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Re: [BKARTS] how to become a book arts librarian

Allison--I was a bookbinder for twenty years before personal circumstances
required my return to school. I took the "road" you mentioned. Following up
on my love of books, archives, preservation, etc., I did my undergrad work
in history at the University of Colorado, which oriented me into archives
because it required primary source research culminating in a thesis to
graduate. I decided on an MLIS at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, LEEP option (distance, same degree and instructors as on
campus students receive), which required only brief periods of study on
campus and the rest at home. It is currently the top-rated school for LIS,
at least until US News and World Report does another assessment. It will, in
any case, continue to be one of the top schools for LIS in the on-campus and
distance program degree. It offers, from time to time, workshops and short
courses in book history and book arts, but it is primarily geared toward
librarianship and information science. I graduate this May and I am now
working on my second masters in history at CU because I plan a career as an
academic librarian and I want a domain specialty. I couldn't be happier with
my decision because I can practice bookbinding and be a librarian or
archivist, three things I love.

Unlike what Gerald mentions, I do not think about what the information
profession "allows" in terms of book arts because I pursue what I want in
book arts when I want. Staff is thrilled to know anyone who has an in-depth
knowledge of books and book arts that can lead to some nice opportunities
for you to take the lead in planning exhibitions and workshops for your
institution. I think, though, Gerald has a point in that you do not
generally do book binding as a part of the job description, unless you are a
technical services librarian. Even then, you usually supervise technicians.
Choosing what kind of daily work you want to be doing is critical to the
education you should receive, obviously. If you want book arts as a daily
job, MLS or MLIS is probably not the way to go. You may, then, want to look
into the University of Texas at Austin's masters program for conservation--a
difficult school to get into and graduate from, but one of the best for
keeping bookbinding, book arts, and preservation a part of the future job
description. There are also a number of other conservation programs
nationwide that turn out some fine graduates with the same bent.  I wish you

Karen Terrell Pardue

T.A. Department of History, LAS

G.A., Project Excel Writing Center

PO Box 7150

University of Colorado

Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7150

(719) 262-4336

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