Tracks

Simmons offers several opportunities to focus your studies on a particular area through the following topical tracks:

Note: While all tracks are available to GSLIS West students not all courses may be available at GSLIS West or online. Depending on the track GSLIS West Students may need to take classes in Boston. See GSLIS West Academics for courses generally offered at GSLIS West.


Cultural Heritage

Since July 2009, when Simmons received a grant of over $450,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the 4Cs project ("Curriculum, Cooperation, Convergence, Capacity: Four C's for the Development of Cultural Heritage Institutions"), GSLIS has been offering classes in cultural heritage that incorporate museum informatics and data stewardship into the Archives and Preservation curriculum. Partner institutions have included American Textile History Museum, Concord Free Public Library, Connecticut Historical Society, Historic New England, Museum of African American History, Phillips Library Peabody Essex Museum, and Shelburne Museum.

Core Courses

  • LIS 448 - Digital Stewardship
  • LIS 531V - Concepts in Cultural Heritage Informatics
  • LIS 531X - Practicum for Cultural Heritage Informatics

Careers

Outreach and advocacy are essential to the ongoing success of archives and cultural heritage programs. Recognizing the importance of preserving heritage and records, graduates can demonstrate how to use publicity and marketing tools, as well as implement tactical strategies for identifying and forming collaborative partnerships. Evaluating and developing strategies to address the needs of diverse user populations is also a core competency that can be applied across a variety of fields. Graduates are also aware of the professional ethics and core values of advocacy and social responsibility in national and international settings.

The cultural heritage specialization supplements the activities and knowledge of archivists. Archivists collect, appraise, and preserve documents and materials found in manuscripts, moving images and photographs, oral-history recordings, multimedia, government records, and literary correspondence. They work in varied settings, such as public archives, colleges and universities, museums and cultural heritage sites, photographic and film collections, public libraries, foundations, government agencies, and corporations. New and improved jobs have been created in public and private organizations, where archivists establish and maintain proper repositories for larger and more diverse collections of records. Some of these positions have grown out of field placements from archives programs, like the one at Simmons College. Due to its strategic location in historic New England, Simmons offers students access to resources for study and research not found in other parts of the country.

  • Processing Archivist: Arrange archival materials in folders and boxes, and create finding aids that describe the contents of a collection.
  • Reference Archivist: Assist researchers in finding relevant materials.
  • Digital Assets Archivist: Manage the digital holdings of an archive, including digital photographs and computer files. Digitize important collections and maintain online access to these materials.
  • Preservationist: Specialize in protecting archival materials from the damage that can arise from weather, environmental conditions, natural disasters, and age.

Information Organization

Information Organization is at the heart of library and information science. It is the infrastructure that supports activities and services we provide to our users and helps people find resources to meet their information needs. Information organization, in its many forms, is central to the work of information professionals in libraries, archives, museums, and other information settings.

Information organization is library and information science's unique contribution to the world. Its roots can be traced back to ancient times, but information organization is always looking toward the future. While many of the basic tenets of information organization are universal, practices have been adapted by a myriad of different communities in order to meet the needs of widely varying users, changing information environments, and the diversity of resource types and formats emerging today.

Core Courses

Key Courses:

Recommended Electives:

Careers

With amount of information increasing at an unprecedented rate on the Internet, in print, and in electronic databases, there is an increased demand for skilled professionals who can access, organize, disseminate, and retrieve data. Categorizing information to make it accessible continues to be one of the great opportunities and challenges of the 21st century librarian. Possible career opportunities include:

  • Cataloger: Create description and access for library materials of all kinds; work with colleagues in the implementation and improvement of automated library systems, especially online public access catalogs. Settings: libraries of all kinds, library service companies
  • Indexer/Taxonomist: Develop subject index and classification systems for books, journals, Web sites, and special collections. Settings: libraries of all kinds, publishers, information architecture firms, personal libraries.
  • Metadata Specialist: Select and implement appropriate methods for describing and preserving objects in digital collections; consult to institution-wide digital projects. Settings: academic and research libraries, historical societies, museums.
  • Technical Services Archivist: Arrange, describe, and provide access to important institutional records; create finding aids and indexes. Settings: archives in institutions of all kinds, including government agencies.

IT and Systems

Today, libraries contain far more than just books. Librarians who concentrate on IT and Systems run the technological side of the library, including websites, online catalogs, integrated library systems, and databases. Working as a systems librarian requires a strong familiarity with current technology, and the ability to use coding languages such as HTML, XML, Java, or PHP.

Core Courses

Key Courses:

Recommended Electives:

Careers

Librarians equipped with technology skills are highly marketable to a variety of employers. They can assess computing needs and system requirements, provide technical support, supervise the efforts of systems analysts, programmers, and other computer-related workers, as well as evaluate the organization's technology needs and recommend improvements, such as hardware and software upgrades. Possible opportunities include:

  • IT Manager: Oversee all aspects of a library's technology: network, computers, printers, databases, and more. Includes training staff to use this technology and assisting patrons when needed.
  • Webmaster: Design the website for a library, archives, or other organization. May include setting up Web 2.0 services, such as a blog, or designing a "digital library" where patrons can view resources from home.
  • Database Administrator: Responsible for designing and maintaining the database of an organization, such as a library, archives, or museum.
  • Integrated Systems Manager: Design and maintain integrated library systems, databases that include circulation, catalog information, and more for an individual library.

Management and Leadership

Simmons has long been associated with Management and Leadership in the masters program, and now, with the Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions concentration, in the doctoral program as well. As is often noted in the Advising Day presentations, many Simmons GSLIS graduates end up as managers and leaders both within their institutions and throughout the professional community.

Because management and leadership is a part of every area of the discipline, there is no set path to prepare. However, the courses listed within these pages provide a broad foundation from which to launch your career.

Core Courses

Key Courses:

Recommended Electives:

Careers

Today, there are a multitude of opportunities for librarians to establish themselves as key influencers in a variety of fields, including technology, education, law, medical, among others. Program graduates are equipped to demonstrate competency in a full range of leadership skills to make visionary decisions. As the next generation of library leaders, GSLIS graduates are experienced in evaluating library services, as well as assessing the management and leadership of those services.

  • Department Director
  • Director of Acquisitions
  • Library Director
  • Library System Executive Director
  • Project Manager
  • Public Services Manager
  • Solo Librarian (special or corporate libraries)

Preservation Management

Library and archives preservation managers and collection development officers are responsible for the care of both paper-based collections and new and multimedia information. These professionals focus on preservation planning issues, such as climate and light control, security, and insurance. They also work in conservation -- often with conservators, binders, and other experts, and sometimes in disaster-recovery situations after war or natural disasters.

Simmons GSLIS has the distinction of being the only LIS program in the country to have been offering preservation courses continuously since 1981. Working closely with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and the North Bennet Street School, the Simmons GSLIS preservation program combines hands-on practical experiences with the theoretical underpinnings of preservation and conservation. Simmons GSLIS also draws on a strong pool of preservation professionals in the Boston area as adjunct faculty and internship supervisors. Our array of courses is unmatched with content that covers the continuum of analog to digital.

Core Courses

It is recommend that students interested in the Preservation track take at least seven of the twelve courses listed below. Courses with an asterisk are recommended but not required:

Careers

Students following the Preservation track may be interested in working in archives, libraries, or other collection institutions. They take courses that develop expertise in understanding the role of preservation in the storage and handling of collections, managing preservation programs, and the newly emerging challenges of preserving materials in digital form. They are also encouraged to take additional classes in the preservation challenges of specific materials, such as photographic materials and books. Students who graduate with courses in the Preservation track typically find employment in preservation management positions in libraries and archives or collection management in other cultural heritage institutions.


Reference and Information Services

With the increasing prominence of the Internet in our everyday lives, some have suggested that libraries will be needed less. This has not proven to be the case, as people have begun to realize that, although the information is now at their fingertips, it is also often unfiltered and unreliable -- help is still necessary to get the information they need.

The Reference and Information Services area provides the foundation necessary to find out what patrons need and help them get it. Whatever the setting -- public, academic, corporate, or special library -- the courses listed below will help prepare you to serve a broad spectrum of patrons with a variety of backgrounds and library needs.

Core Courses

Key Courses:

Specializations:

Recommended Electives:

Careers

While some have suggested that the Internet is reducing the need for libraries, the reality is libraries are now needed more than ever in different ways. Although information is now at the fingertips, it is often unfiltered and unreliable. Questions have become more challenging to answer. Support is necessary to obtain the information patrons need. Reference services are evolving to meet the changing demands from providing subject specific consulting services to embedding librarians in the greater community.

Reference and information services provide the foundation necessary to assess, evaluate, and retrieve information based on patrons' needs. Whatever the setting -- public, academic, corporate, or special library -- the opportunities below show there is still a demand for such services.

  • Academic Librarian
  • Collection Development
  • Instructional Librarian
  • Medical Librarian
  • Public Librarian
  • Reference Librarian
  • Virtual Reference Specialist

Youth Services

Youth Services librarians work with children and young adults, most often in public library settings. (Note, although many students are interested both in school librarianship and in youth services, they are two separate areas -- the School Library Teacher Program requires a specific course of study in order to obtain the certification necessary to work within a school system, where as the youth services area is more a recommended set of classes to take.)

Simmons GSLIS has a long history of excellence in Youth Services and is currently ranked among the top ten in the country among LIS programs who offer courses in the area of Services to Children and Youth.

Core Courses

Key Courses:

Recommended Electives:

Careers

As children's literature has re-entered mainstream discussions of adult and youth reading, librarians, teachers, booksellers, and publishers are becoming more interested in critical and pragmatic discussions of diverse texts. GSLIS offers specialized literature and services courses to those students interested in increasing their familiarity with these materials with an eye toward professional youth services in libraries.

  • Children's Services Librarian: Stimulate children's interest in reading through programming, such as story-time, reading challenges, after-school outreach programs, and special events.
  • Youth Services Librarian: Provide library services to tweens, preteens, and teenagers. Assist with school projects to performing program outreach, such as video games nights, poetry slams, and book clubs.