Last month, I came across an interesting post on the Getty’s blog by iSchool alumna Tia Woodruff. She is the Manager of Acquisitions at the Research Library there, and she “supervise[s] six dedicated colleagues responsible for acquiring library materials to expand this advanced research library collection in all formats and languages, and to serve the needs of our readers, scholars, and staff.”
Woodruff also manages the acquisitions budget and establishes relationships with vendors all over the world. She and her team acquire and process about 2,000 items each month for the Research Library, as well as “materials for the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Villa, and the smaller Getty hand libraries, such as those in the Museum and the Department of Photographs.”
Woodruff points out that when people think “library” they don’t think “acquisitions,” but it’s a pretty major department in most libraries (no acquisitions team = no collection). Besides choosing and purchasing materials, acquisitions folks are also usually the people responsible for getting them to the shelf, either immediately after processing or via catalogers who create a record and apply barcodes, RFID chips, spine labels, etc.
Besides getting to buy All The Books, acquisitions might appeal to you because it’s one of the behind-the-scenes departments at libraries. If you’re someone who wants to work in a library but isn’t so interested in working with patrons every day, it could be a good fit. Consider taking INFO 241: Automated Library Systems or INFO 256: Archives and Manuscripts to learn more. Catalogers also tend to work out of the public eye, and the iSchool has several classes that teach those specialized skills as well: INFO 248 might be a good place to start.
Not sure if acquisitions is the way you want to go? You already know the answer: take advantage of the vibrant alumni network we have and conduct some informational interviews. You could also look for an internship to get your feet wet and figure out if you like it.
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