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…..so 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 http://www.mola-inc.org/