Interview with Carolyn Faber, Film and Media Technician at the John M. Flaxman Library, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Kara Van Malssen: This is Kara Van Malssen, I’m here with Carolyn Faber. Today is April 7th, 2010 and we are recording this interview for the IMLS Moving Image Specialists in Libraries project in the Moving Image Preservation program at NYU. Today we are in the MIAP lab at NYU, on campus. Thanks for coming and for agreeing to do the interview.

Carolyn Faber: No problem. Thanks for having me.

KVM: Can you just start by telling us where you work and what your job title is?

CF: Right now I’m the Film and Media Technician at the [John M.] Flaxman Library at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

KVM: And is that a full-time or a part-time job?

CF: Part-time.

KVM: How long have you been working there?

CF: Three months. It’s pretty new.

KVM: So, the library…is that the main library for the entire school?

CF: It’s the library for the school. The museum and the school are very separate entities and the Flaxman Library serves the school.

KVM: Tell us about the moving image collections that you work with.

CF: I don’t know the whole history of how the collection moved from the filmmaking department into the library but at some point it did. The collection used to be accessible to students directly. At one time, [students] were able to just...like they would check out a book, they could check out a film and project it for themselves.

KVM: Wow.

CF: Yeah. And it’s only a few years ago that that changed and there was restricted access to the collection. I want to say it’s within the last ten years, but I think it’s actually less than ten years ago.

KVM: What kind of facilities did they have for the students to project films?
CF: I don’t know exactly what they had. They had projectors, I guess, on site that [students] could use. And filmmaking students—it wasn’t hard for them to have access to projectors. So I don’t know exactly how that worked, but students could just go and check out the films and project them.

KVM: That’s interesting.

CF: So they’re still very access-oriented there. Even though they’ve restricted access to the collection now and have certain tiers of access for the films, that’s still the primary thing: the prints are there to be used.

KVM: Okay. What are those tiers? Are they faculty-access mostly?

CF: Yeah, the faculty [members] put in a request if they want to screen something for a class and if they are in the [Department of] Film, Video, New Media [and Animation] [(FVNMA)]—if they’re in that department—they are trained to use the projectors in the school. There are also [teaching assistants] who are trained to use them, and they can project the films themselves. Anybody outside of FVNMA has to get me in to project. So part of my job is projection.

KVM: Okay.

CF: And sometimes there’s certain occasions where a student is writing a paper on a certain filmmaker and [he or she] can schedule a time to come in to my office and I’ll project the film for [him or her].

KVM: Okay. [Pause.] So do you only work with film or are there videos?

CF: There’s videos. And the other part of my job is to put stuff on reserve for faculty. There’s an online form and they ask for certain titles on certain dates. And then it’s my job to reserve [the films] a week or so in advance to make sure that they’re available.

KVM: Are you the only staff member who does these sorts of jobs?

CF: Well, no. It’s primarily my responsibility to take care of those requests, but if I’m not there I have colleagues who are able to fulfill them as well.

KVM: The projections...?

CF: I have one colleague who’s available to back me up when I’m not available.
KVM: But you are the primary person?

CF: I’m the primary person.

KVM: So that’s a lot to cover if you’re only working part-time.

CF: Yeah, last week was kind of crazy. I had five projections all piled up in one week, which is really unusual. And you don’t know if the professor wants you to just project and go, or if you have to sit there for the whole three-hour class while they show a film [then] lecture, show a film [then] lecture. So I worked a lot of hours last week because of all these projections. It was kind of crazy. It’s fun though. I like it more than I thought I would.

KVM: Well, maybe since we’re on the subject of projection, I’ll back up and ask you about your background: how did you come to have these projection skills? Where have you worked in the past and what kind of training have you had?

CF: On the job training. And projection—I have to just tell you that I was really terrified of doing it because I’ve had some really traumatic projection experiences. But I’ve kind of gotten over it and it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.

KVM: That’s good.

CF: But I studied filmmaking at Ithaca College. And afterwards I worked a lot of odd jobs in film production. I worked for Chicago Filmmakers, the media arts organization in Chicago. And among the odd jobs I did for them, I also picked up extra hours projecting, doing different kinds of screenings. So I learned a little bit there. And also just on my own. I collected films for a long time, and I would buy projectors to project the films I was collecting. So over the years I became familiar with a lot of different models. But it was all amateur, and vintage stuff; I really never learned how to project on a nice, large projector in a booth—a kind of semi-professional setting—until now.

KVM: And they have nice booths?

CF: In some of the classrooms, yeah. They have two Eastman 25s and an Eastman 30 that have been purchased and refurbished with James Bond, so they’re in great shape. And they’re very nice screening rooms.

KVM: I guess we should mention James Bond and that he’s not a 007. How can you explain [what he does]?
CF: Sorry, yeah, James is a projection technician; or, projection installation expert I should say.

KVM: He’s highly regarded in the archival projection industry. So, yeah, that’s how you got some experience with projection. But you are [also] a moving image archivist.

CF: Yeah, I kind of got there by accident. After working a lot of odd jobs and floundering around in my early twenties, I heard about a job at the WPA film library, which is a stock footage library outside of Chicago. And I didn’t know what an archivist was, and I didn’t really know what a stock footage library was, but I read the job description—a friend forwarded the description to me—and I
thought this looks like so much fun. I can handle film, I know what film is about, and I had been collecting home movies already and I sort of liked education films and industrials—I had been using them in my own filmmaking. And this was a library that was full of those kinds of films so I thought,
I gotta do that.

KVM: Yeah.

CF: So I got hired to be their archivist and managed 60 collections. At the time I think there was something like two million feet of film and about 10,000 tapes on at least a dozen different formats. So that was baptism by fire.

KVM: [Laughter.]

CF: But fantastic training. Matt White was the founder and president of the WPA Film Library and he had—and still has—a really infectious energy for moving image collections that transferred onto me. So he was really my mentor getting into this field.

KVM: That’s great. And how long did you work there?

CF: Six years. And after that I started freelancing.

KVM: As an archival consultant?

CF: Yeah, basically. And doing different kinds of jobs that I could. Matt had left at that point and he was at National Geographic and hooked me up with some work [there]—I was a cataloguer for some of their video tapes. We [also] worked together on a project for the Smithsonian a few years ago. So
we try to continue working together when we can. And then, yeah, I’ve been a consultant to a media firm [Media Burn], an independent video archive, and the Chicago Film Archives; [also] the Black Metropolis Research Consortium—it’s a Chicago-based organization; and to a number of projects going on in
and around Chicago.

KVM: So, you’ve mainly had on-the-job training. Have you done any kind of professional development, continuing education classes, in AV archives? Anything like that?

CF: No, AMIA was a great training ground too. In the first years I went to the AMIA conferences— this would be in the late 90s—I took some workshops. Those were great and helpful. But otherwise, no—I’ve not had professional training. And, what would it be now...? I’m 13 years into this profession
and I’m back in grad school. [Laughter.]

KVM: So talk about that. [Laughter.]

CF: Well, it’s kind of hard to work these days. The freelancing thing was going very well for a while and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed having different kinds of jobs and challenges and working in a lot of different environments. I’ve learned a lot by being that mobile. The environment for freelance work just changed so drastically over the last two years, I could not sustain a living. So, I was looking towards how I could apply my skills and what I’ve learned in a library setting or archival work, in Chicago—I’m really committed to staying in Chicago—and the jobs aren’t there.

KVM: Are you from there?

CF: Yes. And it’s not that there isn’t work there that needs to be done. And there’s different organizations looking at different pieces of it. But trying to get a regular position working with the collections or within those organizations is really tough.

KVM: Is it because there’s no culture of having people in those positions? Or something else?

CF: I think in terms of the libraries—[AV] archivists working in libraries—probably. In terms of the organizations I’ve been dealing with, they’re just too young. They’re not developed enough to support a full-time staff at that level. Most of them work with interns who grow into funded positions.

KVM: Grant-funded.

CF: Grant-funded. Project-based.

KVM: So what happened with grad school? You said you started grad school....

CF: Yeah, I kind of wandered away from that [topic].

KVM: Well, this has been interesting.

CF: Yeah, well I found that in looking at different job postings—wherever they were; in or out of Chicago—everyone was looking for a master’s degree as a qualifying credential.

KVM: Were they looking specifically for library science, accredited types of degrees? Or general master’s [degrees]?

CF: I was looking at positions in libraries and archives and I would say far and above the most frequently requested was a master’s in library science. You see a master’s in archival science required now and then, but far less often I think. And maybe even more often than that you see a master’s in history required. It depends on the place I guess, but far and above the master’s in library science
was a requirement.

KVM: So you decided to go for it—?

CF: Figured I better get one. [Laughter.] And also....I mean, having been in the field for so long, I thought it would be smart to further my education and build a network of people in the library field. I know there are a lot of collections tied up in libraries. I’ve been trying to get at them sideways, but maybe I should just go in through the front door.

KVM: That’s an interesting way to look at. How long have you been in the program now?

CF: A year. I’m in my second semester.

KVM: And how long are you going to be working at the degree? How long will it take you to complete?

CF: I will probably be done in about a year.

KVM: Have you already started to see things in a different way? Are you seeing new networks of people, or doors opening to libraries in different ways than before?

CF: I’m definitely meeting a lot of new people and that’s great. And I’m still feeling my way through those networks and just trying to get a sense of what library science is, and what that field is really about. It’s huge.

KVM: Yes.

CF: It’s so big. And a lot of the people I run into—students or faculty—who hear about what I do as a moving image archivist are really intrigued by that. So there’s interest in it; there’s just not a lot of knowledge about it. There’s one class about AV archiving, and I think it’s great that they have even one. I think most programs probably don’t have any.

KVM: Right.

CF: So that’s about as much as I know right now. I don’t really have a sense yet of where I see myself going in the profession.

KVM: When you started was it more to work with AV collections in libraries? Or were you thinking this might open up other opportunities within libraries, and maybe I want to do something else?

CF: A little of both. I imagined moving towards working in special collections, because I figured that’s where a lot of archival audio and video and film materials are going to end up. And [the school has] a certificate program in handling special collections, which I was going to do as well...[but] I’m a little
bit on the fence about that right now. So, that was my direction in getting into the program— and I’m still considering that.

KVM: So, talk about getting this position at the Flaxman Library. How did that come about?

CF: I have a routine when I look for a job—and I was looking really hard—and it included looking at the postings in the local museums and on their websites and seeing what was available and I think I had applied for probably a dozen different positions at the Art Institute.

KVM: Wow.

CF: So, I saw this job come up and I thought, okay, this one I have to get because it’s closest to my skills. You know, working at a reference desk, I don’t have any experience with that, so no wonder they wouldn’t look at my resume. But this one I felt like, I’ve got to be able to get this. And it helped
that I knew the director of the library and the bibliographer, who are my supervisors now....they were soliciting for the applications. I had dealt with them years ago on a film preservation project. With Chicago Filmmakers, I worked to preserve the films of a local filmmaker whose prints were in
the collection at the Flaxman. So I had had contact with them at the time to try to access the print. Even though it was five years ago, I emailed them and said, “Hey remember me from five years ago, I did this preservation project with you. By the way I am really interested in this position, just wanted to let you know.” And I got a phone call.

KVM: That’s great. You got to make the connection, I guess.

CF: Yeah, well, I hate to say it, but it’s more true than not.
KVM: So, you started there about three months ago....Now, back to the library and the collections. How big is that...? This is a circulating collection, right?

CF: Yes.

KVM: How many items?

CF: I think in the film collection there’s about 900 titles. I’m not sure about the stats for the rest of the library. There’s almost 5000 DVDs and maybe 1200 VHS tapes.

KVM: And did they have anyone in this position before you?

CF: Yeah, my predecessor was there for five years. And to my knowledge he did not have training in film or video handing. He was trained by the preservation specialist bibliographer, who is my supervisor now.

KVM: Okay, so can you talk about the organizational structure. You are under the preservationist...?

CF: Yeah, there’s the director of the library, Claire Eike; and Henrietta Zielinski is the bibliographer and preservation specialist. And, so I report to [Henrietta] on the collection. She’s been there for 25 years, so she knows the ins-and-outs of everything. And Claire has been there for 14 years, so
between the two of them they really share comprehensive knowledge on the value and use of the collection. And we work....The main library is on one floor of the building, and we work a floor below that.

KVM: How do the requests come in?

CF: Email and online forms. There’s a system for everything.

KVM: Oh, yeah. [Laughter.]

CF: And there’s always somebody there to go around it. So it’s a bit of a juggling act to manage all the stuff that’s coming in through the formal systems and then all the direct correspondences, like, “Hey Carolyn, can’t you just...?”

KVM: Now, is there a preservation mandate for the films?

CF: Nope. It’s strictly access. That said, there is interest in doing as much as possible to extend the life of the collection, but access comes first. It’s been a challenge for me to get my head around doing this, because of course I’ve been coming out of places where preservation comes first...or, where there’s much more of a symbiotic relationship between preservation and access….
Because I keep running into prints that are very questionable in terms of whether or not they can be projected. And I don’t think the expertise to make that call has been there prior to now. So I’m just figuring that out now.

KVM: So you’re bringing in this expertise in making the prints survive longer. Are there other things that you’re bringing to the collections? Are you doing any repairs?

CF: I do a lot of repairs.

KVM: And is that something new that you’ve brought?

CF: I think so...No, that’s not true. I run into a lot of prints that have been repaired. I would say that 50-60 percent of them are strong work, and some of them I have to redo. And some of it is just so far gone that, you know, I’m thinking of situations where somebody strung out a bunch of [perforation] tape across 200 feet of film, to fix a stretch of broken [perforations]. That’s not going
to do it really....I mean the Perf-Fix tape is good for some things, but when the film is shrunken and the holes aren’t lining up anymore, it’s just too far gone.
It’s just there’s a certain point where the expertise falls off. [And] this is typically a position held by a graduate student where that expertise isn’t going to be there.

KVM: Right.

CF: And that’s where you see some of these problems.

KVM: Do you think you’ve explained all of your primary job duties?

CF: Yeah, projection, repair, faculty reservations—that’s pretty much it. Although I’m doing one fun project now, which is preservation oriented. We were contacted through the museum side of the Art Institute, and one of our FVNMA faculty was contacted by the Tate [Modern] in London, who is
preserving Robert Morris’s film Neoclassic. Apparently it’s a pretty rare film. We have a print in our collection and they want to access it to compare prints in order to do the preservation work. So we’re working with them to make that happen.

KVM: That’s fun.

CF: Yeah, so I get to do a little preservation work there.

KVM: Are there other secondary duties or projects and things that come up, so far?

CF: That’s the only one so far.

KVM: Do you think you will or do you already play any other roles in the library? Are you interacting a lot with the other departments, or sitting on committees?

CF: No...I interact a lot with the [FVNMA] faculty. I’m friends with a lot of those people and a lot of them know what I do, so I’m trying to work with them to get a better understanding of what’s really necessary for the collection or what their feeling is about using the collection. Some of them are just turned off of it because it’s so beat up, they don’t want to use it. Because a lot
of times, they would just get broken prints or prints that would break in the projector and it disrupts their class and teaching—and so it would really deter people from using the collection. I mean, I don’t think I’m making a huge difference, but it’s nice to have that open channel of communication
—where people feel like they can talk to somebody who understands film.
KVM: Are you acquiring new film prints?

CF: New film prints have been acquired in recent years, [but] I don’t know to what extent. A few years ago, they got a new of Michael Snow’s Wavelength and a new print of his La Région Centrale, which is an enormously long film and a very expensive print.

KVM: Wow.

CF: And I asked about that...there are pooled resources that made that possible, so it wasn’t just something coming out of the library budget. It was sort of a special occasion that made that happen. But I asked them about replacements because our prints of some of Robert Nelson’s films are dead and those obviously are not on DVD—those are very hard to come by. And, Nelson is still alive, and Mark Toscano has worked with him to get his work preserved, so I am trying to make the case that we should buy prints of Nelson’s work...at least the titles that already exist in our catalogue.

KVM: Are those in high demand by the faculty?

CF: Yeah, actually Bleu Shut is a film that the faculty really like to show.

KVM: It’s great that they value the faculty and the library values the actual film material. I’m sure many libraries at this point do not acquire, lend, or project film anymore. For an art school, I think it’s probably a different case than in other contexts, but it seems like they do [value it].

CF: I’ve been told by Claire and Henrietta that the faculty are now becoming more accepting of DVD, and in some cases it’s because of the convenience: they can fast forward and show different clips here and there. But up until this point, the faculty was very particular about showing film on film. And I think there’s some faculty who still feel that way. And certainly the projection facilities are kept up in a way that supports that.

KVM: Does the school or the library collect the productions of the
students or the faculty?

CF: Some films made by students and/or faculty have been bought by the library and are kept in our collection. I’m not sure what the criteria are for that.

KVM: But, other than purchasing them outright, they don’t, say, [take student] theses for the collection.
CF: Like, as a regular collecting program—?

KVM: Yeah, right.

CF: Not to my knowledge. It doesn’t mean they don’t do it; I just don’t know about that. I haven’t seen any evidence of that.

KVM: If they do something like that, it could be in the department or who knows...? I’d be curious to know if there’s some gem student work from someone who’s now a filmmaker.

CF: Well, David Gatten’s work is in the collection.

KVM: Usually I would ask about how you think positions for moving image archivists come to be created in libraries. But since you are not really in a moving image archivist position, but have done a lot of looking for those type of positions....As you said, that there are collections out there and they are in libraries. What do you think are the impediments to creating or....?

CF: I’d like to know how to get those jobs, too. [Laughter.]

KVM: Are there jobs for this? I mean, there’s probably not jobs, but I wonder....Why not?

CF: Oh, wow—that’s really the million-dollar question. I think there’s a few reasons. From what I’ve seen as a contractor coming into contact with collections at university libraries, special collections, even the public libraries—and I would say my contact is either limited or brief, so I don’t want to sound like this is very in depth; it’s sort of a mile wide and an inch deep—my impression is that overall, many places have audiovisual materials, they know they have audiovisual materials, they don’t necessarily know beyond that what they have. So one reason I think is a lack of knowledge about what they have, which could lead to lack of action to doing anything about it. In some cases, I
think people kind of know what they have: they know what audiovisual materials are important, that they contain legitimate and important histories, but they don’t know what to do with [them]. In the best of all possible worlds, they’d like to do something with [them], but they just don’t have the
resources to invest in [them]. Or, they don’t know where to find those resources. I’ve had a couple of instances where I’ve talked to people and introduced myself as a moving image archivist, and they say, “Oh, you do that? Well we have this collection of films, we don’t know what to do with it, would
you come in to look at it?” And then, when you’re lucky enough to get an invitation like that, and you start talking to people about what’s involved, what their choices are to create access or to preserve [the collection], I think more often than not people get scared. Because, again, they start racking up the dollar signs, they hear the bell ringing at the cash register and [the demand for]
resources that they don’t have. And when we’re talking about a time when people are just trying to stick to their bare bones and their mission with a skeleton crew, that’s not going to be a high priority for them, unless somebody makes it a high priority for them.

KVM: Who would that somebody have to be? I mean, can you think of examples where you’ve seen it happen? At a university library, would it be faculty, or a dean, or any of these—?

CF: Maybe not in and of themselves, but I’m thinking of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium in Chicago, which is a consortial research project working with the major repositories in and around Chicago: museums, newspapers, public libraries, university libraries. And the members of this
consortium are working with the BMRC to identify and digitize materials related to African American history. So the BMRC has sort of driven a process where the repositories are asked to identify their African American content, and BMC says we’re going to help you digitize it. So there’s a driving force there that’s making people pay more attention to what they have and start addressing digitizing—not just of manuscript types of material, but audiovisual materials as well. And that’s really started a discussion unlike anything else that I’ve seen in Chicago recently.

KVM: Oh, okay. As for the status of moving image preservation specialists in libraries, do you think that there needs to be something changed in terms of the training? Or does awareness need to be changed on the part of librarians—that there are trained people? What do you feel about the status of moving
image specialists and their role in libraries?

CF: I think they’re definitely needed in libraries. I don’t know any in libraries. [Laughter.] I couldn’t name somebody.

KVM: In Chicago, you can’t think of anyone who’s working?

CF: Apologies to anyone I’m overlooking, but, yeah....

KVM: It’s okay, you’re pointing out an important aspect of this.
CF: Yeah, and I know there are collections in libraries or archives that need work. [Since starting] the master’s in library science, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a moving image archivist moving towards this library world. Before starting out, I thought maybe there’s a need to build some bridges between the archive world and the library world. I didn’t really know what that meant, and I’m still figuring out what that means. But, having gone through the first year of the program, now I’m finding out there are some definitely bridges to build. People don’t even know what moving image archivists are. And they don’t really know why we’re important or they don’t
know why they should invest in us. Those are major obstacles that need to be dealt with. So it’s an education process, and I think it’s also a networking process—just going to people, talking to people about what the profession is.

KVM: Yeah. Do you think that, say, the Association of Moving Image Archivists community could build bridges with something bigger like the American Library Association? Or, do you think that there needs to be a collaboration on that association? Or, is it more of an individual just working in your community?

CF: I’m kind of more interested in the grassroots approach where people are working together to change the landscape a little bit. And I don’t think it’s really an either/or proposition and both elements really have to be there. I wouldn’t want to rely on one or the other necessarily. But all that needs to be there. There needs to be publishing on this....[To Kara] Thank you! [Laughter.] There’s a lot of ways to approach it, I think; there’s a lot of work that can be done.

KVM: Bottom-up and top-down.

CF: Yeah, exactly.

KVM: We, here....This is obviously a program that trains moving image specialists specifically. It’s a rigorous program and they come out and have this very niche type of degree and there aren’t many out there actually. So opening up jobs in libraries to the graduates of the program is sort of interesting. And a lot of the people who come out of this program and who go into it still debate,
should I get a library science degree—? Should I have gotten one instead? Should I have both? And will that open up more doors, even though the training I really need I got at this program? What’s a library science degree going to do for me? What do you think? What would you say to the students?
I mean obviously you are getting one, so...there’s advantages, there must be. Maybe we’ll wait until you graduate.
CF: I would say, gosh I hope it works.

KVM: Yeah. [Laughter.]

CF: Well, like I said before, it was the number one requirement I saw that I didn’t have. And it was acting like a filter on job applications, I knew it. Not that there were a ton of jobs to apply for, but even the ones I did, where I clearly had skills—even if they weren’t directly related to the job—
where I was clearly able to do whatever they were asking....And I’m capable of learning new things. That just didn’t translate at all. If you didn’t have the master’s, you know, they had enough applicants that they could just filter you out.

KVM: Did you apply to jobs where you felt you had all the relevant skills, just not the master’s?

CF: Yes.

KVM: And did you ever talk to anyone? Did you ever get interviewed and get to speak to someone about that?

CF: No

KVM: They just wouldn’t even call you—?

CF: No. Not the time of day.

KVM: Well, I guess if...you didn’t have a master’s at all?

CF: No master’s at all.

KVM: Okay, so....

CF: If I had a master’s in history....

KVM: You might be able to get a foot in the door.

CF: Right.

KVM: But I wonder if the [descriptions] that ask for a master’s in library science....Will they even look at an applicant with a master’s in AV archiving if that’s what they’re hiring for? And I think that’s changing. I think a few years ago, the requirement was for an MLIS. Now you might see something
like “or equivalent,” especially if it’s something where media specialists are trained. But it’s interesting though...you know, a library would never hire somebody to work with a manuscript collection that did not have very specialized training in manuscripts; but, they would probably hire
somebody to work with an AV collection that did not have specialized training in AV, because they have that library science thing.

CF: That’s the rule, that’s not the exception. But maybe the only reason some
collections survived is because somebody just got stuck in that job who didn’t know much but stepped up. There’s still a lot to be said for that.

KVM: The right kind of person, they’re going to make a huge difference. And that’s how this profession came about; there was no master’s in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation. People learned on the job and those people are now the people who teach in these types of programs, and we learn from, and we love them all. [Laughter.] But as the profession grows, and new types of degree granting institutions come up, it’s changing and I wonder how that’s going to change the face of the field. But the field is so small, still.

CF: It is.

KVM: So, the awareness factor is a big one for you.

CF: Yeah, definitely. You were asking before, what would I say to people who are getting their degrees now?

KVM: Yeah, what would you say to the students of a program like the MIAP program?

CF: Oh, yeah, if they’re thinking about getting a library science degree? Gosh, I have no idea if it will help them. [Laughter.] Honestly.

KVM: Come back and ask you in a few years. [Laughter.]

CF: Yeah, maybe. If I knew that….

KVM: Yeah.

CF: I mean, one of the reasons it took me so long to go back and get this degree is that I think too much importance is placed on this idea of having a degree. You know, it’s about identifying the collection, going in and doing the work and volunteering for a while and making a case for why that’s stuff is important and why you should be the one to take care of it. I think there’s an element of that that can’t be understated and needs to be part of whatever you’re doing. Don’t worry too much about whether you have this degree or that degree, just go out there and find the collections that need you and make the case. That might be more useful for you in the long-run.

KVM: If you’re passionate about this type of work, then that’s good advice. Well, is there anything else that you want to add? I don’t think I have any more questions.

CF: No.

KVM: Thanks so much for coming.

CF: Thank you.

Comments (1)


Carolyn's difficulty finding work in a library without an MLIS is not only common, it's the norm. Yet, at the same time, there are some libraries—the University of Virginia for instance—where an MLIS is not mandatory for employment eligibility. Is UVa. still relatively anomalous or is the number of like-minded institutions growing?

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