Thank you IMLS - Now in our third and final year of M-LEAD, by June 2011, 30 Pratt-SILS students will have completed this great program in partnership with Brooklyn Museum, and graduated with their M.S.LIS and Museum Libraries Certificate!   

Pratt-SILS, in partnership with the Brooklyn Museum was awarded a 3-year IMLS grant of $946,325, to support internships for 30 students for careers in Museum Libraries and Archives in the Digital Age. 



Grant Focus

This IMLS grant under the rubric, M-LEAD (Museum Library Education and Digitization) prepares information professionals for careers in museum and research libraries; students are supported to complete Pratt's Museum Libraries Certificate program and an internship program at the Brooklyn Museum.

Internships at the Brooklyn Museum focus on work in the Museum Library, Archives and in the Digital Lab. Projects include creation of bibliographic records for Library collections; inventorying and processing Archives; scanning images and creating metadata in the Digital Lab; assisting with the Museum's Library Outreach Initiative; assisting with research projects such as copyright law, picture research and identification. Interns have access to the research collections held in the Museum Libraries and Archives and are introduced to the programs of the Brooklyn Museum. These programs include staff tours of new exhibitions and installations and behind the scenes tours of several departments within the Museum.

The internship course (LIS 698 Practicum Seminar) requires 120 hours of on-site work, four seminar sessions, and a project based on students' internship work. The program is designed to foster Brooklyn Museum goals for increased access to its collections through cataloging and online access and to prepare interns to enter the fields of museum libraries and archives and become leaders in the profession.

Student Research: The practicum project requires that students carry-out research and collect data enabling them to produce a significant research project which expresses a topic of their choice related to their work experience. At the completion of the practicum course students present their projects to the class.

Read about M-LEAD graduates from presentations at the Brooklyn Museum -

Program Elements

Student Participation, Eligibility and Application

Project M-LEAD supports 10 students per year (5 fall and 5 spring). To be eligible to apply to M-LEAD, a student must be matriculated at Pratt-SILS and have a minimum of 12 credits remaining in their MSLIS at the point of beginning the program.

Scholarship funds: Students participating in M-LEAD receive tuition funds to cover the four courses of the Museum Libraries Certificate and receive a stipend for their internship work. This amounts to $13,050 of scholarship support per student.

Museum Libraries Certificate: M-LEAD students are required to complete Pratt's Museum Library Certificate Program within their MSLIS. This 12-credit (four 3-credit courses) is designed so that students gain in-depth knowledge and skills in four key areas of the museum library field: curatorial/ research; digital technology; education and outreach and field experience. For detailed information refer to the program's Web site: Museum Libraries Certificate.

Mentoring: Project M-LEAD funds a full time Education and Assessment Coordinator at the Brooklyn Museum who works closely with students to meet their individual needs.

Program description and goals

Pratt-SILS in partnership with the Brooklyn Museum (BM) in the category of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, Priority 1, Master's Level Programs, proposes Project M-LEAD for preparing information professionals for museum librarianship in the digital age. To meet this challenge are:

• Recruit a highly diverse and talented group of 30 students to address the under-representation of minorities in museum librarianship and award tuition scholarships to complete Pratt's 12-credit Museum Library Certificate to support diversity recruitment and capacity in the field.

• Students graduate from Pratt-SILS with an MSLIS and Museum Libraries Certificate, the only such program in the US and Canada.

• Students take cutting-edge courses at Pratt taught by leading professionals in the museum and library field.

• Through research and as part of Pratt's cultural informatics program, a new model curriculum for museum librarianship in the digital age is developed and a "White Paper" is published to disseminate research results and recommendations.

• Brooklyn Museum digital projects and collection goals for increased access to collections and services and heightened public awareness are advanced by project internships and activities.

• Students pursue careers in museum librarianship and become leaders in the profession.

• Foster Brooklyn Museum goal for increased access to its collections through cataloguing and online access.

Diversity: We are committed to recruiting a diverse group of students prepared to broaden and enrich the perspectives of the museum and research library profession.

Global Contexts for Learning: M-LEAD students may fulfill part their course requirements for the Museum Library Certificate by participating in Pratt-SILS international summer programs: Florence, focusing on museum and library research in Florentine art and culture, and the London Summer School and Bloomsbury Conference in partnership with University College London, Information School.

Cultural Informatics Landscape: Pratt's museum library program and the M-LEAD project are positioned in the field of cultural informatics defined at the intersection of culture, digital technology and information science. This approach speaks to the landscape of cultural institutions today - a world at the convergence and parallel universes of the virtual and physical reality. Through project M-LEAD, students gain a high-level of proficiency using digital tools creativity and to express both museum collections and services.

Conferences: Each student participating in M-LEAD is funded ($2,000) to attend one conference related to museum libraries.

Seminars: Students are required to participate in three seminars to be held in April for each of the three years of the grant. Seminars address important issues and feature speakers who are recognized leaders in the museum field.

White-Paper on Museum Library Education: Based on research over the course of this 3-year grant, drawing upon data collected from focus groups and surveys, as well as the experience and perspectives gained from students and faculty, we are producing a "White Paper" for an educational model for museum librarians and archivists addressing the challenges of the digital age.

Major activities

i. BM Internships and Projects: 30 MSLIS students over 3 years at the Brooklyn Museum participate in internships of 120 hours supervised by museum professionals working on projects in digital imaging, cataloging of Library collections, processing archival records and gaining experience in a Museum setting.

ii. Museum Libraries Certificate:Registered with NY State in 2006, it presents a new model for museum library education consisting of four 3-credit courses including the internship and focusing on learning digital tools for archives and libraries including Web 2.0, Web design, metadata, description and access. Using Pratt's Cultural Informatics Studio Lab and Digital Archives Lab, students do usability testing and digital projects. Students take one course in museum and library education and outreach.

iii. Education and Assessment Coordinator (EAC): The Brooklyn Museum has engaged a museum professional to work with and mentor interns, plan museum activities and serve as a supervisor dedicated to student learning. The EAC gives workshops for all interns on digital applications such as EAD inventories.

iv. Recruitment and Diversity:Pratt's diversity recruitment is accomplished by monthly open houses and orientations, Websites, listservs and presentations at library and information science conferences.

v. Students attend Professional Conferences:Each intern attends a major conference related to museum libraries or archives, such as ALA, SAA, Art Libraries Society of North America, or WebWise.

vi. Leadership Symposium: Each year Pratt-SILS hosts a symposium on leadership in museum librarianship in the digital age.

Anticipated results

Students complete their studies and graduate with an MSLIS and Museum libraries Certificate. Students gain the knowledge and skills to become 21st century museum librarians. Diversity and capacity is increased. A new model of museum librarianship is developed with results published in journals and presented at conferences.


Museum librarianship is broadly defined as beyond the walls of the library and designed to mirror best practices in LIS education for the 21st century while inscribing a path worthy of emulating by LIS schools pursuing museum library programs.




Tula Giannini, PhD, Bryn Mawr College; MLS, Rutgers University; MM, Manhattan School of Music. Dean and Associate Professor, Pratt-SILS, Project Director. e-mail:

Brooklyn Museum

Deirdre Lawrence, Principal Librarian at the Brooklyn Museum, MSLIS, Pratt Institute, BA, History of Art, Richmond College, Supervisor, Brooklyn Museum partnership. e-mail:


The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

The Brooklyn Museum

The libraries, archives and digital lab of the Brooklyn Museum is where Pratt M-LEAD students carry-out internships under the guidance of its professional staff. For more information see, please visit  The Brooklyn Museum is a member of the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), which also includes Frick, Metropolitan Museum, and MoMA. For more information on NYARC, please visit this page.

 From 2009 IMLS Report:

"The Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science in partnership with the Brooklyn Museum has created a three-year project to fund a diverse group of 30 students to receive a master's degree in library and information science with a certificate in museum librarianship in Project M-LEAD (Museum Library Education and Digitization). This new project seeks to educate and equip students with the skills needed for museum librarianship in the digital age through a combined degree program that is the first of its kind in the United States and Canada. Students are taught by both museum and library professionals in courses based on curatorial and research skills, digital technology, education and outreach,and field experience. Students also complete internships at the Brooklyn Museum,
focusing on projects in museum libraries, archives and in the museum's Digital Lab." (From the IMLS Publication, The Future of Museum and Libraries, A Discussion Guide. 2009)