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Going for an MLIS adjacent to current MA degrees?

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Hello, all! 

     I have been considering pursuing an MLIS degree for some time now, and I wanted to come and possibly pick the brains of those who have already applied/begun their programs (or finished, if they're still floating around here!) As you probably gathered from my handle, I'm in the Classics-side of graduate school at the moment but because I have been considering going into Classics libraries (yes, I know there are not a lot of these jobs! It's the same issue I have with my current fields, anyway), for which I would need an MLIS from an ALA-accredited program. I work full-time in a museum at the moment and assist the Curator of Manuscripts/Librarian in the Research Library from time to time, which is why my interest has grown to archives, rare books, and special collections. I know there are some people who have multiple degrees before they get their MLIS, but I wanted to check and see where everyone else stood before they applied/that it wouldn't count against me for already having two advanced degrees when I apply (don't want them thinking I'm a "degree-collector," I suppose?). I already have my Museum Studies MA from the University of Oklahoma (which I would have done an MLIS with a Museum Studies or Cultural Heritage concentration instead of had I known they existed before I applied) and I'm going to graduate with my MA in Classical Studies from Villanova University this May. I pretty much have my heart set on UIUC for the MLIS, but if anyone has any other programs that have Archives/Special Collections/Rare Books pathways that they would recommend, I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts! Thank you in advance.

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From my experience, I don't think it would count against you at all. A lot of libraries specifically want to hire librarians who have degrees (especially advanced degrees) in their field as well as LIS. I know a number of people in my program who already have at least one master's degree but are getting an MLIS to work in a specialized library.

Also, you might want to look at other schools than UIUC if you're interested in archives. I'm not an archives person, but the people I know who are doing archives at UIUC have expressed some frustration, particularly with the fact that there aren't really very many archives-specific classes offered. Again, I am not an archivist, so all of this is based on what I've heard or what friends have told me. However, I do know that UIUC is definitely more focused on libraries than archives in their LIS program. I'd encourage you to look at other options or at least reach out to current archives students (you can check out the Society of American Archivists chapter) to get their take on the program before making any sort of decision on that front.

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Thanks, @ravenclawace! That's good to know. The person I work with did her MLIS at San Jose, so I'll ask her about their offerings, too. I'll have to look for more programs that have a better archives selection. I really appreciate the feedback!

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