Posted Friday, August 31, 2012

SILS Partners with NY Cultural Institutions to Prepare Information Professionals for Museum Careers

Beginning in fall 2012, Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science (SILS) will expand on its successful collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum supported by previous grants from the Institute for Museum and Library Service (IMLS). This new project, known as M-LEAD-TWO, will offer Pratt SILS students tuition scholarships and two-semester internships at the Brooklyn Museum, the Frick Art Reference Library, and the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) with the goal of preparing information professionals for careers in museum libraries and archives in the digital age.
 
The three-year project, M-LEAD-TWO (Museum Library Education and Digitization-Technology, Web, Online), offers five SILS interns per year tuition scholarships and the opportunity to work with research materials from the Brooklyn Museum, the Frick Art Reference Library, and the MoMA Library and to make these materials more accessible via Arcade, the libraries' shared online catalog. Internships at these institutions give students hands-on experience at world-class art institutions with extensive libraries, archives, and digital resources. Interns will be mentored by professional staff at these institutions as well as by a project coordinator/resident who is a recent graduate of Pratt-SILS. The students will graduate from SILS with their master's degree and an advanced certificate in museum libraries and will receive stipends for their participation. The project is funded by a $261,967 grant from IMLS through the 2012 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.
 
 "We are gratified to be able to extend the M-LEAD project to the Frick Art Reference Library and NYARC and continue our work with the Brooklyn Museum to offer important educational opportunities to Pratt-SILS students," said Tula Giannini, Dean of Pratt-SILS and project director.  "With a two-semester internship program and a focus on collections accessibility, the new project furthers our efforts to prepare students for careers as museum librarians and archivists and also advances a new model for museum library education for the 21st century, incorporating digital collections and services across the museum so that graduates are prepared to meet the challenges of museums in our global networked information environment."
 
The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program has supported the development of cutting-edge programs at Pratt-SILS since 2005, when Pratt received a three-year IMLS grant for $591,206 with the Brooklyn Historical Society for archival education. Building upon this initiative, in 2008, SILS received IMLS funding to advance its efforts in cultural informatics and to situate our work in the emerging digital landscape. This resulted in a grant for $946,324 with the Brooklyn Museum under the rubric M-LEAD (Museum Library Education and Digitization) and which was tied to the introduction of the SILS museum libraries certificate (the only such program in the United States).  In 2010, SILS was awarded a three-year grant for $971,404 for Project CHART (Cultural Heritage Access, Research and Technology). It introduced a newly designed program for the digital management of cultural heritage and engaged SILS students in digitizing historic images of Brooklyn across Brooklyn's three leading cultural institutions-the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives, and the Brooklyn Public Library-and producing a project website hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library at http://brooklynvisualheritage.org. In June 2012, SILS received a three-year (2011-2014) Scholarship Continuation grant from the IMLS for M-LEAD-TWO owing in large part to the success of the first M-LEAD program, through which student participants graduated from Pratt with their MSLIS and museum libraries certificate and are now employed as information professionals.
 
MEDIA CONTACT:
Amy Aronoff at 718.636.3554 or aarono29@pratt.edu