed in one form or another for thousands of years.  The function and mission of the library, however, has changed as the need of the society of which it was ingrained has changed.  As technology continues to enhance, the public’s need for information enhances as well.  More and more, public libraries provide e-books and other electronic resources for their patrons.  Academic libraries subscribe to more and more online scholarly journals.  It is the job of the librarian to fulfill the needs of the surrounding society.

2)  While print may not be as important for a lot of traditional monographs in the future, print copies will continue to be preserved in libraries.

There is a big argument on whether the future will hold more important on the content or the container.  While I agree, the focus will be on the content and shift from print to electronic formats, print copies are very important.  Religious institutions will always have a need for print.  The Vatican has a large archive full of books and manuscripts.  Synagogues each have Torah scrolls.  Churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship require print copies for the congregation to follow the service.  I cannot see a future in which you walk into your place of worship and turn on your e-reader to worship with your fellow congregates.  Religious organizations hold tradition to be very important.  Print is considered traditional in our society, thus, at least with this institute, print will never dissipate.

3)  Don’t worry Mom and Dad, I’ll get a job after graduation (this time)….

The possibilities for jobs requiring an MLIS are endless.  There are, of course, the traditional routes of the public library, academic library, school library or special library.  There are also jobs in museums, hospitals and corporations.  There are jobs working for vendors of information.  There are jobs in Social Media.  There are jobs doing contract work for the government or other institutions.  I believe the more the MLIS candidate does to pump up his or her resume will only make him or her successful.  If he or she cannot find a job after graduation, it won’t be for a lack of available positions out there.

For an example of what I’m talking about….here’s a link to a posting of 61 Non-traditional jobs for an LIS graduate.  Enjoy!

Thanks guys!  I can’t wait to share more of my thoughts throughout this semester….and most likely beyond.  YAY for future “librarians” out there 🙂