With practicum experience, New York’s great libraries, archives and museums are workshops for learning, their distinguished librarians and curators are your supervisors and mentors who guide your work.
Left: Christine de Pisan - leading medieval poet (1364-1430) considered the first female writer who made her living from writing
As a Pratt-SILS student in the MSLIS program attending school in the heart of a world cultural and information capital, consider taking full advantage of New York's dazzling array of work opportunities as a student in LIS 698 Practicum course -Quelle chance!
LIS 698-Practicum / Seminar is a 3-credit course in which students learn from: 100 hours of on-site work experience supervised by information professionals in settings that reflects their interests, 4 seminar sessions, and a project based on site experience research and observation.
also: Sample Practicum Project
Below: Christine de Pisan, Le Trésor de la cité des dames (1497 - Bibliothèque Nationale)
Please download, fill-out, and email or hand deliver the Practicum Application to the SILS office.
Practicum Projects - Student Work
Students carry-out practicum projects based on their site work that include reserach and analysis. Project topics are developed by students over the course of the practicum that reflect issues that they have identified. Below are a few projects form summer & fall 2010.
ACLU – Erin Murphy
Condé-Nast - Vogue - Hadass Blank
Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, NYU - Roxanne Shirazi
Cataloging at the Brooklyn Museum – Erin Matson
Columbia University – Butler Library Reference Services – Jeffrey Griggs
Digital Labs at the Brooklyn Museum - Glenda S. Barahona,
Oral History Research Office at Columbia University - Gina D. Scalise
Fales LIbrary - Special Collections - jRosemary K. J. Davis
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I am interested in taking LIS 698-Practicum Seminar. What are the special features of this course?
A. The practicum is a 3-credit course for which the main learning component is a supervised professional work experience and project. The student works in a setting that reflects his/her interests as an information professional. The course requires a total of 125 credit hours consisting of about 100 credit hours working on-site, four 2 1/2 hour seminar sessions, and one major assignment in the form of a culminating practicum project related to the student's work experience and incorporates observation, critical thinking, evaluation, and research.
Q. What makes a practicum different from regular work experience.
A. The practicum is defined as a learning experience incorporating mentoring and professional supervision in which work is viewed from critical and evaluative perspectives, in contrast to the notion of routine or regular work.
Q. What are the special benefits of doing a practicum.
A. In doing a practicum, you will be able to -
- Apply what you have learned in the classroom to a real work environment.
- Understand and demonstrate the relationship between theory and practice.
- Gain experience that acts a bridge to professional work and employment opportunities after graduation.
- Facilitate networking and build professional relationships.
- Receive mentoring by the practicum supervisor.
- Enhance and improve your skills, knowledge and abilities.
- Tell potential employers that you have professional work experience.
Q. Is a practicum right for me?
A. Students who begin their program without having work experience in the information professions or who want to gain more in depth experience in a specific area of librarianship related to their career goals, should carefully consider this option. Students will also find that the practicum offers good networking opportunities that often lead to employment.
Q. When can I do a practicum?
A. Students should complete a minimum of one semester in the MSLIS program before registering for a practicum. In addition, students will need to have taken at least one course related to their area of practicum work. For example, LIS 653 serves as a prerequisite to a cataloging practicum; LIS 625-Management of Archives & Special Collections serves as a prerequisite to an archives practicum.
Q. How do I plan for the practicum?
A. You should start planning no later than the beginning of the semester preceding the one in which you would like to do the practicum. Consider the type of information environment that would best serve your education and career goals. Some practicum sites to consider are: academic or research libraries, art libraries, museum libraries, historical societies, archives and special libraries (for example, business, health and law libraries)
Q. How can I find a practicum placement?
A. Once you have identified the type of setting in which you would like to work, make a list of places in order of priority. It is recommended that you keep an eye out for internship postings on the SILS-listserve as well. Next, fill out a practicum application and submit it to the SILS office. The SILS office can help you determine whether or not a particular placement will suite the requirements of the course. You will need to contact the potential internship institution directly. You will need to interview with the site supervisor. Approval of the practicum site location and the work assignment is made by the site supervisor.
Q. What should I expect from the practicum experience?
A. If you are interested, motivated and take advantage of the learning opportunities, you will gain an invaluable work experience. You will need to establish good communication with your supervisor/mentor and co-workers who can provide feedback on your work performance.