I know a lot of you readers are new librarians or current students. And we all know it’s a tough market for emerging information professionals. That’s why I’m really happy to be able to share this interview with Allen Townsend of Yale University. In this interview, Mr. Townsend describes the basics of the Kress Fellowship, as well as why Haas Family Arts Library is a great place to learn about art librarianship in all its facets and how this fellowship can help a new librarian begin a successful career.
Can you give us a brief introduction to the Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship?
During their eight-month tenure based in the Arts Library, the Kress Fellows have the opportunity to learn the profession of art librarianship and in doing so, to complete projects of their interests ranging from innovations in Library support for teaching art history, architectural archive management, digitization and delivery of art image resources, and the history of illustration and the book arts. The Fellows may draw upon the resources of the Yale University Library and the University’s two great art museums: the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. The combination of these resources provides for a multi-faceted professional development program of unparalleled depth and breadth.
Why was this program started? or Why does The Samuel H. Kress Foundation continue to fund this program? What makes it important to your organization?
The idea for the Fellowship was conceived by the former Director of the Arts Library at Yale, Max Marmor. The Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship was initially funded, and continues to be funded by the Foundation because of its ongoing interests in advancing and sustaining the highest standards of scholarly activity in the field of art history. The Fellowship has been, and continues to be important to Yale because it supports the University’s mission, that of creating knowledge through research.
What are the main job duties of residents – do they differ from those of “regular” librarians?
The Fellowship is shared among various units of the Haas Family Arts Library, and rotates through the Arts Library’s departments e.g public services, special collections, and visual resources. The job duties vary based on the Fellow’s departmental assignment. The job duties are always professional level and mirror those of librarians.
Are residents paid? Do they get any other special benefits?
Fellows are paid through Kress grant funds. Yale pays health benefits and provides a stipend for professional travel.
What would you tell a potential applicants in order to convince them to apply for the program?
The Kress Fellowship in Art Librarianship at Yale was the first of its kind in the United States and has been the gold standard among professional development programs for art librarians since its inception in 1997. It is the most prestigious fellowship of its kind in the field of art and allied librarianship and is widely respected within the library profession at large. The ten individuals who have held the Fellowship to date have gone on to diverse and important careers in academic art and museum librarianship, visual arts resources administration, special collections and archive curatorship, and art information consultancy.
What are the eligibility requirements?
Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program for library and information science. Excellent analytical, organizational, customer service, and interpersonal skills. Ability to effectively build partnerships and promote the benefits of change in an academic culture that often values ambiguity, diversity of opinion, and historic precedent. Ability to communicate effectively through both oral and written expression. Ability to work both independently and collegially in a demanding and rapidly changing environment.
1. Advanced degree and/or relevant experience in history of art, architecture, or related arts disciplines.
2. Reading knowledge of two or more Western European languages.
3. Experience with web design and development and electronic information resources.
4. Experience with HTML and XML.
What does the selection process entail? How does it differ from the regular job application process?
The selection process is not unlike the selection process for a librarian position, and does not differ greatly from a job application process.
Any tips for students? Is there anything they could do to improve their chances of winning a spot in your program?
In addition to the required academic credentials, actual work experience in any type of library is helpful.
When will the next residents be picked?
The next call for Fellowship applications and nominations will be posted in spring of 2014.