Education and Training

Cochran, Keith. “The Music Librarianship Programs at Indiana University.” Fontes Artis Musicae 60, no. 3 (2013): 217-221.

The Department of Information and Library Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, offers students interested in studying music librarianship a choice of two degree programs. One is a Master in Library Science (MLS) with a specialization in music librarianship, the other a dual degree program in which the student earns both a MLS and Master of Arts (MA) in Music, usually musicology. The components of these programs which are specific to this subject are an introductory course in music bibliography and a seminar in music librarianship. The courses are briefly described and examples of assignments and projects are also discussed. Students are also required to take two internships, which concentrate on a particular area of library work, such as reference, cataloging, or collection development.

Morrow, Jean. "Preparing to be a Music Librarian." In Careers in Music Librarianship II, ed. by Paula Elliot and Linda Blair. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2004.

Music librarians come in many varieties, as do their job responsibilities and the types of experience and knowledge they bring to their jobs. The typical music librarian comes to the profession already possessing a strong background in music and has learned about library procedures in library school, on the job, or, in the majority of cases, through a combination of both. One can travel many routes to become a competent music librarian. Some of the most renowned members of this profession spent years working as musical scholars, others as performing musicians, often coming only later in their careers to library work. Among younger members of the profession, many decided early in their college years that they wanted to combine their love of music and musical training with library work and earned degrees in both fields before ever seeking professional employment.

Oates, Jennifer. “Music Librarianship Education: Problems and Solutions.” Music Reference Services Quarterly 8, no. 3 (2004): 1-24.

Information Studies and Library Studies departments do not usually offer specialized reference courses for aspiring music librarians. Most music departments in academic universities offer some type of music bibliography course, which often combines music bibliography with an introduction to music research. Some music library students, however, do not have access to such music bibliography courses. While a number of articles outline the problems with music librarianship education, few offer any solutions, suggestions, or additional resources. This article outlines the inadequacies in the training provided by many MLS programs to students of music librarianships, suggesting practical solutions, and includes recommended resources for students.

Quist, Ned. "Tomorrow's Music Librarians." In Careers in Music Librarianship II, ed. by Paula Elliot and Linda Blair. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2004.

Looking into the future rarely yields profound insights; rather it is often educated guesses built on previous experience. The experience offered here is that of an academic music librarian, currently the most prevalent kind of music library, but not necessarily so in the future. The educated guesses are those of one who has served the profession largely in private institutions of higher learning where resources, though rarely sumptuous, are at least reasonably consistent. They are consistent enough that looking into the future is not a discouraging practice but rather a useful and often successful pastime combing hope, potential, and a great deal of good fortune, some of which comes to all of us at one time or another.

Shaw, Misti. “Music Library Environments and Positions Types.” In Careers in Music Librarianship III, ed. by Susannah Cleveland and Joe C. Clark. Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, 2014.

Music librarians work in a variety of environments, including academic libraries, archives, radio libraries, and performance and ensemble libraries. Their positions equally vary, including responsibilities in public services, archives and special collections, collection development, and technical services. Some positions are hybrids, requiring music librarians to work in more than one of these areas. Shaw provides readers with an overview of each environment and position type, as well as recommendations of personal attributes that flourish in each, in order to assist them in making choices about their education and employment.

Smith-Borne, Holling. “The Music Library Association’s Educational Outreach Program.” Fontes Artis Musicae 60, no. 3 (2013): 187-193.

The Education Committee of the Music Library Association (MLA) of the United States, in conjunction with the Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG), created the Educational Outreach Program (EOP) to teach music librarianship skills to non-music specialists, support staff, and library students. Five courses are currently offered in the program. The program's aim is to provide educational opportunities as a form of outreach to underrepresented groups in the field of music librarianship, while at the same time drawing attention to the discipline and helping the non-specialist learn more about the basics of music librarianship.

Wagstaff, John. “Spreading the Message: Teaching Music Librarianship by Distance Learning.” Fontes Artis Musicae 58, no. 2 (2011): 165-176.

Wagstaff discusses music librarianship courses in United States library school programs, and the possibilities for teaching such a course online.

Wagstaff, John. “Training and Education in Music Librarianship.” In Careers in Music Librarianship III, ed. by Susannah Cleveland and Joe C. Clark. Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, 2014.

Wagstaff provides an overview of the history of music librarianship education, statements of qualifications and core competencies, and developments over the last decade. He discusses the “gold standard” of well-rounded training and education in the field, which consists of a music librarianship course, a practicum or internship in a music library, and professional mentoring. The chapter includes examples of syllabi and assignments for music librarianship courses, as well as a discussion of the pros, cons, and availability of joint master’s programs. Wagstaff provides valuable advice for both students considering music librarianship and music librarians who will assist in training the next generation.


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About MLA

The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.