Careers in Music Librarianship III: Reality and Reinvention.
For music librarians who entered the profession in the early 2000s, Careers in Music Librarianship II: Traditions and Transitions, edited by Paula Elliot and Linda Blair (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2004) (hereafter CML II), was a useful compilation of career advice, both for the novice music librarian and the veteran professional ready to take the next step. It was also, but less prominently, a reflection on the status quo of music librarianship at the time. Its predecessor, Careers in Music Librarianship: Perspectives from the Field, compiled by Carol Tatian (Canton, MA: Music Library Association. 1990) (hereafter CML I), was not primarily a career manual, but rather a collection of considerations of the circumstances of the profession at the end of the 1980s. This collection, an outgrowth of a session at the 1988 Music Library Association (MLA) meeting entitled, "Dead Ends and Open Doors: The State of Music Librarianship," comprised six chapters, of which three were essays and three were analytical studies. The chapters that were most similar to career manual material, by Laura Dankner ("Job Trends, 1974-1989") and Richard Smiraglia ("Careers in Music Technical Services"), were not addressed primarily to those who might be looking for a job, but rather to the membership of the Music Library Association in general. The present volume, Careers in Music Librarianship III: Reality and Reinvention (hereafter CML III), has come a long way from the roots of the series. While it could be interpreted as a statement on the current condition of the profession, it is primarily a compendium of advice for those who wish to advance their music librarianship careers at the beginning and middle stages. CML III contains eleven chapters, including a bibliography. The first ten chapters are all essays, with the exception of Lindy Smith's chapter, "How to Make Friends, Influence People, and Maybe Even Get a Job in a Music Library," which combines an essay with discussion of a survey study.
These three volumes have become a series within the MLA Technical Reports series and a tradition within the Music Library Association's publication output. They have also given impetus to a body of criticism, with which the present review engages and which it continues. Such critical reviews complement the CML series nicely because they highlight what the CML volumes leave out. The first installment came from Alan Green, who reviewed CML I for Notes in 1992 (Notes 49, no. 2 [December 1992]: 637-38). Green criticized the original three analytical studies for their statistical methods, citing small sample size and "insufficient statistical control." Green's review was followed more than a decade later by three reviews of CML II. These were by Gary W. Markham (Music Reference Services Quarterly 9, no. 3 : 15-17), Cheryl Martin (CAML Review/Revue de TACBM 34, no. 1 [April 2006]: 38-39), and Nathan B. Putnam (Fontes Artis Musicae 54, no. 1 [January-March 2007]: 141-42). Markham praised CML II highly, though he expressed his desire for longer biographical sketches of the contributors, highlighting their professional development. Martin, on the other hand, criticized CML II for omitting discussion of presentations and behavioral questions in job interviews, as well as discussion of music librarians in placements outside of academic or public libraries, collection development in difficult budget times, and faculty status. Putnam criticized CML II for lacking more substantive discussion of technological issues and advances, as well as lacking the voice of someone new to the field.
In several ways, CML III rises to the occasion of addressing some of the topics that CML II was criticized for overlooking. First, Susannah Cleveland's essay, "Success Is a Science: Tips for Applying and Interviewing for Music Library Jobs," discusses presentations in job interviews, with advice on how to present effectively (p. 105). Second, Amy Pawlowski's chapter, "Career Flexibility: Moving between Position and Institution Types," discusses work in positions outside academic and public libraries, as well as in nonmusic positions in academic and public libraries (pp. 139-52). Misti Shaw also mentions positions in radio libraries and ensemble libraries in her chapter, "Music Library Environments and Position Types," (p. 1). Third, Shaw discusses collection development, budgetary challenges, and planning in her chapter (pp. 11-13). Fourth, Jennifer Ottervik discusses faculty status and its various aspects and implications for music librarians in "Faculty Status and the Music Librarian," (pp. 111-38). And last, Lindy Smith represents the voice of the recent graduate and aspiring music librarian in "How to Make Friends, Influence People, and Maybe Even Get a Job in a Music Library: Perspectives from Recent Graduates and New Professionals" (pp. 49-71). Smith's chapter is a survey study, and in addition to her own experience, she presents case studies of the experiences of others who are new to librarianship.
CML III does not address behavioral-based interview questions, nor does it have an extensive section on technology. However, in "Staying Current: Keeping Skills and Knowledge Relevant in a Dynamic Professional Landscape," Holling Smith-Borne and Mark A. Puente address the importance of keeping up with technological advances and offer many suggestions for updating professional currency in this and other areas (pp. 163-80). Their list of recommended journals provides readers with a suitable bibliography of professional development resources beyond the confines of music librarianship. Though several of the chapters of CML III refer to Susannah Cleveland's and Mark Puente's "Survey of Music-Library Personnel Characteristics, 2009," (Notes 67, no. 4 [June 2011]: 686-715), or David Lesniaski's "A Profile of the Music Library Association Membership," (Notes 56, no. 4 [June 2000]: 894-906), none of the chapters are themselves inferential studies with large samples and tight statistical controls. This reviewer echoes Alan Green's call for an inferential study of recent library school graduates who aspire to be music librarians. We potentially have much to learn by examining recent graduates' courses of study, placement rates, and position types. After such a study, we might be able to make better recommendations for the content of graduate music librarianship programs and which graduate programs prospective music librarians would do well to attend.
As a compilation of well-written career advice reflecting experiences gained through professional practice as well as the constantly changing nature of music librarianship today, CML III excels. Susannah Cleveland's preface, in particular, paints a very hopeful picture of the profession, with an important caveat: "Success lies in the ability to reinvent--oneself, one's career path, one's goals--when necessary, and our contributors have outlined many of the ways this is possible" (p. ix). The layout of the volume is attractive, and the editorial introductions placed immediately before each chapter are helpful for those who are not sure which chapter to read next. Readers will notice that Misti Shaw, Joe C. Clark, Amy Pawlowski, and Ned Quist all include stories of other librarians, in addition to their own perspectives, in their respective chapters. This reviewer appreciates the breadth of possibilities that this approach elucidates. Prospective librarianship students have much to gain by reading John Wagstaff's chapter, "Training and Education in Music Librarianship," (pp. 21-48), which is both encouraging and realistic. Ruthann Boles McTyre, a former president of the Music Library Association, wrote an engaging and wide-ranging essay on "Professional Associations and Societies for Music Librarians," (pp. 181-92). In addition to discussing the major professional organizations music librarians tend to join, she also discusses relevant nonlibrary music organizations and nonmusic library organizations. Since many music librarians work in academic libraries, in addition to the music organizations McTyre discusses, College Music Society may be a viable option for some, as well as various performance or discipline-based organizations. Most helpfully for those new to the profession, McTyre's chapter concludes with advice for how one might get involved in MLA or some other organization (pp. 190-92). Rounding out the volume, Lisa Shiota's bibliography, "Selected Resources," is a classified, annotated list of relevant resources for those wishing to know more about the field (pp. 193-203).
Cleveland's chapter, "Success is a Science: Tips for Applying and Interviewing for Music Library Jobs," stands out as one of the most practical and potentially helpful for those new to the profession. Her advice is sound, and she addresses those who may participate in daylong academic-style interviews, guidance not typically found in general career manuals.
CML III would make an excellent collection of readings for graduate students in music librarianship, and it also belongs on the shelves of any library serving music undergraduates. It should generate much thought and discussion among those of us in the profession about career paths and skill development.
MICHAEL J. DUFFY IV
Western Michigan University