Special Collections Certificate

As of this summer I now have another line on my résumé: “Special Collections Certificate (completed 2013).”

I came into library school with a pretty solid archives/special collections background (worked in undergrad archives, had a summer internship at a political archive, etc.). My undergraduate major was history, which then somewhat dovetailed into my interest in library science. However, upon reflection at the start of grad school, I, like many others, realized that the job opportunities in the archives/special collections field were much fewer and farther in between than those in libraries and other LIS institutions. So I determined that an archives-heavy specialization might not be the way to go. Enter, University of Illinois Graduate School of Library & Information Science, where there are no specializations! The great thing about Illinois’ program is that it is very design-it-yourself. There are two required courses, a handful of loosely recommended “core courses” and a variety of electives. Thus, I was able to add in a few archives-type classes without going overboard. I was also able to secure a Certificate of Special Collections; this was a fantastic solution to my archives problem (that I enjoy the field, but don’t want to limit myself). I was able to get my MLIS and take all kinds of classes, while also building up a portfolio and certificate that say: “I have studied special collections things. You can trust me with your old stuff!”

Yay for special collections work!
Yay for special collections work!

I think certificates are definitely the way to go in terms of library science education. They allow for flexible specialization, which I’m all about! This fall I’m going to start plugging away at another certificate: Community Informatics! Will update with more information soon…


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